Set Up a Migrant Bank Account Before Leaving
If you’re emigrating from the UK you may need to transfer or take a large amount of money with you when you finally move. Often, countries will charge customs fees if you import over a certain amount in cash. Because of this, many people either leave their money in their UK account, or decide to open an account in the country they’re moving to.
Keeping Your UK Bank AccountIf you are continuing to be paid by a UK employer, it is often easier to maintain your UK bank account if possible. To do this, you’ll need to let the bank know you’ve become a non-resident and provide them with your new address. Many people choose to keep their UK account to tie up loose ends at home and when they have sold property, the funds are often placed there. Ultimately, if this money is going to be needed in your new place of residence, you will need to open an account in your new country and this can often be organised before you even leave the UK.
Migrant Bank AccountsCertain companies and countries have a service known as a ‘migrant bank account’. This account is developed specifically with migrants in mind and can be set up from the UK. All that is required is a few forms to be filled in and some proof of identity sent over to the bank. Then you’ll normally receive details of your new account and its location and you are immediately able to start transferring funds into this account. This is a great way of establishing yourself with a bank in your new country and it also gives you time to get used to the process of sending money into the account.
With a migrant account, you won’t be able to withdraw any funds until you have been identified in the bank you’ve set up the account with. This is to ensure that your money is safe and thankfully it’s a very simple process to be identified in person. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be given normal ATM bank cards and can often apply for credit cards, assuming you have proof of a job in your new home. Countries like Australia offer migrant bank accounts and in particular, the Westpac bank is a favourite with many immigrants, as it seems to be the most straight-forward to set up from the UK. The best way of finding information on which banks offer migrant accounts is to simply do a search online.
Overseas Bank Accounts from the UKIf you’re moving to a country like Canada or the USA, it can be slightly more difficult to set up your bank account whilst still in the UK. Most of the larger banks advise that you simply open an account next time you’re there visiting. If you decide to walk into a branch and open an account when there, it can often be sorted out for you within the hour and your cards can be sent to your UK address. However, if you do want to open an account in these countries from the UK, one of the easier options is to use HSBC, one of the true international banks.
If you have a UK account with HSBC, then you can usually fill in a few forms and nominate the branch of HSBC abroad that you’d like to use. Once you’ve filled these in, you’ll receive ATM cards, often credit cards and a chequebook within a few weeks. You can also transfer your money from your UK HSBC account to your HSBC account in your new country.
One of the downsides of using HSBC is that they do want you to hold a UK account with them and will often try to get you to transfer your other UK accounts to them. Also, there are numerous discrepancies regarding whether your UK credit rating will carry forward to your new home. Make an appointment with someone at the bank who deals with opening overseas accounts and ask them about any questions that you feel are relevant to your case.