Opening UK bank account while resident in France

Hi All. For various reasons I (resident in France for 5 years) need to open a UK, sterling bank account. Lloyds Bank won't do it and I don't qualify for an International account as I'm not rich enough. This new account must be able to transfer to another UK bank account (with Lloyds).

Has anyone done this? If so with who and how?

Thanks in advance, Alex

Hi Sean

No idea why you had a problem with Yorkshire Bank, though when we spoke to Clydesdale Bank, the same organisation, same paperwork just different headed notepaper we were told it was impossible with the usual crap.

However your link is just perfect and I have saved a copy and when next in the UK, I shall print out a copy, roll it up very tightly and shove it up a place where the sun doesn't shine, of various executives in the banks we use in the UK who have denied us this right which has existed in the EU for some years.

Mind you, if we have a Brexit vote then all bets are off again.


Contact the Yorkshire Bank and they will open an account with you

Very straightforward.

We made an appointment, sorted out the paperwork as set out on their web site and it was all done at their Piccadilly office in about an hour

Peter S

PS For Katherine, why has my picture disappeared?

hsbc (with whom I have kept my uk account as well as French)

paperwork - this was done in the branch, they copied their and my passports, I had an EDF and actual hsbc uk statements sent to our french address, death certificates for my great-grandparents, blood and stool samples and a letter from the Queen, that's all. Actually I really did have a copy of my Avis d'Impots I'm not sure if they looked at it.

Who with if you don't mind me asking? And what paperwork did you need? Thanks!

We went to UK over the hols, and I managed to open up savings accounts for my children, despite their expat status, so that might be worth trying

I have to concur with the majority re: HSBC, I had no problem opening an HSBC account when we actually came to France to sign for our house. I just called into a branch in Bordeaux, they interviewed me, I handed over my ID and the account was opened quicker than it would have been in the UK. All with mY Uk details. They assigned me a personal banker too, although I haven’t had much use for him. I have a cheque book to pay french bills and I transfer funds from my UK bank account. I use online banking and they send me a statement every time I do a transaction. It would be worthwhile speaking to them to see if they can arrange a Global account with the UK. The other suggestion would be to open an ‘international account’, many of these are opened in the Isle of Man and you can register a foreign address on these and you would be dealing in sterling.

Yes it does stop the need for an annual renewal. You should also receive a written confirmation from your last council in the UK. I received mine soon after having registered. One of the next progressive steps will be the ability to vote directly on line. Still we have got rid a lot of the ridiculous paper chase which has been putting a lot of people off from registering to vote.

Just done it (I'm registered already and it seems to cater for that perfectly well). If it stops the stupid annual renewal by post that would be good.

Just done it (I'm registered already and it seems to cater for that prefectly well). If it stops the stupid annual renewal by post that would be good.

Does anyone know WHY this change?

In general I understand that banks have more money than they know what to do with, but it does seem stupidly short term to actively exclude expats.


If you do really mean a cheque then of course, but your pension provider can transfer money electronically to your overseas bank, so there should be no problem.


Hi Paul

I cannoy speak fpor the CI but if you are tax resident in France, then inheritance tax that becomes liable, death of parents for example, is treated by France under the taxation treaty as paid in the UK and no tax becomes liable here.


One of the downsides of keeping a bank account in the UK is the view taken by Her Majesty’s esteemed Inland Revenue which, when assessing whether, post mortem, your estate is subject to inheritance tax, looks at ties to the UK - including bank accounts.

I moved my domestic bank account to a branch in the Channel Islands which may not be ideal but it is at least part of the UK domestic clearing network. I was forced to keep my UK mainland credit card as the limit offered locally was just €2,000.

Hopefully the fact that i have no property or shares in the UK, and have been abroad for 12 years with very ocassional UK visits, will allow my corpse and assets to be treated as the property of the Republic of Portugal and be taxed as such when finally I go to ‘a better place.’

Brian and Graham, it is because of the UK's intransigence that I am very happy to stay clear. I keep an account open but simply because my daughters have trust accounts under my name until they are old enough to have their own accounts. Every penny of the child allowance went into them whilst we were there and have simply sat collecting interest since. However, I am very much aware of the double standards that operate. My brother-in-law who is Algerian but resident in Switzerland has never lived in the UK but has traded particular technical instruments between the UK and his home country for several decades. He apparently went to a bank with somebody from the medical instruments company he did business with and was given an account there and then. Although he has been ill for several months, normally he has several hundred thousand pounds going through the account for his clients, it is not strictly his money. That a UK citizen cannot open an account against passport and other identifying documentation is outrageous. I certainly have had accounts in other countries without a permanent address. The UK is as susceptible to money laundering as anywhere else but the FSA bandies that about to justify not allowing the freedom of movement of services with the EEA alone, which it should be and not just the EU.

The electoral disparities are equally outrageous. There have been repeated motions in the European Parliament to create some kind of standard. The choice (the one I prefer) to vote in the country of residence gets nowhere which is utterly absurd. I vote in communal and European elections here but the national elections which are between the two are still denied. I do not live in the UK, have increasingly tenuous connections and feel that since I am not contributing to the UK in any sense that I have no reason to vote. I have been in contact with an MSP in Holyrood who has the issue in hand if the independence referendum works but has told me he will pursue it anyway if not. He was willing to say he would campaign for EU citizens having a vote in Scotland if they are allowed to join the EU and then use that as a platform for campaigning for a reciprocal agreement. Try, however, to get anybody in Westminster to even reply to a request for raising the issue in parliament.

So yes, the UK needs to show concern for citizens throughout the EU but that must include some kind of active role in giving them a choice.It should also go both ways and open up franchise to EU citizens living there. If one reads through all of the objectives of the EU, starting with the 1957 Treaty of Rome until the present, then it absolutely belongs within them.

Further to Brian´s mail I recently undertook a project to see what the voting rights/representation was for the overseas citizens of all 28 EU member states. I was quite amazed to find out that Croatia has seats reserved in their own Parliament to represent their overseas citizens:-

1. Countries that eventually disenfranchise their overseas citizens thus having no political representation
Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Malta, Slovakia & UK
2. Countries whose overseas citizens do have direct representation in their own respective parliaments
Croatia, France, Italy & Portugal
3. Countries whose overseas citizens do not have direct representation in their own respective parliaments but do retain perpetual voting rights
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain & Sweden
Quite obviously this is at the highest level and each country has its own procedures on what their citizens have to do to register to vote. However there was recently a big breakthrough in the UK when the Electoral Commission recently introduced a system whereby people can now register directly online to vote; This is a big step forward and I can personally confirm that it does work and only takes five minutes and once done you will not have to register again provided you are still within the 15 year cut off period. You only have to register again if you move. As a matter of priority we need to show that there are enough expat Brits now living abroad who wish to vote and have a direct interest and say in the UK Parliament and the decisions that they are making that effect all of us which are flagged up on a very regular basis on this site.

Coming late into this thread, I offer to the readers the following views and information.

The operation of the EU is based firmly on four freedoms of movement,

People, goods, services and capital.

The fact is that between the other States of the EU and the UK the free movement of services does not happen. The fault lies squarely with the UK and its imposed advisory regulations which are contrary to the spirit of the operation of the EU.

Firstly -- My friend Graham Richards (in his comment above) is absolutely right – no-one should surrender any financial arrangements established in the UK before emigrating to other EU States (bank accounts – savings accounts- investments). Anyone considering emigration should ensure that they have perhaps opened more than one before leaving.

The UK government via Financial Services Authority [FSA] (now replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority and other regulatory bodies) has prevented or advised the finance houses not to open any accounts for anyone non-resident in the UK.

Less than ten years ago there was no problem. One could invest in the UK from France etc. About ten years ago I helped a friend invest in a certain finance house in the UK using his French address. Today it is not possible. The freedom of movement of services has been impeded.

Even today one can open a bank account in France and not be resident in France. You can have a ‘non-resident account’.

I speak from experience – My daughter (in her forties) moved here and came into a small inheritance. She wished to invest in bonds in a UK finance house, with which I was very familiar over very many years. That finance house refused because of the ‘advice’ given via FSA as above and blamed the ‘EU regulations’.

I knew that the EU accusation was false.

I contacted the EU Citizens Advice service (address as follows)… and had several exchanges with that body.

European Citizens Advice Service.

You also can contact this body -

Their advice to me was that the UK finance house was mistaken. EU law permits and indeed encourages ‘free movement of services’. Unfortunately a bank is not compelled by law to open an account for a prospective client. It can choose. But the UK FSA etc surely should not lead the banks into avoiding the non-resident client. Many of us need onshore accounts in sterling and should be able to select where to deposit one’s savings. There should be lively competition.

I fear that the finance house did not back down, frightened by the ‘authority’ of the UK government. Eventually a solution was found, but it was by no means straightforward.

This obstruction of the UK to ‘freedom of movement of services’ needs to be removed.

How does one get changes effected? It has to be through political change.

How does one get political change? By having a politician speak up for you!

How do you get a politician to speak up for you? By having one for whom you vote.

That is why we need directly elected MPs and also MEPs for the interest of the British expatriates in the EU

It is necessary that a very great clamour comes from the British expatriate for this political representation.

Sign up here for some change

Somehow the Ya-Boo political system of Britain must be changed.

Somehow the political system in the UK must show a concern for British Citizens throughout the EU.

To Peter Scawen:

have a look at Graham Richard's site on

he is instrumental in fighting all unfairness to us expats.

Well something went wrong with me then! Because I never got any of that! I had to FAX Montpellier for transfers to my UK HSBC account. How very very odd... :-/

For what it's worth, I can evidence this - I still have a pile of faxes on file, hard copies with SENT and date scrawled across them for my reference - that I had to send every time I needed to move money between the UK and France. Amazing! How on Earth did they screw it up so bad for me then??

In fact (sorry, edit two - I'm just flabbergasted we used the same bank, the same branch AT THE SAME TIME and had such utterly different experiences!) I also remember it was a right old faff, because the fax machine at the Montpellier branch of HSBC would only accept faxes from machines correctly declaring their network ID, or something like that - some anti fax fraud thing (yes, in 2010) so I had no end of fiddling about to do with my fax machine just to be able to send a fax to them at all!

And all the time they had some international portal? Were you some kind of premium customer, perhaps? Just wondering...

Or the world from the UK ;-)