Opening UK bank account while resident in France

Hi Steve,

Yes, the "bank establishment" can, but the staff who are tasked with doing the checks are not given general access to the tools that enable them to do that - at least, that is what transpired from my dealings with HSBC - the poor woman advisor I dealt with had to book a special phone line in advance that allowed her to place calls outside of the UK just to be able to ring me...

In March this year I opened an investment account (not with a bank) which involved a phone call; I asked the bloke and he said that nowadays they can do a credit and identity check in France as easily as in the UK except it costs them an extra fiver (ish).

I have recently managed to open a business account with HSBC in Scotland after a long uphill struggle to get anywhere, but this did involve me having to see the business account manager in person and providing a mass of documentation to prove who I was. I've not had an account in the UK for 25 years, and met with refusals from most of the banks because they can not check your credit rating if you have no ties to the UK. Most banks are therefore loathe to provide any services to non-UK residents, despite David Cameron's assurances that the UK is an attractive venue to set up business! Oh, btw, Barclay's did offer to open an offshore account for me, but that meant keeping at least 10K in it at all times and having to pay the expensive offshore banking fees plus 250 GBP opening fee - I think not!


have had a carte vitale since 2001, a mutuelle also, both I and my late wife have had operations and treatments here at next to no cost. Have always declared every penny of income to Jersey tax dept and payed when asked. now my income from pensions and interest seems to be below the threshold and payed nothing last just about to send in return for 2013( tax is payed a year in arrears in Jersey) and hopefully won't have to pay this year

Hi Keith

Your problem is that you were apparently wrongly advised that there was no requirement. My neighbour who also managed not to pay any taxes, then found he wanted to use the Health system and was refused unless he paid the full cost, so now has to go to the UK for "free" medical treatment (cancer)

Having said that, when I first arrived in France, 1999, I was told that I did not need to declare interest on my various bank accounts, but the amounts were very small. Since then of course the world has changed with Money Laundering regulations, the European Savings Directive (ESD) and etc. In theory your bank in Jersey should be telling, is legally required, the Impots of your existence. If they ever catch up with you, you have no defence hence my counsel to be careful.

But what you do for the best in practice I have no idea.

Keep a low profile.


as you have definitely done it yourself Steve - I may try them. I will hope - but I remain as yet opined that it is not possible without deception.



Since I haven't been out of France since I arrived from Jersey in 2001 this might be good time to leave then.

Got ours today as it happens and now to scrape together what we can...

The Clydesdale (= Yorkshire) was my suggestion, and I definitely opened a savings account with them with a French address, no deceptions of any sort involved. In fact my OH did so only a month ago.

I've just had a look at their T&Cs, which mentions If you are resident abroad then you can register for gross tax. page

If you want just to get it done then try again doing as much as you can online, rather than invite knownothing to say no. Just send them the ID documents and wait for them to argue, and if they do point out the the T&Cs don't have any bar.

It must be a a nightmare. I've just tried tweeting the British Bastard Bankers Association, I expect I'll get greasy slime back but let's see. An MEP might be useful.

Agree with Peter on this one, Kieth, can't understand why you were told that. Do you spend more than 183 days living outside France? Don't you receive your impôts form to fill out - it's that time of year :-(

Visited the Impots in Loudeac upon arrival and gave them details, they said was not necessary , also visited impots in Ploermel and they said the same thing

Keith If you are resident in France, you are required to declare all your world wide income in France and pay tax here. Not a matter of debate or discussion as that is the law. Should the French authorities find out about your status, you run the risk of being required to pay back taxes for the last 14 years, plus a 100% fine, plus .

Hi J C-H,

As all my pensions arise from UK and Jersey I am am not registered as a French taxpayer and submit my tax returns to Jersey, and pay any tax due to Jersey

Peter, we have been campaigning for winter fuel allowance and against other UK government proposals for us on here. Go looking, perhaps use the search function and hit pot luck. Here is one link for starters:


I'm not sure whether this is true or not, but I've heard that the French tax authorities don't like expats having offshore accounts - although it seems the said authorities are more lenient with French nationals ;-)

As stated earlier, I have been a French resident since 2001, when my wife died the only GBP a/c was in her name at Barclays Jersey.

Was then told the widowers benefit from Jersey was only payable in GBP and this was costing me at least 10% to pay into my French accounts.

Did some research and succeeded in opening a GBP a/c with Co-op Guernsey. They then decided to close the branch and I was back to square one.

Then approached Barclays and they eventually agreed to open me an a/c in I.O.M, the condition was that I kept a minimum of £5K in the a.c. This is working well and receives my monthly pension from Jersey without penalty

Hi all Been away but somebody suggested we try the Clydesdale Bank. We did and it said no cos we live in France and the usual nonsense about Money Laundering. When we asked, well presumably when Scotland becomes independent, you will stop all English (Welsh, etc) from using your bank then, there was a stunned silence like nobody had thought about that possibility.

Just so you know, I am pursuing a claim against a UK bank for refusing us to use their Internet savings account via FOS, who I might add a complete waste of space. We have already tried the FCA through a board level contact, though to no effect.

I note the comment about Barclay card in other discussion forum, though we have not been affected so far but we do use them on a regular basis.

First a question:

Has anyone been successful at opening a bank account in the UK whilst living in France and without a UK address or accommodation address?

Next a point:

This is an ongoing issue, that is the way that ex-pats are treated by both the Government, Winter Fuel and the Finance Industry in general.

We are all affected but together we can try and challenge this process. Is anyone interested in joining me in putting in some energy to confronting this behaviour? If yes, let me know but if not then may I suggest that you do not complain as it gets worse.

Peter S

Note to James H. Can we have a spell checker that speaks English and not American please?

Brilliant info Alwyn, this sounds really useful. :-)

Slightly different circumstances but worth relating.

I have been a French resident for 12 years. In 2012 I was appointed by the Court of Protection in the UK to look after my aunt's financial affairs as she is incapable and I am her nearest relative and a retired chartered accountant. Auntie is in a nursing home in the UK and has senile dementia. I managed, on the phone, to set up a bank account in her name, using just my French address as I don't have property in the UK or a valid UK address any longer. This account, although in her sole name, operates on my signature only with a UK cheque book as normal. Her pensions are paid direct into the account and pension providers too have only my French address. That statement applies to UK State pension payments as well as private ones.

The account I set up, called a 'First Account', is with First Direct in Leeds, a subsidiary of HSBC. A lot of paperwork followed the phone call but it's all worked fine now for two years. Statements and cheque books come direct to me in France, the bank do not have the address of my aunt's UK care home.

Worth talking to First Direct. Telephone 0044 113 2345678. I have found them extremely helpful.

I also in 2013 opened Savings Accounts with First Direct in Leeds over the phone. Again in my aunt's name and using only my French address and with me as sole signatory .No problems to date.

Alwyn Jackson

My daughter in Dubai has had her bank account for 16 years, when she moved to Dubai she advised them, but informed them that her parents had an address in the UK and she would use that for any letters from them etc. that didnt cause any problems. Her bank are well aware she works in Dubai as she transfers a lump of her salary every month from her Emirates bank.