I was wondering if anyone who has worked abroad (UK specifically) could tell me the easiest way to open a bank account. Some friends have told me they knew people who had trouble getting one, and so they couldn't deposit their cheques right away. Does anyone know if I can apply for one before leaving for Europe? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
From my experience, your friends are right... opening a bank account in the UK can be an absolute nightmare! The problem is that the bank won't open an account without you having proof of a UK address and sometimes proof of employment, but obviously it takes a while to have proof of address and this can involve having to put your name on household bills etc. Further, a lot of the employers won't confirm your UK address in writing until you have a bank account! So it ends up being this never ending cycle of 'the chicken and the egg'...
The best thing you can probably do is to open an account with a bank in Canada that has branches in the UK - I know that HSBC and Citibank both do. Inform the bank that you will be travelling to the UK and living there and you want to open a local account. I travelled with a guy from the US that did this and he had a much easier time with HSBC when he arrived in London, than I did trying to open an account with Barclays!
Good luck weaving through all the red tape!
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 9, 2007, at 7:52 PM by KoalaGirl ]
woah, good topic. This was something I too was wondering about as I'm thinking of heading off to London to live for a bit
Thanks for the speedy reply Koala girl! I definitely don't want to be stuck working for months without being able to deposit money.
Once I finish school (one more week, woot!) I will check out those banks. I will post again to let everyone know what they said, for anyone who's interested.
No probs at all Good luck! Be pleased to hear how you get along and whether HSBC or Citibank are better.