Opening a bank account – information for staff relocating from overseas

It is a requirement for all staff to have a UK bank account, for payment of their monthly salary.  We recommend that you make an appointment with your chosen bank as soon as possible upon your arrival in St Andrews, as the Salaries team require this information prior to the middle of the month to enable your first months’ salary to be processed the same calendar month.  Please refer to the Salaries section of the University website for a list of cut-off dates for each month:

Some banks may take longer than others to open a bank account, and you are likely to be given an appointment for several days after your initial enquiry.  The University is working closely with the banks to try to make the system as seamless as possible, but please be prepared to exercise a little patience and shop around where necessary.

Most banks will issue a basic account in the first instance.  You may, however, be able to increase the services on offer after a trial period – each institution will be able to provide you with their own guidelines with respect to this.  A basic bank account will enable you to access cash via a cash machine and set up direct debits / standing orders.

We recommend choosing a bank with local branches, which can often be more convenient for certain transactions, e.g. transferring funds.

There are seven banks with branches in St Andrews:

All banks are required to check the identity of anyone opening a bank account as part of the Government strategy to combat organised crime with anti-fraud legislation.  This involves rigorous checks for all individuals who wish to open bank accounts, and may therefore delay the opening of an account.  As such, please allow sufficient time to ensure you are able to return your completed bank information to Salaries ahead of cut-off.

Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be asked to provide a letter from the University to verify your term of employment.  To request this, please email your recruitment contact, providing a note of your date of birth, current local address and former international address.

Opening a bank account – the process

  1. Present your documentation to the member of staff in the bank who will assist you in completing the appropriate application form
  2. On approval of your application, your bank account number will be allocated within 1-2 working days.  Only at this point will the bank be able to start processing deposits/withdrawals
  3. Within 5-10 working days, you should receive your bank card.  This is normally sent to your local address, or you can arrange to collect this from the branch.  Once you have your card, you can then make deposits and withdrawals in other branches.  Prior to receiving your card, you will be able to complete transactions at the branch where you opened your account using your passport
  4. Within another 5 working days, you should receive your security number (PIN).  This too is normally mailed to your local address.  Once you have your PIN, you will be able to complete transactions using cash machines around the UK, and through chip and pin devices in many shops and restaurants

Bringing money into the UK

Some countries restrict the amount of cash that you can take out of your home country; please check if your country has such a restriction.  In any event, it is recommended, for security purposes, that you only bring a small amount of cash with you.  Bringing travellers’ cheques with you is a far safer way of carrying money.  Please do not bring a cheque drawn on an overseas bank as this can take up to 6-8 weeks for the funds to become available in your UK bank account.  If you do wish to bring this type of cheque, please note the timeline before you can access these funds, and you should bring enough funds by alternative means, like travellers’ cheques, to cover this length of time.