Open a bank account in England

Are you going to study or work in England? First of all, you need to open a bank account, and this can be a complex process. To find accommodation or a job, you will need a bank account. But to open a bank account, you will need a job and a place to live…

However, some banks are becoming less demanding, especially for euro-zone nationals. So apply to more than one bank.

Here are some tips for opening an account in England.

Choose between traditional and online banking

As in many countries, you have the choice to open your account in one of the following two configurations. Bank charges vary depending on the bank and the services offered. Some banks offer “passport accounts” that are valid for 6 months to 1 year, but the fees are usually high. Don’t hesitate to compare offers.

In a traditional bank

In order to facilitate your procedures, ask your bank in France if it has a partnership with an English bank. If so, or if you choose another bank, you can start the procedures before your departure. However, the finalization of the opening will always be done on the spot.

In an online bank

There are many in England. If you can open an account via the bank’s website from your country, you will be asked for certain documents, assuming you already have an address in England. Check bank4pro.co.uk for more about online bank accounts.

Go through an intermediary

You can ask an intermediary to open an account for you for a fee. These firms can be particularly interesting for non-residents or French companies wishing to open an offshore account.

Gather the necessary documents to open your account in England

For the opening of your account, several documents will be required:

  • a valid identity document (passport or identity card);
  • a proof of residence in England (home insurance, gas or electricity bill, rental contract or certificate from the person hosting you);
  • for students: a letter from your school;
  • a letter of reference from a French bank (translated into English);
  • an employment contract (required in most banks).

Use your English account

As in most countries, you will initially receive a debit card allowing you to make withdrawals and payments with systematic verification of your account balance.
The credit card may be granted to you, subject to proof of an employment contract and resources considered sufficient by the bank.
You will also be given a spell code together with your account number. Don’t be surprised if your employer or landlord asks you to give them this code spell. It will be useful to the first one to transfer your salary to your account and to the second one to receive the rent by bank transfer.
Finally, for your international transfers, you will be given an IBAN number (International Bank Account Number).

Declare your English account to the tax authorities

Taxpayers domiciled in France must declare accounts “opened, held, used or closed” abroad to the tax authorities (Article 1649 A of the CGI). This new wording, resulting from Law no. 2018-898 of October 23, 2018 relating to the fight against fraud, includes, as of January 1, 2019, inactive accounts or accounts acquired following a donation or inheritance.

However, you will not be asked for the amount of the sums held in the account. If you do not do so, you may be fined €10,000 per undeclared account.

In addition, if the tax authorities send you a reminder to force you to declare an account held abroad for which you have not fulfilled your reporting obligations, you are liable to an increase of 80% of the tax normally due. This increase applies to income tax, solidarity tax on wealth and transfer duties free of charge.

How do you know how much your bank is really costing you?
What are the services of an online bank?