You will need to open a UK bank account to allow you to manage your money and pay for goods and services. You can service your account by visiting a branch, or via the internet or your telephone/mobile.
UK law requires banks to carry out identity verification and background checks on new customers opening bank accounts. As a result, it can take up to two weeks before a new bank account can be opened. It is likely that your bank will ask you to provide the following documents:
- photographic identification (passport/national ID card and visa/biometric residence permit if applicable)
- evidence of your UK address (tenancy agreement, or most recent council tax bill or utility bill showing your name and address)
- a letter from the University/college confirming your status (e.g. employee, student, academic visitor)
The Money Advisory Service has further guidance on acceptable forms of identification.
Your monthly salary from the University of Oxford and/or your college will be transferred into a UK current account. A current account is a private bank account for all everyday banking services that individuals need. To open a current account, make an appointment with your preferred bank as soon as you arrive, and check which documents you will need to take with you.
If you are arriving with a partner, you may wish to consider opening a joint account in both your names. This will allow your partner to more easily obtain their own debit and credit cards in future as well as begin to establish their own credit history in the UK. Banks will generally require you and your partner to show proof of address, which can be both of your names on a council tax bill.
The University has a special agreement in place to help new staff obtain a bank account in the event that they are unable to show evidence of UK address upon arrival. Please see the Finance Division's guidance on Bank accounts for overseas employees (SIngle Sign On required). You will need to follow the steps outlined below:
- Once you have an offer or are an employee, ask your Departmental Administrator to prepare a letter to the Treasury Department using the template on the website. Please do not contact the Treasury Department directly.
- The Treasury Department arranges an appointment for you, issues a letter of confirmation to the bank and advises your department accordingly.
- You receive confirmation from your department and then attend the appointment with the bank with the required documents for identification.
Please note: If you have an employment contract with a college only, the process outlined here will not apply and you will need to check with your college if a similar process exists.
An alternative method to obtain proof of address in the UK is:
- change the correspondence address for your bank or credit card account in your home country to your new UK address
- request a statement showing the new address for this account (NB You will need an original printed statement - internet versions are not accepted)
Once you have opened your account, you may need to retain your statements for immigration or other purposes.
Many banks offer accounts designed specifically for students. Once you have completed your University registration, you can use Student Self Service to download an Enrolment Certificate which provides evidence of your student status. The Student Information Team produce an annual guide to opening a student bank account (see 'Managing your Finances' section for the link to the current version) which is made available to all new international students during the orientation week.
Depending on how long you will be staying in Oxford, you can open either a basic bank account, which allows you to deposit and withdraw money and set up direct debits to pay bills, or a current account which offers additional services such as a debit card, overdraft and access to credit. Your department will be able to provide a letter confirming your academic visitor status.