90 Responses to Bank Accounts and National Insurance Numbers

  1. MATT March 14, 2012 at 12:07 AM #

    Great post and a good reminder of the rewarding feeling that comes from getting something accomplished in a different country that we may take for granted at home.

  2. JARRATT March 15, 2012 at 12:47 AM #

    Timely post for me – I’m just deciding whether or not to go through a service like 1stContact.

    By the sounds of things it’s not too hard, I always thought with the proof of residence over there you had to show a bill from 2 months prior or something like that?

    The 1stContact package costs $85AUD which I would of course prefer to keep in my back pocket, so if it is not too difficult then it sounds like it can be managed yourself without much trouble!


  3. HEATHER March 27, 2012 at 11:54 PM #


    Has anyone been successful with a hotel address for a National Insurance Number?


  4. HIEN April 1, 2012 at 3:08 PM #

    Hey guys. I arrived in London a few days ago and went straight to Barclays. They told me I did not require a proof of address as I have an Aussie passport. It seems that in the order of trustworthiness, they rate us quite highly. I did bring along my passport and a previous bank statement from Australia which had my Aussie address printed on the front. They even told me that I was eligible for ANY bank account, not just the bare basic one which they usually give out to other travellers. Also, unlike Aussie banks, there are bugger all fees. Cheers, Hien

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 2, 2012 at 9:04 AM #

      Hien thanks for the comment as that’s really useful info for others travelling over to London. I did have a choice of bank accounts when I signed up but not for a credit card. Seems they are really restricted over here unlike at home.

      • SHARLA February 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM #

        barcleys has actually become really restricted again!!

        LLOYDS bank lets you open an account with an australian passport and thats all you need! its currently the only bank that will let you open an account without proof of address, and you can call and change your address if your moving from hostel to hostel! it was so easy!! I went to every single bank in england and they all said no!

        and with national insurance there are companies who help you, it only costs 30 pounds and can actually get your process done quicker! im going through the process now as my new UK sim card will not let me phone the job center! but if you call from a payphone it is free πŸ™‚

        • TIM March 3, 2014 at 4:56 PM #

          I can confirm that Lloyd’s will open a bank account with just an Australian passport and no proof of address. Staff were extremely friendly and helpful (Earl’s Court branch).

          See here for more details

          By the way, this site has been extremely useful for my move to london, thanks so much for recounting all your experiences!

    • ANTHEA WHITLEY April 4, 2012 at 3:07 PM #

      Hello Hien,
      Its strange how one bank can say one thing and another bank another… for instance l was lucky enough to be born in england , hence l have dual citizenship with Oz…. so Santander only needed my birth certificate and a bill to open an account.
      however they were very very restrictive in what types of bank accounts they offered me. (because they said l had NO credit history with them Uhhhh???)
      They wouldn’t give me a credit card, although l’d bought a motorhome in england for Β£40K…. !
      I’d like to buy an investment property while the economy is down and affordable in london, but they told me l’d have to buy the first one outright then use that one as collateral to purchase a second one with a mortgage…
      And the house prices haven’t dropped that much that l can afford that LOL !!
      But l’ll definitely check out Barclays and maybe they will offer me what Santander wouldn’t.
      thank you, Anthea

      • HIEN July 26, 2012 at 9:29 PM #

        Hi Anthea

        I just read your message now! funny how that happens sometimes. Yes, I find it quite variable between the companies in the UK…on your comment regarding credit cards, I have heard that if you have an Amex from outside the UK, your credit rating carries over to the UK, which means you don’t have to wait 6 or 12 months to build up enough rating…I am not sure but I gather if you have a UK Amex, then you MAYBE able to then apply for a visa or mastercard credit card…worth a try. Myself, I won’t be in the UK long enough to make it worth the hassle – Hien

  5. ALBERTO July 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM #

    Hello, great post! I liked although it doesn’t help me to get de NIN.

    I’m having some troubles with it. I’m having the interview on two weeks, but I am not sure if I’ll pass it. I’m gona explain my problem and if someone have a hint…

    I’m living in a host family house, I’m paying the rent weekly without any contract, I asked for a receipt hoping that maybe it would be a proof of address, but she gave me a paper with … “Alberto paid 100 pound, on 24-7″… I don’t thing that it could be a proof of anything.

    Last week I tried to open a bank account, first I went to ‘Co-operative bank’ and they told me that they needed a proof of address!! Then I went to ‘Santander’, they just made a copy of my passport and took my new address, finally they sent me a letter declining my application.

    Then arrived another letter from the job centre with the information of the interview for the NIN, and I would like to know if this two letters could be enought as proof of address??? Anyone knows it????

    I have just tried to change by internet the address in the bank account that I have in spain, but they don’t let me, because I should present some bill to proof my new address!! It’s like a nightmare!!! :-S

    And finally somebody told my to translate my driving license to english putting my new address, and It could be a proof of address. Is that true? Pleeease help me!!

  6. HANNAH October 18, 2012 at 7:52 PM #

    i dont know if ne 1 noes this but all u need with to open up a bank acc with barclays is ur aussie/nz passort now cos it was a mission for me and then i found that out!!!!
    hope its of use…

  7. SQUID March 12, 2013 at 4:05 AM #

    I’ve talked to the commonwealth bank of australia recently, and they said that the changing of address to one in London can be done online for getting a Statement as the “official proof of address” for a bank in the UK.

    I guess Barclays doesn’t seem to care about that document for Aus/NZ passport-holders though.

  8. SQUID March 12, 2013 at 9:48 PM #

    Hey Aussie Nomad,

    you’ve said that the NI number gets access to “free health insurance”, but I thought that was what the NHS number was for? Or are both of them needed for health insurance?


  9. NICOLA August 14, 2013 at 6:06 AM #

    hi just wondering is theres anyway to get your nin before leaving australia or can you only get it when your over seas?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 14, 2013 at 11:11 AM #

      Hi Nicola, I’m afraid not. They need to post you out an application form and check some details on when you arrived etc.

      • NICOLA August 20, 2013 at 1:50 AM #

        ok thanks, and with your experiences do you think with the low wages that its worth working and living over there…like is it realistic with a minimum wage?

        • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 20, 2013 at 11:41 AM #

          Nicola, honestly it depends on the type of job you want to do and where in London you want to live. If you just want to do bar work and live right in the city then you’ll struggle unless the job includes live in accommodation.

          I got a job in my profession I studied for at Uni so found living and working in London fine as I had the income to support myself.

  10. LUCY October 1, 2013 at 2:32 AM #

    Hi, i’m moving to London for 12months in November and have the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa. I have a job as an Au Pair and they are planning to pay me via bank transfer, or cash if I wish. Over the past 18months, I have visited the UK 3 times and have been questioned SO much by border security (and these times I was only coming for 6weeks for a holiday to visit my boyfriend in London). So, I am getting prepared early but am so confused from what I am reading.

    My biggest question is should I open a bank account, or should I just ask the family to pay me cash? Its only a small amount (100pound) they’re paying me each week as the role is live in.. so do I have to still have the national insurance number too? What do you thing border security will ask me about this?

    Also, do I need any proof to show that I have a job that I am going to.. i.e. some sort of contract from the family?

    My visa got issued November 2012. Even though I still have the funds (if not more) available, do you think they’ll question me on this?

    I have only booked a one way flight. I have read in your other blogs that this is fine, however in the past the border security people have asked to see my return ticket.

    Sorry for all the questions.. I really appreciate your blogs and help you have given people. Awesome job!!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD October 1, 2013 at 11:22 AM #

      Hi Lucy, I think I’d get a bank account. Will be useful for travel into Europe and will save you carrying money around with you for everything.

      As for being paid under the table so to speak and not getting an NI number its a difficult one. On one hand you avoid all the tax problems and the family does as well but if you were to get caught (highly unlikely I think) it could be bad news for everyone.

      As for border control, they won’t worry about you at all with the visa. Its an open ticket I’ve found to get past customs without problems. I was never stopped or had problems and I came and went from the UK many times.

  11. KATE March 27, 2014 at 2:25 PM #

    I just completed & paid for my youth mobility visa application, now waiting for the biometrics interview next week. In the application it asked whether I had an NIN; I said no because I didn’t, and I didn’t know I’d need it at the time. Do you think it could jeapordize my application if I now get an NIN? Should I wait until my visa is approved, or until I get to the UK even, to apply for one? Has anyone else had this situation at all? Thanks in advance!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 27, 2014 at 2:28 PM #

      Hi Kate, you’ll be fine as you only get a NIN once you get to the UK and apply. It’s not required for the visa application.

  12. JENNIFER April 14, 2014 at 9:33 PM #

    Hey all – this is some really great advice!

    When on the Youth Mobility Visa, and working occasionally, what have you done for taxes and or National Insurance? I guess I’m talking more self-employed – but does anyone have any advice for this? I’m actually a Canadian (WOO CANUCK!) on the same visa as you! Any advice would be amazing!! πŸ™‚


    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 15, 2014 at 4:18 AM #

      Hi Jennifer I’m afraid I’m not much help to you here as I was never self-employed while living in the UK. I’d seek some assistance from an accountant to be honest.

  13. HOLLY April 21, 2014 at 3:02 PM #


    Just one final question for now…

    I take it from the questions above there is no way to apply for the NIN before arriving in the UK, even if there is a fixed address I can supply.

    But seeing as it takes 8-10 weeks to get one, would most employers be happy to pay me if I do start working before I get the number, so long as I can prove that I have applied for one? Does anyone remember if they were given an application number when they applied? And will they withhold more tax until I do get the NIN? I’m not even sure how taxes work in the UK, if it’s the same as Aus or more like France where they take it out just a few times a year (or so I’ve heard)? I know it is wishful thinking to hope to be able to get a job within the first month or so, but I am definitely going to be looking at temping. Haven’t even started looking yet so expect more questions when that happens!

    Thank you kindly in advance!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM #

      Hey Holly, its difficult to apply as they send out paperwork for you to fill in etc so its best done once you arrive. In terms of employers most I believe will pay you while waiting on the number but it’s up to each employer really so you’ll have to ask on application.

      Also a lot of companies pay monthly so while that most likely won’t be for you temping there can be a delay in getting your pay into your account.

  14. KATE May 25, 2014 at 3:31 PM #

    Hi aussie nomad,
    Thanks for all the great information! Just have a quick query I’m wondering if you can help with.. I’m trying to transfer funds from my Australian bank account to my new UK one. Should I use the Sort Code provided by my UK bank as the BSB? Thanks in advance!!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 26, 2014 at 9:04 AM #

      Hi Kate, I do believe the sort code is the equivalent of the BSB in Australia but I’d ask a bank just to be sure as I’d hate to see you send money to the wrong place. They may also be able to suggest the cheapest way to transfer the money as well due to fees associated with moving money between countries.

  15. MAJ June 6, 2014 at 6:45 AM #

    Hi Aussie Nomad

    I am moving to the UK in a week, and my Westpac bank representative, either because of her incompetence or because Westpac has tight rules, is refusing to change my address to a UK address. I am thinking of going to 1st Contact, but I’ve read on the Lloyds website that they will allow me to open a basic account without proof of address. What to do?



    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD June 6, 2014 at 8:14 AM #

      Hi Maj, thats very strange of the bank staffer to refuse that. I’d call the bank and see if they’ll change it for you as I know the NAB allows it.

      Failing that I believe you can now get an account with just your passport at a Lloyds branch in the UK so I’d save the money from using a broker and do it yourself.

    • SHARLA June 12, 2014 at 4:55 PM #

      the best thing i ever did when i left australia was to get a commonwealth travel money card – you can just go into a branch and ask for one, and make a payment straight onto your card! when you need to top up your card you can just make a BPAY payment online from your aussie bank account – when you initally open it they dont charge any fees, and every time you top up more money onto your card its only 1% – and when it arrives on your travel card you can choose up to 10 different currencies and its free to take out money in any of those currencies!

      this has helped me SO much! i didnt have to worry about any of my bank accounts in australia, and i didnt need to worry about transfering money to an english one which costs a lot!! they also send you a new card to where ever your staying in the world if it gets lost – a lot better then carrying cash and worrying about transfering from bank to bank worldwide! I have used it all over europe, america, uk and thailand and have never had any problems!

      worth a look πŸ™‚

  16. MARIA July 6, 2014 at 11:38 PM #


    I recently arrived to london, I went to Lloyds and opened a bank account and no you don’t need a proof of address but you do need an address for them to send the card and ion, I used a friends place over here, all I needed to show was my passport.

    The NIN number is a long wait, I done a over the phone interview for my forms, I just sent them back now just waiting for the number to arrive.

    Hope this helps

  17. JOY July 8, 2014 at 3:36 AM #

    Hi! Thanks for the great info first and foremost. Do you know anything or any requirements if I’ve had to delay my trip by 6 months? My Youth mobility visa was approved and as far as I know still good to go. But I can’t find any information on this.


    Joy πŸ™‚

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD July 9, 2014 at 4:55 PM #

      Hi Joy, I’m afraid if your visa has been granted then I don’t know if you can delay it. This is because the start and end dates are stamped on the sticker in your passport. You can go later but your visa will start on the date it was set so you’ll miss out on some of your 2 years.

  18. CALLUM July 16, 2014 at 2:45 AM #


    Is it possible to get a PO box in the UK, are they called PO boxes or something else?

    And then use the PO box so that the NI number application forms and bank account details/card (I will use Lloyds as suggested on here) are posted to this instead of to a hotel/hostel?

    Anything wrong with this plan?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD July 16, 2014 at 10:42 AM #

      Callum, I have no idea to be honest. I’m sure you can get them but the costs I’d image would be high so might make it not worth the effort.

  19. DANIEL July 30, 2014 at 10:21 AM #

    Hi, I’m moving to London in September and I have one question: to get the NINO I have to give a valid UK address as they mail us the number right? But I want to take care of the NI right as I arrive, and I still haven’t chose my new house, it will take me some days after I arrive to get something to prove my new address. Can I get a friend of mine, where I’m staying the first weak or so, to sign or declare in some way that I’m living in her place for the time and use her address to move thing along?
    Thank you

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 3, 2014 at 5:18 AM #

      Hi Daniel, for the NIN number you need an address as they post out the application form to fill in and then again to send you the paperwork with your number on it. You don’t need to prove you live at the address you just need an address for them to send the paperwork to. So you could look at getting it sorted straight away when you arrive as long as your mate is happy to get your mail.

  20. CHRISTINA August 11, 2014 at 2:49 AM #


    I am moving to the UK in January and have been having the same thoughts as Callum and Daniel regarding getting a NIN. You can just update the address to a new one after you get the number right? 8 – 10 weeks is quite long but was thinking of renting a room through Airbnb for 2 months and see how I go. Alternatively, was thinking if the host doesn’t let me use their address, I could reach out to a distant relative. The thought of a PO Box also came to mind so will look into the costs.

    Your blog is really helpful!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 11, 2014 at 3:00 AM #

      Hi Christina, yes you can update your address anytime you like. In terms of the address if you are renting there I imagine you could use their address but thats up the the host I guess.

  21. RYAN SAID August 27, 2014 at 9:13 AM #

    hi there aussie nomad ,
    I know you probably get this a lot but my Fiance and I are moving over to london for 2 years as we have our tier 5 working visas and was just wondering on some tips for when we land and where abouts the best places are to start looking for jobs and accommodation we we’re thinking of somewhere central to london as most aussie do.

    thanks for your time

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 28, 2014 at 12:56 PM #

      Hi Ryan, finding work will depend on what sort of job you want to do. If its casual type work then drop into places and ask about work and hit up things like the TNT Magazine website. If you want a more career job then look to recruitment companies and online job searches. Better yet if you know somebody there already who can hook you up with a connection go down that road as well. It’s much the same as trying to find work at home.

  22. JOHN September 13, 2014 at 9:46 AM #

    Hi just wondering after you call up job center plus how long it takes to get your form before you send it back? I called up over 2 weeks ago and just wondering if I should call again or not? I forgot how long they said it would take. Cheers love the page!!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD September 13, 2014 at 3:14 PM #

      Hi John, I think from memory my form took around 2-3 weeks to arrive but honestly can’t remember now. If you don’t get it soon just call up and get another one sent out would be my suggestion.

      • JOHN September 15, 2014 at 5:06 PM #

        Thanks for that, I was just making sure, if it doesnt come in the next week I will give them a call!

  23. MICHAELA October 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM #

    Hi Aussie Nomad,

    First of all – thanks for all the effort you’ve put in to making such a great site – I’m moving to Scotland next year and this has been my bible.

    Since I’ve got so much from this, I thought I’d share something I discovered today that may hopefully be helpful to others, regarding banking. I’ve been worried about not being able to set up a bank account when I get to the UK, as I will have no proof of my residence (I’m renting a self-contained apartment and all utilities are included, so no bills, council tax etc in my name).

    After some research a while ago, I decided to use the service provided by the NAB to set up an account with the Clydesdale before I arrive, however as of Sept 2014 this is no longer available to new applicants.

    I really need an account straight away, and what I ideally wanted was a no-fee transaction account with a Visa Debit card that I could use for Bpay, account transfers, shopping, internet banking, and salary deposits both in the UK and AU, with no minimum balance or monthly deposit requirements, and standard daily transaction allowances.

    I think, after a LOT of Googling, that I have found this with the Citibank Plus account. I have looked at it online and called them with questions twice, and it seems that I will be able to use it as a regular Visa Debit card with online banking in AU and UK, without any fees, even conversion transaction fees. I can pay bills and shop and withdraw funds from AU and many other countries, have my wages paid into the account in pounds and AUD, transfer money to other AU and UK accounts – everything I need, without any conditions or fees. No minimum balance, daily transfers of up to $10,000 and purchases up to $1000. If I use a non-partnered ATM I would pay their local fee, same as in AU. The money in the account stays as AUD or converts to AUD when deposited, then converts to other currencies as required when withdrawn.

    There is obviously no interest but I couldn’t care less about that, as I think it does everything I need – I could even use it for overseas online purchases when in AU and avoid the transaction fee I usually pay with my MasterCard, and I could keep in when I return and still be able to access any money that comes through in pounds later, without having to deal with a UK bank from AU.

    It almost sounds too good to be true – I’ve looked at a few reviews, and they seem to support all of this. The only negatives I have seen said that the customer service wasn’t top-notch (though I haven’t had this problem so far), that the online banking is clunky (I can deal with that, though it might be a bit annoying) and that the cards don’t have pay wave (this seems to have been changed as they currently advertise the cards as chipped and pay wave friendly).

    I had trouble finding this (when I first looked at Citibank’s site I didn’t realise this account did all of the above, it’s not really marketed to people), so hopefully it’s all as I’ve been assured, and it helps others. I thought I’d have to deal with HSBC’s conditions and fees, or use an agency like 1st Contact, then attend a meeting to get set up when I arrived.

    If anyone else has used this account, I’d love to hear what they think. I’m planning to apply soon (done online with licence/passport/Medicare card, standard eligibility criteria) and then do a bit of a test run to make sure it all works before I leave, like transfer some money to a friend’s UK bank account, buy something online in a different currency, etc.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD October 12, 2014 at 3:05 PM #

      Hi Michaela, the Citibank Plus account is one that has become more popular for people looking to go overseas and spend their Australia dollars without a lot of fees and conversion worries. I’ve some really great comments on it here on this post I wrote about travel cards awhile back (

      However it seems you want to use this as your everyday account while living in the UK as well? While I’m sure thats possible you may find employers won’t want to pay into an overseas account due to fee’s they’d have to pay to transfer the money abroad. They also just may not allow it as its an additional headache for their account staff.

      My suggestion is to use the citibank account for access your Australian money while you get setup. Then once you’ve arrived in the UK to open a bank account there. It’s extremely straightforward and would simplify your paycheck from your employers in the UK. There you’d get a visa debit card for your account to use as you need.

      • MICHAELA October 16, 2014 at 12:52 AM #

        Thanks Aussie Nomad,

        I had a look at the other post. I also called Citibank again and they told me UK employers can easily transfer my wages into my Citibank Plus account without fees, they just need to reference the ‘Citibank Swift Code’ which is CITIAU2X – don’t really know what that means but I’m going to go ahead and see how I go, if it proves to be a hassle, I’ll set up a UK bank account later.

        Also, regarding the online banking – I was worried about all this ‘one time PIN’ business, but if you don’t want to have it texted to you each time you log on (I don’t have a UK number yet) and if you don’t have Android or iPhone for the app, they can provide you with a free hard token before you leave so you can generate a PIN that way.

        Hopefully it all goes smoothly! Thanks again for the info and sharing your thoughts on this.

    • ANASTASIA July 25, 2015 at 6:42 PM #

      Hi Michaela! By chance, could I give you a quick call to discuss this? I live in Australia and am starting to look into all of this. Your post is very helpful But when I look the account up on google I can’t seem to find the fee free one with the ability to use in England. Thanks, Anastasia

  24. PUMAL October 11, 2014 at 2:39 AM #


    I was wondering if I can open up a bank account in England whilst in Australia ? I’m looking to transfer some pounds before I leave Australia early next year (So I can lock in the current exchange rate). That is, in your experience do they let you open up an account through correspondence or is mandatory to reside within England before I can open a bank account ?

    Thanks in advance


    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD October 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM #

      Hi Pumal, some banks in Australia will let you open an account before you arrive in the UK. I believe the HSBC still does this but a recent comment from another reader said the NAB stopped offering it. There are some requirements but you’d need to speak to each bank and see what they offer I’m afraid.

  25. PUMAL October 30, 2014 at 7:22 AM #

    Thanks mate! much appreciate it. Just another quick one, do you know how long in advance I need to apply for the youth mobility visa ? That is, I’m looking to move to london around April next year, can I or should I apply for the visa now with the visa beginning date to be April 15 (just to get it out of the way) or is there any restriction as to how long in advance I can apply for the Visa ? One of my mates said its three months is the latest, I just wanted to know what your experience was.


    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD October 30, 2014 at 7:47 AM #

      Hi Pumal, your friend is right. You can only apply for the visa within 3 months of when you want it to start so if you plan to leave in April then I’d be applying sometime in February.

  26. CHLOE November 5, 2014 at 6:12 AM #

    Heading to the UK in January to work as an Au Pair. Have job in place. Just wondering, do I also need travel insurance for the two years away (quite expensive) or as I can register with doctor, should I just take out travel insurance for the week I depart Australia and arrive in London. Plan on a couple of days in London before starting work and moving in with family!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD November 9, 2014 at 3:58 PM #

      Hi Chloe, as you’ll be living/working in the UK on the youth mobility visa (I assume) you’ll be automatically covered by the NHS (think medicare) while in the UK. I’d recommend just taking travel insurance for the first couple of weeks till you get settled and then all should be fine.

  27. ADAM November 14, 2014 at 4:28 PM #

    Hi, I just arrived in london a couple of days ago, I’m staying at a friends so I got my NIN call done and just waiting paperwork to be sent out. I’m now trying to open a bank account and Im having trouble finding a bank where I can use just my passport and visa to prove I can work here. I tried Barclay’s but they want the letter from NIN which will take a few weeks. Can you recommend a bank that is quick to open an account with and less hassle?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD November 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM #

      Hi Adam, I got my bank account with LLoyds so see how you go there. I pretty much walked in and got it on the spot.

      • JULES March 9, 2015 at 5:51 PM #

        Hi Aussie Nomad,

        When you received your Lloyds account did they check for a valid visa in the UK? Am wondering if I can just open an account with a foreign passport and no visa. Wishful thinking?

        • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 12, 2015 at 5:11 PM #

          Hi Jules, yes they did check my visa to make sure I had permission to stay in the country. I think you can open an account even without a visa as it is possible in Australia so maybe go in and ask the question. You would however still need proof of an address which may catch you out.

  28. MARGARET JOHN February 2, 2015 at 5:12 AM #

    Our son in law (australian with european passport by descent)and our daughter (born and raised in Britain but has been married and domiciled in Australia for 9 years), are moving to the UK for 5 years with their 3 children ( all of whom have British passports) relocatedby his employer in Australia an international German company. His job is permanent and he is in a managerial position. Questions:

    Would you recommend opening a Lloyds account prior to arriving in the UK as he would like to transfer money in advance into a UK bank account?

    Would they be eligible to apply for a morgage or do they have to be domiciled for 2-3 years?

    If they can buy outright, us this permissible or do the same constraints apply ?

    I have found your blog extremely interesting to read and would be grateful for any advice re the above. With many thanks

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD February 10, 2015 at 9:46 PM #

      Hi Margaret, I’m afraid I really don’t have experience on what you need. All of my knowledge is for younger 18-30 year olds to travel to the UK on a youth mobility visa.

  29. SHAUN February 12, 2015 at 8:15 PM #

    Hi Aussie Nomad,

    Thankyou for sharing all your experiences, it’s so helpful!

    I am looking to go the UK later this year but am considering relocating up north (perhaps Newcastle).
    Do you have any knowledge of what the job situation is like up there?

    Thanks a lot.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD February 19, 2015 at 9:13 PM #

      Hi Shaun, I’m afraid I’ve no idea on the job prospects up north. I’d imagine you may stand more of a chance as London is often overflowing with works, it would be a different perspective on living abroad to not go where 99% of others do.

  30. CHLOE March 10, 2015 at 10:29 PM #

    Just wondering if anyone has any recent knowledge if the way of changing your address of your Australian bank statement to your uk address still works when applying for bank accounts/what banks it does work for!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 12, 2015 at 5:21 PM #

      Hi Chloe, I’ve not seen anybody try this for awhile but have heard that you may not even need a proof of address for Lloyds. You just need your passport with visa. I’d look at making an appointment to see a bank and see what they say.

  31. JESS March 19, 2015 at 8:45 AM #

    Hi I’m on the youth mobility visa and moved to London 2 wks ago. Apart from a delay in getting the ball rolling due to food poisoning from the plane I’ve managed to open an account and apply for the NIN.
    Before I left home I opened a NAB classic account (no monthly fees) and then changed my address on that to my UK address. Got NAB to print out a transaction listing showing this address. I’m staying in a room off Air BnB just used that address the host didn’t mind.
    Went to Lloyds bank (Putney) they did ask for proof of address, I showed them the NAB print out which they accepted but didn’t take a copy of. They took a copy of passport ID and visa pages and proceeded to do a credit check. Apparently this is standard process even though I just wanted a transaction account. (Called a Current account in UK). After 15 mins and a phone call to some internal department for them to check my visa was acceptable since I had no credit record in UK) the consultant opened my account (also with no monthly fees, no min deposit or balance required) and ordered my card. Card and PIN arrived 4 days later (on a Saturday even!). Card is a visa debit but not contactless (that’s what they call payWave/PayPass), I’ve since found out Lloyds aren’t offering contactless on all cards yet. Oh and go before 3pm I went about 4pm and they still helped me but apparently they don’t do ‘appointments’ after 3 usually. Bank acc sorted.
    Called job centre plus on 03456000643 on a Friday, their line was shut due to call volumes. PS. won’t bother with pay phones here the phone call should have been 10-20p but min coin accepted in the phone is Β£1 with no change! Called on Monday was asked a few questions about my visa and then they posted out the NIN application form. It arrived the following Monday. Posted it back straightaway with copy of passport ID and visa as requested. Waiting now…
    Just got a temp job but I can start work without the NIN albeit will likely pay higher tax until I provide it. That’s ok it’s end of UK financial yr in a few weeks I’ll be able to do a tax return here and get a refund I’m sure.
    Tip: get a sim asap helps with updating CV and job hunting and so u can call UK numbers without resorting tipsy phones or roaming on your aussie number.
    Hope this helps.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD March 20, 2015 at 12:44 PM #

      Thanks for posting your experience Jess thats really really helpful for others looking to make the move.

  32. JESS March 19, 2015 at 8:50 AM #

    Oh another banking tip I asked about an international account with HSBC they can open one in AU but costs $200 then when u get to UK they can make it work in UK too but can take weeks in itself to set up and would still need proof of address.
    Nab definitely don’t offer any international accounts or assistance like in the last but they recommended I use Lloyds.

  33. PRABU April 21, 2015 at 10:25 PM #

    Hi guys,

    I just went to Barclays in Islington (near the Angel tube station). They said they now need a proof of address, and what’s more a print out of an aussie bank statement with an updated address won’t be accepted.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD April 22, 2015 at 5:28 PM #

      Thanks for the update Prabu. I’d always heard Barclays were difficult to get an account at.

  34. VLADIMIR May 13, 2015 at 12:28 AM #

    Hey guys

    Please help me to find the answer…

    I’m Russian. My British friend invited me to live in her house together in London. I’ve been living here for few months. I would like to open a bank account in UK.
    What proof of address I can use?
    Is it acceptable to use some sort of friend’s letter? Some sort of invitation? (by the way.. is it legal to live like this? πŸ™‚ )

    I don’t have something similar to tenancy agreement or a contract to rent the property.
    We are just living together.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 13, 2015 at 12:45 PM #

      Hi Vladimir, as long as you have a valid visa to live in the UK you can live however you like and apply for a bank account. As you are living with your friend maybe have them create a fake tenancy agreement between you both so there is some form of details you can give them as proof of an address.

  35. REECE May 16, 2015 at 9:49 AM #


    I’ll be moving to London in October of this year and I have a few questions.

    – Is it worth arranging a place to stay before I go or should I just wait until I arrive and stay in a hostel until I can find something?

    – I’ll be looking for work when I arrive, is it best to apply through a recruitment agency or is it as simple as walking in to any pub and asking for work?

    – Whats the average income for an aussie traveller working in a pub? Will I be restricted to pub work or what other jobs are out there?

    – How much SHOULD I be paying for budget living expenses (rent, bills, transport, food)?


    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 25, 2015 at 2:29 PM #

      Hi Reece,

      – honestly its personal preference although many places will want to meet you before letting you live in their share house so you may find it easier to get a place once you arrive.

      – depends on the work. If its pub work just ask about, if it’s more career based then I’d look at recruitment agencies

      – I’m unsure on the income for working in a pub abroad I’m afraid. As for other work depends on your skills really but you can do pretty much anything

      – rent will be your biggest cost and the further you live out of London or in remote areas the cheaper it will be. As a guide I used to pay 700 pounds a month for a room in a 2 bed apartment in Fulham. You can get cheaper/more expensive depending on where you live and how many people you share with. That covered all my bills as well. Transport again depends on where you live and work but anywhere from 20 pounds and up would be my guess. Food is cheaper than Australia I found so think less than you’d pay now for groceries.

  36. CODY May 21, 2015 at 1:28 AM #

    Hi there, without this website I would most definitely not have a visa, NIN, or bank account. It has been so incredibly helpful in all aspects of moving to the UK I would be lost if not for your articles/reader comments. So a massive massive thank you.

    Just wanting to tell of my experiences, which may hopefully be beneficial to someone. I moved to London 3 days ago and have had a nightmare of a time getting a bank account.

    I called into my local Lloyds Bank, but they said they had no appointments until June! Also called into Earls Court but they also had more than a weeks wait for an appointment. They referred me onto enquiring at a bigger branch. I ended up at Hammersmith(the biggest branch apparently) and they also didnt have any appointments until the end of next week. I need a bank account as in yesterday as I start working in the very near future.

    On a whim I called into HSBC Hammersmith. They were the most helpful people I have come across since I have moved here.I cheered with relief and made an appointment for later that day. I had to provide my passport, my work contract, my London address, a phone number…and then the oddest thing; my Australian drivers licence with my Australian address on it. They used this as “proof of address”. I guess they just need a licence that shows that your a human and have a legitimate address somewhere in the world. I have no idea why, but they accept this as proof of address. All correspondence (cards,pin,etc) will be posted to my London address.They assessed which account was best for me, and opened it there on the spot. They have a range of accounts which have different requirements depending on your needs/minimum deposits/etc, but from my experience they are more than happy to help with talking about which one will best suit you.

    If your at your wits end and about to give up and book a flight home, just call into HSBC and see what they might be able to offer. There were a range of different documents that you can use, and as everyones circumstances are different… one of the combinations may fit! Goodluck on your quest! You can do it!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 25, 2015 at 2:46 PM #

      Hi Cody, thanks for the valuable feedback and sorry you had such a difficult start with the banks. Hope its all smooth sailing for you now on.

  37. JASMIN July 18, 2015 at 9:09 PM #

    Hi AN
    I’m filling out the NIN form now and there is a question asking for social security membership number, PIN or reference number in your home country if applicable. I’m not sure if i am suppose to put my Aus tax file number here? or perhaps centrelink CRN as that is technically our social security? Has anyone filled this form out recently who may remember whether anything is required here for Aus citizen.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 5, 2015 at 12:41 AM #

      Hi Jasmin, sorry for the delayed reply. For that question I’d enter your tax file number as thats is the equal to the UK’s NIN number as far as I know.

  38. MARK July 26, 2015 at 8:59 AM #

    Thanks for this great info. I am from oz and I completed a 2 year youth mobility Visa a few years back (2007_09) and for one reason or another, i never got an NI number. I did work but just paid emergency tax the whole time (i know, stupid move). I plan on going back to live on a Tier 2 sponsored Visa. Have you heard of anyone having problems getting an NI number in these circumstances?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 5, 2015 at 12:20 AM #

      Hi Mark, never heard of anybody going back and in that situation I’m afraid. Can’t see how it would be a problem to be honest so you should be fine.

  39. LAUREN July 30, 2015 at 5:22 PM #

    thanks for all the above advice.
    i just need to know if i still need travel insurance if iam on a fiance visa and it states i can get access to the public funds so im guessing that mean nhs system also?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 5, 2015 at 12:17 AM #

      Hi Lauren, you’d just need insurance for travel to and from the UK otherwise you’ll be covered for medical issues in the UK on the NHS.

  40. ELIZA July 30, 2015 at 10:08 PM #


    I’ve been living in England for 5 months working and i’m about to head home but I’m trying to sort out my tax first. I know you need to fill out the P85 and hand over your P45 to claim your tax back but is there any other forms? I’ll looked on HMRC and can’t find any more information.


    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 5, 2015 at 12:16 AM #

      Eliza, I wish I could help you on this but I gave up on all the tax stuff when I left. It seemed all too difficult at the time and I was also planning to come back but never did so that complicated my situation. If you do find out the right process I’d love to know so I can update my article to reflect what needs to be done.

      • MEERA January 15, 2016 at 12:39 AM #

        Hi there,

        You will need all your P45 or P60’s as well as a number of other forms including a P85. You should also include a covering letter and a P91 β€” employment history form. You should then send these completed forms to your local tax office.

        The time limit on making a claim is 6 years. So if you have left the UK anytime in the last 6 years you can still make a claim.

        Hope that helps

        All the best

    • JESS January 29, 2016 at 10:24 AM #

      I only had one job while in the UK and submitted the P85 with P45 when back in Australia. Was actioned pretty quick got a refund into my UK bank account within a month. Handy for Xmas! Never received an acknowledgement or notice about the refund but that was the only money I was expecting and it was substantial since I had only worked 4-5 mths. It says you have to submit original P45 however mine got lost in the post to Australia so I submited the printed pdf copy my employer had emailed me.

  41. MICHAEL February 20, 2016 at 6:16 AM #

    I thought it would be great advice for any person deciding to live and work in London for an extended period of time. I had a very horrid experience with UK banking and without much assistance and having no real connections in London, it felt like I would never be able to open a bank account.

    In general, especially for non-EU persons (i.e. Australians) it’s more difficult to open a bank account because we do not officially live in the UK/EU and have no prior accounts. Whereas in Australia, you can open one with the Driver’s License, we don’t have any documents that directly permit us to open a UK bank account. So it’s unreasonable for us to be expected to have this kind of documentation, but by the same token, they are not willing to open one for identity/security reasons.

    In my own personal experience, I made a phone appointment about 1-2 weeks from Australia with the bank that I chose. Thinking that it was similar to home, they couldn’t open one for you without an appointment. The general requirements are a valid Government issued passport or equivalent and now the additional document of a proof of address stating where you live. It does not appear it is a straightforward process, and it can be the bank advisor’s discretion of how they manage your appointment. I was told that I could open one with a job employment letter, showing where I lived. But very luckily, I was able to open one based on discretion, having provided a relative’s address.

    This won’t be the same in most (if not all) cases. You will definitely need the proof of address. If you are able to, provide more than (1) original document that you can take with you to the UK. They can be:

    1 – Original Australian bank statement letter, that displays your UK address and show your transactional history. Contact the Internet department of your Australian bank and explain to them what you what and why. Alternatively, ask for advice from your local branch.

    2 – Open an account with HSBC before you leave. Given the fact that HSBC has a worldwide presence, they will be able to verify and open you a HSBC UK account, based on your Australian one.

    3 – If you have relatives or family members in the UK, ask them to place your name on their utility bills (ask 3 months in advance or check if they can ask the utility for a statement letter)

    Some systems and processes are not as modern as Australian banks have, particularly for Lloyds. The most modern UK bank is Barclays who offer the same kind of features, security, and options for your debit card. A person who I first shared a house with was rejected by NatWest simply because she had not had opened a bank account first with another bank.

    Please ensure that once you have opened your bank account, you have your UK mobile number current or updated using the Internet banking. It became a horrid experience because when I opened my account, I had yet to buy a UK pre-paid sim card and had no number. Using my relative’s number as a point-of-contact – the UK bank’s fraud system may send you a text message if there are any suspicious transactions – and as I began to use my card, my relative had pressed “NO” on her own phone, unbeknownst to her that it was me who was making those transactions. This created an extremely unpleasant time where involved a letter of complaint, a letter of instruction to resolve the matter, and on the decision of the branch bank manager to make a executive decision that I had the right identity.

    – Whereas PayWave/PayPass comes with your Australian bank card, UK cards have not had this applied. By request from Lloyds you can apply from the time of opening. For those without, they have had to check your credit history before allowing you to receive their “Contactless” card feature.

  42. CHARLENE March 1, 2016 at 5:33 PM #

    Man I spend way too much time harassing you on this site – it’s so good!

    May I ask, do you know if you can apply for your bank account and NIN number if you’re in the country before your visa starts? I’m flying over early for a job interview and there is a bit of a lag before my visa starts – I was thinking of just organising this stuff so I’m not wasting my time.

    • CHARLENE March 18, 2016 at 3:40 AM #

      Well, for anyone who is curious I did get into the country before my visa started (will exit out again and come back in to actually start it) and attempted to sort out my bank account and NIN.

      On Monday (14th of March)I tried calling up the government website to organise my NIN. As an Australian apparently I don’t need to do an interview and they sent forms out to me. I received the forms to fill out today (17th of March). The forms are very simple and just have to send back a copy of my visa and passport back to them. Hopefully all will go well, since my visa has yet to be officially stamped yet. Will keep ya posted…

      Also called Barclays and HSBC to try and organise my bank account. HSBC said they’d call me back in 24-48 hours whereas I managed to book an appointment with Barclays on the phone. They told me everything was fine but when I went in for the appointment I got declined because I didn’t have a job. Fortunately a HSBC and a Lloyds were nearby so I tried to book some appointments with them. Got into HSBC on Wednesday (16th of March) and managed to get a basic bank account pretty much sorted. Forgot my tax reference number but just emailed it to them afterwards. So mostly done. πŸ™‚

  43. RACHEL August 11, 2016 at 3:38 PM #


    When I arrived in the uk in March 2015 I went to the major/popular banks and they all needed proof of address and the wait for an appointment was at least a month long plus the application form was 10 pages long (I don’t like application at the best of time). As you could image this made me feel very discouraged and overwhelmed by the whole bank account situation.

    I was lucky enough to find that Halifax bank had an appointment in the next few days and all I needed was my passport, visa and another form of ID (ie drivers license) to open my bank account. It was really easy and I’m so thankful to Halifax for being there for me, and I haven’t had one complaint in the 18months I have been using them.


  1. MOVING TO LONDON - THE AUSSIE NOMAD - November 11, 2012

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