Until now many UK banks have followed a policy of allowing expats to retain accounts they held before moving abroad, but have typically not allowed them, or other non-UK residents, to open new ones. That was meant to change by September 18 under the Payment Account Regulations 2015 which transpose into British law an EU regulation on payment accounts. This right applies to UK banks as the UK continues to be in the EU until a potential Brexit happens.
A spokeswoman for RBS, which includes Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank, confirmed that someone, such as a British expat in France who does not have a UK address can now open an account. “For most applicants our basic Foundation account would be most suitable. They could apply in branch, over the phone or online and ID / proof of address could be provided by post or in branch.”
Barclays said that from September 18 expats can complete an online application and then post documents to confirm identity and address. HSBC and Lloyds did not respond to our request for information.