My wife and I will be moving to the UK from the US on a work visa sponsored by my employer. One of things I'm most unsure about it how to deal with our current financial accounts. We have one joint checking and she has an account from before we were married (that we plan on closing since we don't use it anyway). We each have an American Express green card (linked to the same account) and we have one American Express blue card. We also have a credit card from our bank that we got for overdraft protection but have never even activated.

My first question is whether we can even keep these accounts. We will of course still be U.S. citizens, but will not be keeping any residence in the US. If we can keep these accounts, should we? I will be paid in pounds and be working for a UK company so I imagine I will need a UK account for direct deposit and our normal financial dealings.

More importantly, can we transfer our credit cards, especially the American Express green cards? These are what we use for most transactions, but it would just make more sense to leave those cards as-is (again, if that is allowed) and just get new UK-based credit cards?

4 Answers 4

  1. Yes, you can keep the accounts. In fact, I opened my US bank account as a Canadian citizen living in Canada, and still have it after living in the US and returning.

  2. American Express offers UK cards and the have an excellent system for transferring the cards. You should definitely contact them about this, otherwise you will likely have to start building credit from scratch in the UK. AE Global Card Transfer

  • 2
    caveat emptor: a lot of places in the UK (from my 30+ experience of living here), especially outside of London, don't take AmEx for various reasons so it may be a good idea to look into a non-AmEx alternative as well once you arrive.
    – MD-Tech
    Dec 4, 2014 at 10:04

You should definitely be able to keep the US bank account and credit cards. I'm a UK citizen and resident who worked in the US for a few months (on a temporary visa) many years back and I still have the US bank account from that time.

Unless you are planning on moving to the UK permanently, you also should keep your US bank account and cards to make the process of moving back there eventually easier. I would also suggest keeping/moving at least a portion of your savings to the US at regular intervals to insure you against the risk that exchange rates will be against you when you move back.

It'll also make things easier when you visit the US as you presumably will every so often - if you use your US account and cards you won't get hit so badly by charges for making each individual payment.


This link might help determining if American Express is willing to offer a card in the UK. I did it the other way around when moving from the UK to the US and getting a US card was pretty painless; I also didn't have to close the UK card, although I'm probably going to do that fairly soon.

You will need a UK bank account so your employer can pay you; If it is a big enough employer their HR department might have deals with a local bank; a smaller employer might simply be able to refer you to their bank to help you open an account there.

My first bank account in the UK after moving over there from Germany was with HSBC (then Midland Bank) - HSBC seems to be pretty open towards customers moving to the UK. Plus, they're pretty much everywhere.

If you're planning to come back to the US and especially if you have any US-based ongoing expenses, I'd keep at least one bank account in the US open (but keep an eye on it).


HSBC will open you an account in the UK while you are still in the US. You can transfer your money before you leave the US. Your credit report and cards can also be transferred with HSBC, I think they have a mastercard. You can keep all your accounts in the US, and use online banking.

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