You will need to open a bank account here, especially if your French bank takes commissions for every withdrawal/payment (inquire before departure), but also to be able to receive your salary. The procedures differ by bank, online or traditional, if you begin the paperwork before departure or in person… In short, here are some pointers that will certainly clear things up for you.
First, opening your account remotely is possible, you can start this type of approach with your French bank. This service can be paid for, it depends on your client status.
Whether you do it in person or from France, your methods of payment will not be sent directly to you, most banks need a period of time to approve them for you. You will initially have a free debit card. Once you evidence a job and enough resources, depending on the bank, you will get your credit card. Credit cards can be interesting for purchases, as it increases your credit rating, therefore your borrowing capacity.
The bank requesting the least documentation is Lloyds, they have branches all over London.
Identity card or valid passport. A proof of residence, such as a bill for gas, electricity (“utility bill”), this is what must be arranged in advance, because if you move, you risk not having this type of documents on your arrival and this will block the process of obtaining a UK account.
You can also ask for a letter from your bank in France, it is not a mandatory document but it can allow you to speed up the procedure if the information works in to your advantage (if you are often in your overdraft it won’t work as well…).
For students you can ask for a letter from your school. Workers can use a contract of employment and finally you will often be asked for a sort of “reference” that may come from a British resident, your employer, colleague, who will recommend you . These latter documents are not always requested, it depends on the bank and their requirements.
Finally, do not forget to declare your account to the tax administration, this will avoid a fine of several thousand euros, or expenses in case of regularisation. For more information on this subject, this is the government site.
To transfer your money, we recommend several solutions:
These are companies that provide the same service, namely transferring money. Their sites are simple, secure and fast. It is possible to transfer money, other than with your bank. We have used Transferwise and Azimo and the transaction is approved. We have a preference for Transferwise which has a responsive and operational customer service by phone.
You are now completely ready and can open a bank account in the UK, so do not hesitate to leave us a comment or any questions or add any information you want to!