Keeping UK bank accounts as a French resident

Hi All,

I assume that this is something that many of us do after leaving the UK. I was wondering about its legal status and whether there is a correct way to do it? Does the SFN have a consensus view?

I could, of course, have a chat with my bank, but I am concerned that it could backfire and in the the current Brexit-induced state of collective madness , be forced to close my bank account. It is currently registered at a UK address (a friend’s).



Let sleeping dogs lie…

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There’s quite a thread on this subject already which might be of interest…

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I’ve just moved here and last week I had what started out as a “what happens if I move to France” conversation with First Direct. They couldn’t have been more helpful. They said that I wouldn’t be able to open any new accounts, but could keep the ones I had - current account, savings account and credit card. Instead of using my post code as an identifier when calling in, they gave me a special code to use.

We have Barclays accounts with UK address (still have a small flat there…unused since Feb!) and seems that they are happy with that, but would not commit on what would happen if we sold it.

As i said on another thread I think that HSBC are ok with none UK residents keeping an account, though I’m not sure about whether you can actually open one. First Direct will allow a new accounts for expats but you can only open it whilst you are in uk, (ie go back there to do it).
Still a lot of confusion around accounts…any body know more?

I am just about to have a similar conversation with First Direct, so it’s great to know your experience with them - sounds very grown up…


I became tax resident in France in 2017, notified the Nationwide of my change of address and that’s been fine. The only disadvantage is that their Flex Account free travel insurance isn’t valid if you’re not a UK resident. However, the only time we tried to claim was when still resident in the UK and my wife went to Jo’burg because her father was ill, unfortunately he died, so she re-scheduled her return flight in order to attend the funeral. Nationwide’s insurance refused to reimburse the cost of rescheduling on the basis that she didn’t have to attend the funeral!

Nevertheless’ one reason that I remain a customer is that inline shopping is easier than with our Crédit Agricole Visa card (which has a cheeky annual fee!) is that CA Visa purchases use an SMS confirmation and we live in at the bottom of a gorge with poor mobile reception.

If your UK banking’s free and there’s only a tiny charge on overseas purchases and withdrawals, it may well be worth keeping the account open. However, you’ll probably still need a French account for local bills and stuff.

Yes, that has been my strategy so far. However, we are legally required to inform them of our tax residency status, and I believe that doing so would raise some red flags.

The T&Cs of this bank, Starling, are pretty clear that this is a UK bank for UK based clients. Starling are going for a European banking license in Ireland. Fingers crossed that this will make them a bit more flexible.


To be fair, I’ve had a Starling account since day one. Have not made a single purchase in the UK for over a year, have been french tax resident since 2018, and they’ve not said anything at all to me. Brexit may change that, but I think as long as you have a UK address and don’t make a noise they will be fine. Incidentally (as you may already know) they do specify in the T&Cs you don’t have to be UK tax resident, just resident, to hold an account. If anything Covid has meant plenty of people have ended up effectively stuck in countries they don’t live at second homes or for work so there’s a possibility many will slip into being tax resident elsewhere for a year so I’d expect companies to be a little more understanding. Like you I’m hoping they hurry up and get their Irish license and launch Ireland sorted sooner rather than later, then France was meant to be next on the list.

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Thanks for that. I missed that bit about the foreign tax residency. So you’ve have informed them that you are non-UK tax residence?

I actually haven’t informed them. This has only been I the last 6 months or so that the T&Cs have specifically said this, although it may well have been the policy all along and just not put in black and white. I will do so though, I’ll change the tax residency but leave my address. On the whole I have just taken the approach that I have, as we are meant to, told the french tax authorities the details of every account I have in the UK, so they know they exist and can go talk to HMRC or the banks or whoever to see t hem if they want, which is from my understanding what it is all about at the end of the day. I have not actually been asked this question by any of my banks since I opened them initially and when I was I answered truthfully, so if they’re not going to ask me, I’m not going to do anything. But I have told the tax people in the country I pay tax about them so they are fully aware.

This is really only significant I believe if you are paid interest on holdings with them. They will collect withholding tax (20% IIRC) and if you are not tax resident in the UK, you will then have to collect it back from HMRC. It’s easy enough to do if you have registered your tax status with HMRC through the Form France Individual which should equally mean that the Bank shouldn’t charge withholding tax in the first place (but often do).

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I’m still getting paperwork from Lloyds bank in UK… reminding folk about all sorts of stuff re overdrafts and heaven knows what… but nothing mentions any problems post Brexit… we have no UK link other than that bank…

I’ve been checking the small print… but not a hint…

and no, we have no overdraft and therefore pay no charges… yippee

so reckon they do not have a problem with French residents…

Had interesting experience today, worrying that Barclays will close our accounts when we sell our uk property (hopefully) in the spring, I remembered I have simple savings a/c with Nationwide. Called them, got answered personally in 6 rings and explained that we would soon have no UK address and have been permanent French residents for some time.

Can I convert this savings account to a normal current account I asked? No problem, this is what I can do for you lady said. : I’ll open the current account now but have to send the confirmation and dr card to uk. Then go online and change you address when ever you want to France, now or when you sell the flat. We don’t need you to have a uk property going forward only when you open the account…even offered me a modest overdraft if I wished! Think the important fact was we had a UK address against which they ran a credit check as I was talking to her.
So suggest any body who is concerned about account closure can try this if they still have a uk adress

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Hi Kirstea. You state “they do specify in the T&Cs you don’t have to be UK tax resident, just resident”. Buy you’re not a UK resident if you are a French resident. So how does that work?

Depends whether they say “have a residence” or “be resident” perhaps? Or just sloppy drafting.

There are ways to be dual resident, but that’s not that common as people usually fit the requirements of one country or another.

My view is I don’t care! If Barclaycard are prepared to accept I have a “residential address” in the UK which is currently occupied by a tenant and I am living in France full-time (all of which I explained to them) then I am happy to continue to have a UK credit card. If at any stage in the future this changes, we’ll cross that bridge then.


I agree. There are plenty of alternative products on the market and there is very little these days that would encourage me to continue with a supplier of services who - in spite of how long I had been with them - would dump me because I’m no longer a viable profit centre.
business is business, after all and it cuts both ways :wink:

Not sure if its advisable to use an address for financial matters with a tennant living in it unless maybe a close relative.

There’s some value in that comment. Maybe mitigate any possibilities of mail being opened improperly by other than than the intended recipient by having personal mail diverted by the Post Office but there is always the possibility that if the tenant misbehaves financially, it could impact on the owner in some way.