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Opening a UK bank or building society account if you are from Ukraine

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If you are new to the UK from Ukraine, you will need to open a UK bank or building society account to manage your money and payments, claim benefits or receive wages if you find a job.  We understand you might be overwhelmed with a lot of new information at the moment, so this guide helps you understand how to apply for a bank account and what identification (ID) you will need to open one.

How can I use my UK bank or building society account?

With most bank and building society accounts, you can:

  • pay for things with a debit card in shops or online 

  • pay in money and cheques 

  •  have your wages, benefits and other income paid into your account

  • set up Direct Debits and standing orders to pay your bills 

  • transfer money via telephone or online banking

  •  take out money from a bank branch or from a cash machine (ATM). Sometimes this is an extra cost

  • check how much money you have in your bank account using telephone or internet banking, at a cash machine or in a bank branch

  • write cheques to pay bills and pay people 

  • apply for an overdraft (if you are 18 or over) – this will allow you to spend more than you have in your account, but you’ll be charged for it. You might not be able to get a bank account with an overdraft

  • make international payments. Sometimes this is an extra cost although many banks are currently not charging international payment fees to Ukraine. 

When you try to open an account with a bank or building society, they will offer you the type of account they think is most suitable.

If you cannot open a standard current account, you might be able to open a fee-free basic bank account instead.

Fee-free basic bank accounts offer fewer services than a standard current account, and you can’t use an overdraft, and you won't get a chequebook. 

Some banks and building societies let you apply directly for a basic bank account and others only offer basic bank accounts to customers who are not eligible for a standard current account. 

Always open a bank or building society account in your own name 

Do not use another person’s UK bank or building society account, however kind and reasonable the offer may seem, to save time or for any other reason.  

The only way to access your money to buy what you want, when you want to, is to have your own bank account.

How do I open a UK bank or building society account? 

There are many UK banks and building societies that will let you open a bank account if you are from Ukraine.

You should choose the bank or building society that suits you best. When you open the bank account you might need to visit it in person, so you might want to find a bank or building society that has a branch that is close to where you are temporarily living.

If you are unsure you could ask your sponsor to help you. 

What information will I need to open a UK bank or building society account?

To open a bank or building society account, you will need to:

1. Make sure you have an email address set up in your name and a valid phone number, to help the bank or building society communicate with you. 

2. Collect all your identification and visa documents. 

You will need to provide some personal information. Here is what the bank or building society might ask:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • your nationality
  • your contact details (email address set up in your name and a valid phone number).

To open a bank or building society account in the UK, you also need to show proof of ID. The bank or building society might ask to see your:

  • passport
  • biometric residency permit
  • driver’s licence
  • recognised identity card. 

The quickest way to prove identification will  be your passport and/or your Biometric Residence Permit (issued to you by the UK Government). Some UK banks and building societies might ask for proof of address.

If you don’t have all the identification documents, take all the information you do have with you to the bank or building society. 

3. Apply for an account either in person at a bank or building society branch (you may need to make an appointment), over the phone, online or via a bank or building society’s mobile app. If going into a branch, you should take all relevant identification documents with you. You might need to download and fill in an application form from the bank or building society’s website. You might want to ask your sponsor to help you complete the form and go with you to the bank or building society. 

Where can I find more information about living in the UK? 

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