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Opening a UK bank account

For most international students, opening a UK bank account is essential. We've put together guidance on choosing and opening a bank account, including advice on how to prove your identity. You should also read the advice provided by UKCISA:

Opening a bank account (UKCISA)

Proof of identity

You will normally be required to show all of the following original documents before a bank account can be opened:

  • Your passport or ID card as proof of identity
  • Your unconditional offer letter showing your overseas address
  • Your Letter of Introduction, which should include your UK address
  • Your BRP*

Normally, you begin the application process online. The bank will then ask you to provide electronic copies of your documents or to visit the branch to provide your proof of identity and complete the application process. 

*If your BRP has been delayed due to UKVI production issues, Barclays and Santander will accept your application without a BRP. You will need, in addition to the other documents listed above, a Confirmation of Study letter that includes your residential address in York. This can be requested through e:vision

Letter of Introduction

If you do not have your original unconditional offer letter or University accommodation offer letter, you can apply to the University for a Letter of Introduction to a bank. It is important that you open your bank account at the branch specified on your letter.

Apply for a Letter of Introduction using your e:Vision account and print it using any of the photocopier/printing machines around campus, including in the Library. 

Choosing a bank account

Check details of exactly what services you will get before opening your account, including access to online banking services, and think about what you need from your bank.

Note: this is not a full list of banks available and we don't recommend any bank in particular. Some accounts will have an administration fee, normally charged monthly.

Bank account Local branch

Santander Basic Current Account

  • Require passport and University bank letter to open an account. 
  • Must have a visa valid for twelve months or more.
7, High Ousegate, York,

HSBC International Student Account

  • Require passport, BRP visa card, and University bank letter before coming into the branch. BRP must be valid for more than three months. The branch is open from 9:30 Monday to Friday and it is recommended you arrive as early as possible. 

If you have an account with HSBC at home, it may be possible to open a UK account before travelling here. 

13, Parliament Street, York, YO1 8XS
Tel: 03457 404404


  • Online bank
  • Accepts visas valid for three months or more
  • Must live in the UK for six months or more

Online only

Lloyds TSB Classic account

  • Your visa must be valid for a minimum of one year
Lloyds TSB
2 Pavement, York, YO1 9LB
Tel: 08453 000000

Barclays Bank

  • No minimum time limit on visa.
  • Requires BRP, passport and University bank letter (note: will not accept University bank letters as proof of an on-campus accommodation address). 
1-3 Parliament Street, York, YO1 8SE
Tel: 0345 734 5345


  • Online bank.
  • No minimum requirement for length of visa.
  • Must be resident in the UK to apply.

Online only


  • Online bank
  • Designed for international students and workers

Online only

Delays opening a UK bank account

In case there is a delay in opening a UK bank account, you should bring enough money (Sterling) in cash (nothing greater than £20 notes) and traveller’s cheques to last one to two weeks. If possible, bring a credit and/or debit card. Do not carry or keep large amounts of cash in your accommodation.

Watch out for bank scams

You should never respond to emails, phone calls or texts asking for your bank details, even if it seems to come from your own bank. If you are unsure about a communication you have received, contact your bank directly to query it. Find out how to spot scams and what to do if you think you have fallen victim to a scam.

Related links

International Student Support Self-Referral Form
Use this form to contact us with any queries - we aim to respond within three working days.

Find other contact details on our Contact us page.

Related links

International Student Support Self-Referral Form
Use this form to contact us with any queries - we aim to respond within three working days.

Find other contact details on our Contact us page.