How to Open a Pounds Account as a Non-UK Resident

Winner Ajibola


Do you need to carry out essential transactions in Pounds, but you reside in an African country? Does the limitation of not having a BRP force you into constantly converting your local currency into Pounds before carrying out a transaction? Perhaps you just need a more accessible and stable way to receive GBP from your employers as a freelancer. What you need is a Pounds bank account.

Since most high-street banks in the UK require your resident permit or proof of accommodation before you can open an account, you’re probably looking for alternatives. Fortunately, there are still alternative ways to open a Pounds Account even when you are an African resident. 

This post will show you how to open one as a non-UK resident. We’d also look through the requirements, and some frequently asked questions we think will come in handy. 

The Challenges of Opening a Pounds Account as a Non-UK Resident

If you’ve been researching online UK bank alternatives, you may have seen online banking options like Monese and Revolut. Unfortunately, while these are more flexible options, they still require proof of residency in an EU country. And so, if you reside in Africa, you’re faced with either opening a Pounds Domiciliary account or a Grey foreign account.

You cannot process withdrawals from anywhere or open an account without a Domiciliary account referee. You’d also face high withdrawal charges and constantly have to visit a bank branch to carry out transactions. This is why having a Grey Pounds account is the best option for a non-UK resident. 

Requirements for Opening a Pounds Bank Account

While the requirements for opening an account vary for each bank, there are some consistent documents you’d have to present. 

For a Domiciliary Account, they include;

  • A completed account opening form 
  • Recent passport photographs
  • Two referee letters
  • A valid means of identity, e.g., a Passport
  • A minimum account balance (varies from bank to bank)
  • Proof of address: a utility bill in your name, showing your address in your country of residence. 

For a Grey Foreign account, all you need is a Valid ID, utility bill, internet connectivity, and a smartphone/PC. 

How to Open a Pounds Account as a Non-UK Resident or Citizen

As a non-UK resident, the best option you have is to open a foreign bank account via Grey. With a Grey foreign account, you can send, receive, swap, and transfer funds in GBP. You can open a bank account on Grey without a residence permit or referee letter.

You also don’t need to visit any branch as everything you need to set up your account is online. Here’s a step-by-step process on how to open a Pounds account via Grey;

  • Log in to your Grey account. If you don’t have an account, you can create one here.
  • On the navigation panel on your screen’s left side, click on ‘Accounts.’
  • Scroll and tap on ‘Request Virtual Account’ under the GBP account option
  • On the form displayed, fill in your address and upload a utility bill no farther than three months ago
  • Review your information and tap on ‘Finish.’

You’ll get a notification once it’s been approved or whether there’s a needed update on your application. So ensure you enter valid and accurate information to prevent any delays. 

Benefits of Opening a Grey Pounds Account

With a host of other online banks, why should you opt for a Grey foreign account? Well, asides from being able to carry out transactions whenever you like, you can also;

  • Easily open an account without a residence permit or referee letter
  • Opening an account on Grey is entirely free.
  • There’s no need to visit a physical bank branch to open an account
  • You get international bank account details, including an IBAN and routing number, which makes your bank account suitable for official purposes
  • Online customer support to help you with all your banking needs
  • Seamless withdrawals to your local account and unlimited transfers
  • Receive payments immediately you open an account - no further restrictions
  • Faster KYC and verification process so you can get started with your Pounds account almost immediately
  • Enjoy low withdrawal rates and instant currency exchange whenever you want to

FAQs on Using a Grey GBP Bank Account

  • What Countries Can Send Me Payments?

With your Grey Pounds account, you can receive funds from any country in the United Kingdom and other countries in the EEA region. This means you cannot receive payments from countries outside the EEA region. 

  • What type of currencies can I receive in my account?

Great British Pounds. So you cannot receive any other currencies into this account. 

  • What supported payment types can I receive with a Grey Pounds Account?

Your Grey foreign account is addressable in Faster Payments (FPS), Bacs, and CHAPS. Unfortunately, you cannot receive SWIFT and WIRE transfers to your GBP Grey account. 

Next Steps

Opening a Pounds account as a Non-UK resident doesn’t have to be difficult anymore. Start by downloading the Grey mobile app from the comfort of your home via Playstore or the iOS App Store and get your UK foreign account to start a transaction. 

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