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Opening UK bank account from the US?

Opening UK bank account from the US?

Old May 30th 2020, 3:24 pm
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Default Opening UK bank account from the US?

I am a UK citizen planning on moving back to the UK, after 30 years in the US, in about a year. With the exchange rate so favorable to the dollar at the moment, I want to open up a UK bank account to exchange my US saving into pounds. I want to be ready to buy a flat when I arrive and have the funds ready in a UK bank account.

Is this possible and if so what type of account/bank do I need to accomplish this? My partner did some research and told me I need a national insurance number (which I've lost) and my passport - is this correct? Any information on the correct way to do this would be greatly appreciated!
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Old May 30th 2020, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by Brightongirl View Post
I am a UK citizen planning on moving back to the UK, after 30 years in the US, in about a year. With the exchange rate so favorable to the dollar at the moment, I want to open up a UK bank account to exchange my US saving into pounds. I want to be ready to buy a flat when I arrive and have the funds ready in a UK bank account.

Is this possible and if so what type of account/bank do I need to accomplish this? My partner did some research and told me I need a national insurance number (which I've lost) and my passport - is this correct? Any information on the correct way to do this would be greatly appreciated!
The way I did this was to open a Premier account with HSBC (minimum deposit $100K in Canada) and then, working with the Canadian branch, open, a second account in the UK with HSBC in the UK. Being a dual citizen, I have Cdn and UK passports. Once the accounts exist you can transfer funds across, although you can't withdraw UK funds until you visit the UK bank in person and have (a temporary) UK address.
I understand though that HSBC branches in the US are few and far between.

Last edited by Novocastrian; May 30th 2020 at 4:12 pm.
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Old May 30th 2020, 5:27 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
The way I did this was to open a Premier account with HSBC (minimum deposit $100K in Canada) and then, working with the Canadian branch, open, a second account in the UK with HSBC in the UK. Being a dual citizen, I have Cdn and UK passports. Once the accounts exist you can transfer funds across, although you can't withdraw UK funds until you visit the UK bank in person and have (a temporary) UK address.
I understand though that HSBC branches in the US are few and far between.
Thanks Novocastrain. We do have access to HSBC somewhere here in Florida. And I have US and UK passports. I'll have the necessary money to open a Premier account. The only thing is, with the coronavirus and the UK's 14-day mandatory quarantine beginning next week, I can't make the trip to the UK to open up a UK bank account. Is there some way around this perhaps?
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Old May 30th 2020, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by Brightongirl View Post
Thanks Novocastrain. We do have access to HSBC somewhere here in Florida. And I have US and UK passports. I'll have the necessary money to open a Premier account. The only thing is, with the coronavirus and the UK's 14-day mandatory quarantine beginning next week, I can't make the trip to the UK to open up a UK bank account. Is there some way around this perhaps?
Once you become a Premier client with HSBC.US, you'ill be assigned a Relationship Manager. S/he will know how to open and account in the UK with HSBC.UK, you'll need tp provide some information but you don't need to be physically present in the UK at that point.
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Old May 30th 2020, 6:01 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
Once you become a Premier client with HSBC.US, you'ill be assigned a Relationship Manager. S/he will know how to open and account in the UK with HSBC.UK, you'll need tp provide some information but you don't need to be physically present in the UK at that point.
Thanks again! That makes it so much easier. Did you have to know your National Insurance number to open a UK account? I spoke with HM Revenue & Customs last week and they couldn't locate mine even though I worked in the UK before I moved.)
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Old May 30th 2020, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
Once you become a Premier client with HSBC.US, you'ill be assigned a Relationship Manager. S/he will know how to open and account in the UK with HSBC.UK, you'll need tp provide some information but you don't need to be physically present in the UK at that point.
That is exactly what my son did, and also a friend of mine. Tricky bit is finding a branch of HSBC for the in-person document signing and id check.
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Old May 30th 2020, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
That is exactly what my son did, and also a friend of mine. Tricky bit is finding a branch of HSBC for the in-person document signing and id check.
Yes, thanks. My nearest HSBC branch is about an hours drive from here but well worth the drive to get this step accomplished.
Just for my peace of mind, does anyone know if a national insurance number is necessary to open a UK bank account from the US?
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Old May 30th 2020, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by Brightongirl View Post
Yes, thanks. My nearest HSBC branch is about an hours drive from here but well worth the drive to get this step accomplished.
Just for my peace of mind, does anyone know if a national insurance number is necessary to open a UK bank account from the US?
No. My son didn’t have one until after he was in the UK and working.
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Old May 30th 2020, 7:51 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
No. My son didn’t have one until after he was in the UK and working.
Thanks! I can't find mine from 30+ years ago!
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Old May 30th 2020, 9:15 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by Brightongirl View Post
Thanks! I can't find mine from 30+ years ago!
Did you try filling in this form and sending it off? I did that, and they found mine from about as long ago.

https://www.gov.uk/lost-national-insurance-number

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Old May 30th 2020, 9:34 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Thanks Lion in Winter, Yes I did send it off a few days ago and hoping they can find it. I also phoned them last week and was shocked to speak with a very nice girl who tried to find it for me but she wasn't able to locate it. So she said to mail it in all the same because it requests more information than they do over the phone. I'm hoping they come up with it because I did pay taxes for a few years.
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Old Jun 2nd 2020, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
That is exactly what my son did, and also a friend of mine. Tricky bit is finding a branch of HSBC for the in-person document signing and id check.
Several US residents have mentioned the lack of local branches of HSBC. I did it while living near Toronto and I had two branches within walking distance to choose from.
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Old Jun 2nd 2020, 11:22 am
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

If u paid taxes as an employee you also paid National Insurance. Worth checking on that and considering paying for those years when you were outside the UK. 35 years will get you a full pension. 10 years would get you 10/35. Look at the threads here on National Insurance, Voluntary Contributions.

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Old Jun 2nd 2020, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by scot47 View Post
If u paid taxes as an employee you also paid National Insurance. Worth checking on that and considering paying for those years when you were outside the UK. 35 years will get you a full pension. 10 years would get you 10/35. Look at the threads here on National Insurance, Voluntary Contributions.
Thanks, but I worked for less than 4 years at an entry level income of about 7K GBP annually so I don't think that will get me much of a pension. But it does mean I should have a NI number though, so I hope they find it.
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Old Jun 2nd 2020, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: Opening UK bank account from the US?

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
Several US residents have mentioned the lack of local branches of HSBC. I did it while living near Toronto and I had two branches within walking distance to choose from.
Yes, big problem for many. Our son did it while spending a week with his sister in LA. A friend of mine who was moving back home to France took a few days trip visiting New York from his house in Alabama and went to a branch while there, he said it was a good excuse to visit NYC before going back to France for good. (He was a Green Card holder and gave it up immediately so he only had one US tax return to file after he got back)
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