Returning to the UK - how to get started?

Hello and thank you for adding me. I did check the forum but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for regarding opening a bank account in the UK. I have worked overseas my whole working life and after 35 years away am like a newbie to setting myself up - bank account, renting a property, finding a job etc. I thought I'd first start with the bank account, but street banks require proof of address and they did not accept what I offered (proof of my overseas savings sent to my mother's address). I'm living with my mother for now but she is reluctant to add me on her utility bill as she thinks this may change her ratings (not sure if this is the case). So I've been advised to find an online bank that doesn't have this requirement. Can you recommend a solidly reliable online bank that is recognised by employers, landlords etc and one to which I can transfer my funds in an overseas bank? Many thanks in advance for your suggestions. A. novice

Comments

  • PRAISETHESUN
    PRAISETHESUN Posts: 3,642
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    I had a similar issue when I first moved to the UK. Unfortunately it's a hard requirement for most banks that you'll need proof of a UK address in order to apply for a UK bank account - I found that to be one of the hardest stepping stones to getting myself established.

    There's plenty of documents banks will accept, so check out their websites to see if you have anything on their lists. An easy one would be to convert your overseas driving license to a UK one, or get yourself added to a utility/council tax account at your current address. Otherwise a HMRC/National Insurance letter is also an easy one.

    Otherwise Monzo/Starling are more relaxed about the address requirement and only really need an address they can send documents to. They have full FSCS protection so there won't be any issues over them safely holding your money. Just make sure you fully document the source of the overseas money in case you get asked any questions about it or else you're likely to get your account frozen for AML review.
  • colsten
    colsten Posts: 17,597
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    You will need an NI number if you want to work in the UK. I believe you can use the NI letter from HMRC as proof of address. You should also register on the Electoral Roll.

    Your mother is wrong to think she adding you to her utility bills may "change her ratings". She probably thinks of credit ratings but those are in no way impacted by having two names on an account. A financial association will only be created on credit reference files if you apply for, or hold, a joint financial credit product (current account, mortgage, loan etc).

    What might change is her council tax. If she had the single person discount, she will lose this if there are two adults living in the house.

    Have a word with Lloyds Bank perhaps, as they seem to be sensible about newcomers. 
    https://www.lloydsbank.com/banking-with-us/joining-lloyds/new-to-the-uk.html
  • Many thanks, Colsten! That's all very helpful.
  • lonibra
    lonibra Posts: 365
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    edited 2 July 2021 at 11:59AM
    OP - A family member (not British) recently moved to the UK and lived with me initially. A few days before he landed, I went on my water bill account, added him as a bill payer.

    The day he arrived, I submitted a water meter reading which triggered a bill. He then used that bill along with his passport and visa to open a basic account with Barclays a few days later. Very straightforward. I then removed him from the water account.

    With a UK passport, the above should be even simpler.

    As the poster above said, none of the above should have any material adverse impact on your mum.

    My United Utilities water account does show on my credit report but as far as I can tell, adding him to the account temporarily did not create any financial association on it.
  • Gary_S_3
    Gary_S_3 Posts: 34
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    Hi Susan - I can back up both colsten and lonibra's advice here. I had a (Brit) pal who returned from the Netherlands post-Brexit and bunked at my place for a couple of months while he made more permanent arrangements. It was no problem at all. I'd already decided to be honest with the Council and tell them, so we switched the council tax to his name, triggering a bill for him, and did the same trick with the water bill. Duly armed, he made his way into town one morning and walked into Lloyds (as recommended in colsten's post) simply because it's the first big bank you get to, explained his situation and walked out half an hour later as a Basic Account (very decent account with excellent online banking) holder. When he moved into his new flat, we switched the Council Tax back. Easy. Even if your mum doesn't want to do the Council Tax thing then the water bill trick will result in no problems whatsoever.
  • knightstyle
    knightstyle Posts: 6,971
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    I found the most useful thing we did on returning to the UK was get onto the electoral roll, most organisations used this to verify our status.
    But we always had a UK bank account whilst abroad for getting money to and from family living in UK.
  • PaulW922
    PaulW922 Posts: 1,035
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    edited 3 July 2021 at 6:07PM
    Every bank will require proof of address but beyond that it should not be difficult. My partner just opened an account with Lloyds (in branch) and Starling also said they would do it (we went for Lloyds as I want him to build a credit history and Starling only report to Equifax, whereas Lloyds report to Experian too).

    A utility bill is an option but if your mother will not cooperate that is tricky! Is there anything you are paying for such as broadband you could use? Otherwise an EU photo drivers licence, or a UK full or provisional licence will do as will an HMRC tax notification 
  • yksi
    yksi Posts: 1,024
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    I had absolute hell trying to get settled here (UK citizen), as did my son (EU citizen). More than one bank refused me and the saga went on for months. My tenancy agreement, birth certificate, two passports and NI letter weren't enough. It was only when a sympathetic employee in bank #3 told me just to apply for a driver's license that I was able to open an account. She said that the law had been tightened and banks couldn't be as lenient as in the past.

    My son, on the other hand, had an EU and Aus passport, EU official photo ID, rent receipt, NI number in the mail, and still wasn't able to open a bank account, because he wasn't living with me and wasn't able to vote nor get any bills in his name. He was very fortunate to land a job with an employer who was happy to put his wages into my account.

    Incidentally, British law states you do not need an NI number to be employed in the UK and you do not need to supply one to your employer at the time you're hired. You only need to prove your right to work which will be your British passport. This might be useful if you don't know yours and are awaiting the letter, as happened to my son. Sainsbury's actually point-blank refused to even interview him because they did not know that legally he didn't need to already have one, in order to start work. Obviously you want the magic NI paper asap, but you don't need it in order to get the job.

    You didn't ask specifically but if you can satisfy the ID and address requirements, Revolut is pretty dang awesome for currency conversion and withdrawing foreign currency in your local currency. That's actually how I sent my son's final paypacket to him once he managed to return to the EU, I just added the pounds into my Revolut account by bank transfer and then I was able to transfer it to him in the Revolut app in Euros, with no fee and the currency conversion was market rate - ie I lost nothing, not even one penny.
  • colsten
    colsten Posts: 17,597
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    yksi said:


    Incidentally, British law states you do not need an NI number to be employed in the UK and you do not need to supply one to your employer at the time you're hired. 
    Whilst you can start work whilst waiting for your NINO, which employer would employ you without subtracting NI from your wages, and why would you not want to be absolutely sure that  your NI is recorded against your name? 
  • yksi
    yksi Posts: 1,024
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    colsten said:
    yksi said:


    Incidentally, British law states you do not need an NI number to be employed in the UK and you do not need to supply one to your employer at the time you're hired. 
    Whilst you can start work whilst waiting for your NINO, which employer would employ you without subtracting NI from your wages, and why would you not want to be absolutely sure that  your NI is recorded against your name? 
    Agreed! This is why I said that you want the NI asap, but you don't need to wait for it to be (re) issued, since we all know govt departments are very slow right now...
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