Opening a bank account and documents needed

If you're moving to Leeds from outside the UK you'll need access to your money and the easiest way is to open a UK bank account. 

It can take several weeks to open a bank account. Be prepared and think about arranging money for when you arrive before you travel to Leeds.

Below you’ll find the answers to some of the questions that you might be having at this stage. Find out more about what documents you need to open a bank account, how to obtain them and how to choose the best bank that suits your needs.

What documents will I need? 

  1. Proof of your identity  
    Your passport or EU national identity card. 

  2. Proof that you are a student 
    Your offer letter or a bank letter from the University. See information below on how to get your bank letter. 

  3. Proof of your address 
    Accepted documents include a housing contract, a utility bill or a bank letter from the University.  
    If you provide a tenancy agreement for private sector accommodation, it will need to be signed by the landlord. 

Your bank letter 

Your letter is valid for 3 months. It’s important that the information on your letter is correct before you visit a bank.

The information that appears on your bank letter will be automatically downloaded from the personal details you enter on Minerva.

Follow these steps to check that you’ve entered the information correctly before you obtain a bank letter.

Step 1 – Complete the first three steps of the online registration process to receive your bank letter.  

It’s very important that your personal details on Minerva are correct as this information will later appear on your bank letter. Check the following points: 

Your name and surname 

  • Your name must match the one shown on your passport or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). 
  • Your name must be entered in this format: first, last name or first, middle, last name if you have a middle name. 

Your address 

  • Permanent address – enter your address in your home country. 
  • Term time address – enter your address in the UK.  
  • Complete all fields in full, including the ‘Nation’ field. 

You usually cannot open a bank account if you’re staying in temporary accommodation (in a hotel, for example). 

Step 2 – Decide what bank you want to open an account with.

The standard bank letter produced by the University will start with “To whom it may concern”. This means that it won’t be addressed to a specific person. The following banks accept the standard University of Leeds bank letter: 

  • Lloyds
  • HSBC
  • Barclays
  • Santander

If your chosen bank needs the letter to be addressed specifically to the bank manager, you’ll have to complete a bank letter request online.  

Find more information on choosing a bank

When will I receive my bank letter? 

Your bank letter will be sent to you automatically after completing the first three steps of your online registration. See ‘Before you obtain a bank letter’ section above. When you’ll receive the letter will depend on the type of accommodation you’ll be stating in:

If you’re in University accommodation

The University will email your bank letter to you after your accommodation contract has started. You should receive your bank letter within five working days after your contract start date.  

If you’re in private accommodation

The University will email your bank letter within five working days from the start of your contract, after you have completed the first three steps of online registration.     

If you have not received your letter after five working days: 

  • Check you’ve followed the steps in the ‘Before you obtain your letter’ section above and correct any mistakes. 

  • Contact the Student Services Counter to notify them of the delay. 


Get in touch with the friendly team in the Student Information Service (SIS). You can call them, email them, or visit them at one of four Student Information Points on campus.