Asylum seekers in the UK: How to get a bank account

This briefing tells you how to get a bank account. Content created by Positive Action in Housing. See also: https://www.paih.org/resources/Bank-accounts-uk-asylumseekers

Self-Help for Asylum Seekers

How to get a Bank Account

1. First, you will need to prepare the correct documents to bring to the banks. All documents need to be recent and original, not photocopies. If you have more than one, it is better to bring everything. If they don’t accept one document, they might accept another.

2. Second, finding the right bank for you is important, some banks may open an account for Asylum Seekers living in hotels, and some will only be able to accommodate people living in a housing accommodation allocated by the Home Office. 

3. Third, it is important that you have evidence that your Asylum claim is ongoing and you have not been refused. Although this does not mean it is impossible to open an account if you were refused Asylum, you will need to prove and provide evidence that you are continuing your asylum appeal. 

Positive Action in Housing can help you apply for a bank account online and write a letter of introduction (if needed). Please email  christine @positiveactionh.org to book a 1-to-1 appointment. If you are living outside of Glasgow, we can assist in applying online with you during a call appointment. 

Alternatively, if you are outside of Glasgow and you don’t have access to good internet, you can visit the local bank branches mentioned below and follow their instructions and bring the correct documents. Below, are the requirements for banks in Scotland to open an account for an Asylum Seeker. You will need at least 2 documents from each category. Two documents as proof of Identity and two documents asproof of address.

Documents You Need by Bank

Bank of Scotland

Any two documents for Proof of Identity

1. Letter of Introduction from Positive Action in Housing (you will need to request this from our caseworkers and collect this from our Glasgow office. We cannot send this letter by email. We also cannot post this letter to any client addresses)

2. ARC card (new one preferred)

3. Home Office Documents stating your name and current address (make sure that your documents are clean, clear, and well-kept for the bank)

Any two documents for Proof of Address

1. Letter from your General Practice (GP) stating your name and current address 

2. Letter from your Solicitor where it states that you have a good ongoing Asylum claim or appealing (if refused) with your name as correctly stated on your ARC card and showing proof of your address.

3. Mears Occupancy Agreement (can be good evidence of proof of address but not always sufficient)  

Bank of Scotland can open accounts for Asylum Seekers living in Hotels and Home Office Accommodation

Nationwide

Any two documents for Proof of Identity

1. ARC card (new one preferred)

2. Home Office Documents stating your name and current address (make sure that your documents are clean, clear, and well-kept for the bank) 

Any two documents for Proof of Address

1. Letter from your General Practice (GP) stating your name and current address.

2. Letter from your Solicitor where it states that you have a good ongoing Asylum claim or appealing (if refused)with your name as correctly stated on your ARC card and showing proof of your address. 

Nationwide can open accounts for Asylum Seekers living in Home Office Accommodation only. 

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

You will need to go to an RBS bank and present your ARC card to the teller and ask if you can open an account with a service called, Banking Facilities for All. They may ask you to bring or come back with further documents such as:

Documents for Proof of Identity

1. Letter of Introduction from Positive Action in Housing (you can request this from our caseworkers)

2. ARC card

3. Home Office Documents stating your name and proof of current address.

Documents for Proof of Address

4. Letter from your General Practice (GP) stating your name correctly and proof of your current address. 

5. Letter from your Solicitor where it states that you have a good ongoing Asylum claim or appealing (if refused) with your name as correctly stated on your ARC card and showing proof of your address. 

Royal Bank of Scotland may open accounts for Asylum Seekers living in hotels. They can open for anyone living in Home Office Accommodation.

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