Opening a bank account

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Using a bank account is the safest and most effective way of managing your money and making or receiving payments, so you should definitely open a bank account once you arrive in the UK.

You'll need the following documents:

  • Proof of your identity (such as your passport or EU identity card)
  • If you're from outside the EU, your student visa in your passport or Biometric Residence Permit card
  • A letter confirming you're a registered student
  • Your University of Portsmouth student ID card

Most banks require International and EU students to show a bank letter from our Global Office before they will open an account for you.

Requesting a bank letter

Once you've chosen a bank to join, you can request your bank letter from us, by following the relevant link below. You'll need to be registered as a student first, before we can issue a letter to you.

Santander will open a bank account for you without a University letter, but you may have to pay a fee.

Your letter will be ready to collect from the Global Office at 10am on the next working day after you submit your request. Make sure you bring your passport and student card as proof of your identity.


If you're here for less than 6 months, or if you're on an exchange trip, you will only be able to open an account with HSBC, Barclays or Santander. If you're a pre-sessional English student, you can request your bank letter from the pre-sessional English team.

If you're a visiting scholar, please email us at to request a letter.