If you already have an international bank then check if they have the facility to set up a UK bank account for you, before you move, as this is the most convenient option.

If this is not the case, you will need to be prepared, as you will require specific documents in order to open an account. Usually, it is just a matter of taking the right forms of identification and necessary documents, making an appointment and choosing an account. However, opening a bank account without any proof of address in the UK can be quite difficult, and some banks may require you to deposit a start-up amount.

You will need to open an account before you can receive payment from the University.


Choosing a bank

The UK has many different banks offering a multitude of financial services.  Most banks are free, although fee-paying accounts with additional benefits are available.  The Money Advice Service can help you choose the right account.

Bank charges do vary between providers.  When selecting a bank it is useful to consider the following:

  • Will you use your bank card abroad?
  • Will you use your bank card to make transactions in other currencies?
  • Will you use your bank to make international money transfers?
  • Will you use your bank to send money abroad regularly?


Opening a bank account

All the major UK banks have branches in Leeds City Centre.  It is sensible to shop around and look for services and deals that are suited to your needs.

IMPORTANT: you will not be able to open a UK bank account until you have arrived in the UK and can attend an in-person appointment.

The documents you are likely to need to open an account may include:

  • Your passport and/or National identity card;
  • Proof that you have the right to be in the UK (such as a share code from your online right to work portal, or an entry clearance vignette (sticker) in your passport, or your Biometric Residence Permit
  • Evidence of your address overseas, such as a driving licence or utility bil;
  • Evidence of your address in Leeds, such as your tenancy agreement, utility or council tax bill;
  • Proof of employment, such as your employment contract letter.

You will need to fill in an application form and you may have to pay a deposit into the account.

Opening an account without any proof of address in the UK can be quite difficult.  However, some banks offer services which make the process easier. For example, some banks may allow you to open a bank account with a form of identification and proof of a non-UK address, but you should call and discuss this with individual banks or research online.

We have an arrangement with Barclays Bank which facilitates the process of opening a bank account for new international colleagues. If you would like their help to open an account, you can email them with the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Employer (University of Leeds)
  • Nationality
  • Contact telephone number and/or email address
  • Confirmation that you (a) are currently overseas and would like to make an appointment for after your arrival in the UK, or (b) have arrived in the UK and would like to make​ an appointment.

Once you have an appointment, please tell the contact in your new School/Institute/Department so they can prepare our standard letter for you to provide at your appointment.


Cash machines

When you open a bank account you will receive a debit card with which you can withdraw money from a cash machine owned by your bank or other banks. You can withdraw money from most cash machines 24 hours a day.

There are several cash machines located on or close to the University campus.  These are located at:

  • Ziff Building;
  • Student Union;
  • Woodhouse Lane, opposite the main entrance to the University.

Our interactive campus map will help you locate these.

Most cash machines will not charge you to withdraw cash. However, some cash machines are pay-to-use machines and will charge you for withdrawing your money. If a cash machine is going to charge you, a message will be displayed on the screen to let you know and you can choose whether or not to continue with the transaction.