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Organising your finances

Opening a bank account

It is advisable to open a bank or building society account and deposit your money as soon as possible after arrival in the UK. UK law requires banks to carry out identity verification and background checks on new customers opening bank accounts. As a result, it can take up to two weeks before a new bank account can be opened. It is therefore important to have access to funds during this time, eg, through your home country credit, debit cards and travellers checks.

Before you leave your home country, talk to your bank to find out if they have any links with banks in the UK.  Major banks, such as HSBC, NatWest and Santander provide global services which may enable you to open a UK bank account before arriving in the UK.  At BU, on Talbot Campus there is a Santander bank.

To open a bank account in the UK, make an appointment with your preferred bank as soon as you arrive. The bank will tell you which documentation they will require you to bring to the appointment. 

It is likely that your bank will ask you to provide the following documents:

  • your passport (or national ID card etc) - to prove your identity, nationality and right to work and / or live in the UK
  • proof of employment (for example, your employment contract)
  • evidence of your UK address (for example, your tenancy agreement or a utility bill with your address on it)

Once you have opened your account, you will need to complete the Payroll form included in your offer pack and return this to Human Resources.  Your salary will be transferred into this account on the last working day of each month.  Please note if you are a Tier 2 visa holder this account must be in your name.

National Insurance Number

All working individuals in the UK aged 16 and over and below the state pension age, and earning above a certain threshold amount (set by the government) need to pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs). NICs are collected by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) through the University’s Payroll system and go towards state benefits, such as the National Health Service (NHS) and the state pension.

An employee from overseas, coming to work in the UK will have to obtain a National Insurance (NI) number and immediately start paying NICs in the UK on the same basis as people who normally live and work here. A NI number is a unique identifier (issued by the HMRC) that enables the HMRC to track the payments made for NICs for all individuals. All employees of the University must obtain a NI number and notify Human Resources as soon as they have it, so that Payroll can be informed.

You can apply for a NI number once you are in the UK and must provide this to Human Resources.  Details on how to apply can be found on the government’s website.

Special rules may apply for employees coming from the European Economic Area (EEA), or those countries with which the UK has reciprocal agreements, and further details can be found on the HRMC website.