Opening a UK bank account

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

To open a bank account you'll need:

  • Proof of your identity: this could be your passport or EU national identity card.
  • Proof that you are a student: this could be your offer letter or a bank letter from the University.
  • Proof of your address: some banks will require proof of your UK address and/or your overseas address. This could be your contract, a utility bill or a bank letter from the University. If you provide a tenancy agreement for private sector accommodation, it should be signed by the landlord.

Minimum length of stay in the UK

Many banks require you to be in the UK for at least six months. There are a few accounts you can open if you are here for fewer than six months. Look at our Guide to opening a bank account (PDF), which includes a bank account comparison table for more information.

How to get a bank letter

First year students with a permanent home address outside of the UK will be sent a bank letter to their University email address. You can use the letter to open an account at Barclays, Santander, HSBC or Lloyds. You will need to print the letter and take it to the bank. If you plan to open an account with Lloyds, you will also need to print the email you receive.

If you are going to live in University accommodation your bank letter will be emailed to you after your contract has started.

If any changes are made to your address or your name a revised letter will be emailed to you.

If you would like to open a bank account with a bank, which is not listed above, you can get a bank letter from the Student Services Centre counter, Level 9, Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building. Before you can get your bank letter you need to:

  • complete the first three steps of the online registration process via (make sure you include your term time and home addresses)
  • decide which bank account you wish to open.

Choosing a bank

We can't recommend any particular bank accounts to students. We've created a Guide to opening a bank account (PDF), including a bank account comparison table to help you make an informed decision. Some things to consider when choosing your bank are:

  • account fees and charges
  • the kind of card you get (visa debit, maestro debit, cash card)
  • whether the bank will stamp printed internet banking statements for use in visa applications
  • how long it takes to open an account.

Keeping your money safe

  • Only use a bank account for which you are a named holder
  • Don't let other people use your account to do their banking
  • Keep your personal details and account details secret.

 Bills, payments and statements

  • If you pay bills by Direct Debit you must have the money in your account the day before the Direct Debit is due to go out of your account. If not, you will be charged penalty fees by the bank and often also by the organisation that is expecting to receive the Direct Debit payment.
  • Avoid going into debt unless you have a pre-agreed, interest-free overdraft facility.
  • Sign up for online banking when you open your account, so you are able to access bank statements and request documents online.
  • Keep your bank statements. You might need these original statements if you have to extend your visa in the UK. Most banks charge for duplicate statements and it may take them several weeks to produce them.

Banks advertising Sharia-compliant services

It is possible to open bank accounts in the UK which are Sharia-compliant. For further information, please contact the banks directly or visit their website.