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I am from Hungary and I will visit the UK for about a month (just for fun). I would like to open a bank account there. Can I do that? What are the latest regulations? Are there any special requirements? (I read somewhere that a job is required, which I certainly don't have - but then again I don't think the UK government is opposed to foreigners spending their money there.)

How fast will it happen? Do they require a minimum stay? Can I keep my account (and possibly my credit card) even after leaving the UK?

Can I do that remotely? (In the past, I have opened an account at Moneybookers, a UK e-wallet company by sending scanned documents in email.)

Do the "offshore" UK accounts make any sense? (Isle of Man, Gibraltar etc)

Thank you.

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3 Answers

You need a proof of address and also they ask you for a letter from employer. But usually you dont need any of that... there are always correct answers to all the questions, but you still need an address where they will send you your papers along with debit card etc. So need to rent a place or have some mail forwarding service would help.

Here is what people usually do in London:

  1. Go to a branch of lets say Lloyds TSB that is not in the center of London, use some far away branch, Like Morden or so.

  2. Say that you arrived a month/week ago and looking for a job.(not laborer)

  3. Say that need your account to send money from abroad to support your living during the Job search.

  4. hand in your passport and your account will be ready the same day, while you can wait for your card 1week. Your pin number for the card +2/3days

Hope that helps.

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I think you will find it hard to do. There are money laundering regulations which require you to provide proof of address when opening an account. I don't know for certain if they require an UK address, but even if they don't, it's very likely that individual banks etc will require that. I doubt that they will view you as a profitable customer for them, since you would not be using the account as your "main" account.

Although having a job isn't a legal requirement, in practice I think it's the only way you can get an account without having been resident in the country for a while. My company employs a significant number of people from abroad and they typically need support from the company to open an account when they first move.

One thing you could investigate is opening an account with some international bank with branches both in Hungary and the UK, and asking them to arrange the UK account for you. One example of such a bank is HSBC. However such banks will typically charge you a significant amount for the privilege - for example with HSBC you need a "premier account" to get this kind of service.

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Thank you for your answer. For how long do I have to be a resident to apply for an account? –  manilow Aug 24 '10 at 20:46
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Why don't you just phone them and ask?

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