Opening a bank account in Scotland


Opening a bank account in Scotland is quite simple. Find out how to proceed in this article.

On moving to Scotland, whether to work or retire, you will probably have to open a bank account. In general, relating procedures are quite simple. You just have to choose the bank where you would prefer to open your account and inquire about its conditions for foreign customers.

Types of accounts

You can choose between two types of accounts, depending on the duration of your stay in Scotland. In fact, if you are in the country since less than three months, you are entitled to a “Basic account” only. If you have stayed for more than three months, you may open a “Current account”.

EEA nationals

Foreign nationals coming from the European Economic Area (EEA) and living in the country since less than 3 months are allowed to open a Basic account provided:

  • they are employed and earn regularly
  • they are a good bank history in the country (no overdraft, etc.).

Once you have opened a “Basic account”, you have to wait for 6 to 12 months to be allowed to open a “Current account”.

Beyond this period, you can open a “Current account” by producing the following:

  • a valid passport or identity card issued in a European Union country
  • a valid driver's license along with a photo, signed and containing your address in your home country, or a national identity card or a bank statement, or a gas, electricity or telephone bill, or even a letter issued by your employer in the UK.

Foreign nationals coming from the European Economic Area (EEA) and living in the country since more than 3 months are allowed to open a “Current account”. Application documents are available at the bank of your choice. The bank will then perform an inquiry with your bank in your home country. You could wait for at least 3 weeks for the opening of your bank account.

Documents to be produced are the following:

  • a valid passport or identity card issued in a EU country or a driver's license
  • a water, gas or electricity bill, or a tax sheet issued by your tax center, or a bank statement.


In Scotland, phone or cable bills are not considered as proof of identity or address.

Nationals of non EU countries and USA

You are advised to inquire about relating conditions and formalities with the bank of your choice before proceeding as these generally from one bank to another.

Foreign students

Foreign students living in the country since less than 3 months have to produce a letter issued by their university or other higher education besides their identity documents. This letter must be written with a letter head specifying the university's address and must be signed. It must also specify the duration of your courses and your address in your home country.

Indeed, it can seem quite complicated to open a bank account for someone who has been living in the country for less than 3 months. In all cases, you are advised to inquire on relating formalities with your bank, especially regarding required documents. You also have to be very patient.

 Useful links: – Banks and finance in Scotland Forum 
Scottish Law – List of banks in Scotland
Bank of Scotland
Clydesdale Bank
Royal Bank of Scotland
Lloyds TSB
Tesco Bank

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