Can I Keep My UK Bank Account if I Move Abroad?

Find Out What to Do with Your UK Bank Account if You Move Abroad

uk bank account moving abroad

Do I Need to Close My Bank Account if I Leave the Country UK?

uk bank account moving abroad

Moving abroad and seeing all your plans turn into reality can be one of the most exciting times of your life. When starting your new life abroad, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything else – and that includes your UK bank account.

When we travel abroad, we wouldn’t think of opening an international or local bank account. All too often, expats take the same approach to their bank accounts when moving abroad.

It’s only when they start to withdraw money in the local currency or receive money from abroad that they realise how costly these transactions can be, whether through international fees or currency conversions.

Many expats also have the misconception that because their bank is international, such as Barclays or Santander, they won’t have a problem with keeping the same bank account abroad. However, while the banking world is globalised, it offers very few advantages to people living overseas.

So, if you’re planning on or already have moved abroad, there are a number of options available to you when it comes to banking as an expat. Whether, as an expat, you can keep your UK bank account open or not will depend on:

  • – Which provider you bank with
  • – How long you have banked with them
  • – What type of bank account you have
  • – Whether you still have a UK address

Continue reading to find out whether you can keep your UK bank account if you move abroad.

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What Do I Do with My Bank Account When I Move Abroad?

uk bank account moving abroad

Keep your existing bank account

So, the answer to the question, “can I keep my UK bank account if I move abroad?”, is yes. Keeping your UK bank account open after moving overseas is the first option and there are a couple of reasons why you might choose to do this.

Not only will this mean you can keep your existing standing orders and direct debits, but if you return home, you will already have a bank account in place. It can be quite tricky to reopen a bank account if you’ve been away from the UK for a substantial period of time.

You should consider keeping your UK bank account open if:

  • – You’re only moving abroad for a fixed amount of time
  • – You receive funds from a UK institution e.g. a private or state pension
  • – Your sole purpose of moving abroad was to earn money to send home

However, if you do choose to keep your UK bank account open after moving abroad, you should try not to use it for daily transactions in your new country as most banks tend to charge for this.

It’s also a good idea to try and maintain a good relationship with your bank and credit card companies when moving abroad because this will likely make the process easier for everyone. Also try to familiarise yourself with the exchange rates and other fees that may be involved when transferring money to or from home.

Whatever you decide and whatever your circumstances, it’s a good idea to speak with your bank provider and let them know your plans to see what options they might have for you.

Open an international bank account

Many UK banks will also offer an international bank account which, depending on the bank, may allow you to manage foreign currency quickly and conveniently – although often alongside a monthly or annual fee.
Most UK banks will also offer online banking and telephone support to ensure you maintain easy access to your finances while living outside the UK.

This should also allow you to get paid and withdraw money without the need for currency management. You will potentially, however, still be exposed to exchange rate fluctuations and transfer fees between accounts.

Opening an international bank account will also offer peace of mind that you will be able to talk to people in your native language.

Different banks offer different complimentary international savings accounts. So, if this is a requirement for you, always include it on your checklist when choosing which bank to go with.

Open an online foreign exchange account

Some foreign exchange companies will enable you to use their personal or business online account pages as a normal bank account to send and receive payments. 

The major advantage of this approach is that you can open an account wherever you are and receive money into a local bank account even if you’re not a resident in that country. 

You will also be able to transfer money to different currencies without stacking up fees and charges as you would with banks, and you might even get access to a credit or debit card. 

Before choosing this option for banking abroad, you should check with any companies or pension providers that they will allow you to receive money into these accounts. But, in most cases, it is considered fine and a great option if your bank has unexpectedly closed your account since moving abroad. 

Open a local bank account

If you’re leaving the UK to work or for a more significant amount of time, then it is advised that you open a local bank account in your new home country. 

Expat bank account regulations can vary depending on where you’re living, but most countries will allow you to open a specific type of account. To do this, though, you will likely need to produce documents, such as your proof of ID, proof of address and citizen service number.

There are a number of benefits associated with opening a local bank account, including: 

  • – Makes rent, mortgage and bill payments easier 
  • – Helps to build a local credit rating
  • – Some organisations require payments from a local bank

Getting a Bank Account Abroad: Making Your Decision

There may not be a single correct solution for you when moving abroad, so choosing a combination of the above is very common for UK expats. 

Before making a definite decision on whether to keep your UK bank account if you move abroad, it’s important to think about your circumstances and ask yourself the following: 

  • – Is your move permanent or temporary?
  • – Will you return to the UK?
  • – Will you earn an income in a local currency, or will you continue to earn in GBP?
  • – Are you maintaining assets in the UK and abroad?
  • – Can you afford multiple bank accounts?
  • – Can you afford to wait before switching?


So, ultimately, the answer to “can I keep my UK bank account if I move abroad?”, is yes. However, it’s important not to make any snap decisions and consider all your options based on your individual circumstances. 

Also, regardless of whether you’re moving abroad or within the UK, it is essential that you remember to complete your bank change of address.


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