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Moving to UK question

Anyone know of the best way to set up a bank account in the UK prior to moving there ?

Posted by
206 posts

Not an option I’m afraid. Anti money laundering and know your customer policies mean you’ll have great difficulty even when you’re physically here. I used to work with American immigrants and they found coming over with a Citibank account was useful.

You might try posing your question to a relocation forum for the most up to date info.

Posted by
214 posts

I had read on a forum that it was preferred that you had a bank account set up within 90 days of moving there. Incorrect then ?

Posted by
24859 posts

You will have to provide two forms of ID, photo and address, before you can open an account.

If you have US citizenship you will have to do FATCA/FUBAR paperwork before they let you open an account - many banks don't want to go through that so won't let you open an account as a US citizen.

The advice to come with a Citibank account is helpful - but their UK accounts are not designed for anybody other than fatcats. I had one and they revised their T&Cs a few years back so that anybody with income less than £50,000 was not welcome, and between £50,000 and £100,000 had onerous fees. I closed my accounts (4 of them).

Posted by
214 posts

@Nigel, I am a dual Citizen hoping to return after 45 years, but I think you are right I will do it after arriving.

Posted by
24859 posts

even if you are a dual citizen, if one of those is US you have to go through those hoops. Personal experience here.

Posted by
596 posts

Yes, I agree with Nigel very difficult to get a bank account set up. I am also a dual citizen and the thought of returning to the UK is sometimes on my mind but then I think about all the obstacles. keep in mind as a US citizen, you will also be taxed by the IRS regardless of where in the world you live. There is a British ex-pat forum that may be of some help. https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa

Posted by
4501 posts

The advice to come with a Citibank account is helpful - but their UK accounts are not designed for anybody other than fatcats. I had one and they revised their T&Cs a few years back so that anybody with income less than £50,000 was not welcome, and between £50,000 and £100,000 had onerous fees. I closed my accounts (4 of them).

I have a Citi UK account that I opened when I worked in the UK. About 5 years ago, I got a rather condescending letter from Citi UK basically saying riffraff like me with piddly balances were not worthy and I needed to close my account by a certain date. When I called them to ask them to transfer the funds to my Citi US acct, the agent said, ”You have a US Citi account? Well then you can keep the UK account open.”. I still have the account and they have not imposed any unusual fees. If you happen to have a Citi US branch near you it is worth asking. Citi now only has one branch at Canary Wharf, so opening with a UK bank may be better. For what it is worth, I needed my passport, work visa, and a letter of reference from my UK employer to open an account after I arrived in the UK (pre-FATCA).

Posted by
245 posts

Setting up an account before you actually arrive in the UK is a decided pain. You'll need two forms of ID and an address. That said, I know HSBC will let you set up accounts in both countries and link them, but my experience was that they wanted the US side set up first. Also, that only worked for a certain level of account (Advanced, I believe, or higher). Expect to be asked for documentation on the UK side regarding who you are, where you live, employment, immigration status, etc.

Your best bet is to try to get an account with one of the big international banks in the US first - HSBC, Citi, Barclays, Santander, Lloyds, etc. then try to get the UK account.