Planning to Work in the UK
If you live overseas and are planning to move to the UK for work and want a plan ahead and open a UK bank account and apply for a National Insurance Number, you may find it difficult and consider applying for a mail forwarding or virtual address.
For bank purposes they may class you as still as being overseas. It is increasingly difficult to open a bank account if you are based overseas and may require you to come to the UK and meet with the bank face to face. To open a UK bank account, you would need to provide proof of your UK address (such as a utility bill) and residency in the UK, using a virtual address does not provide you with such proof.
Each bank has slightly different rules, but most quote Money Laundering Regulations as to why they need proof of your identity and address and a face to face meeting. This also applies to UK nationals when opening a UK bank account. We would recommend contacting them regarding their rules.
National Insurance Numbers are also only given out to people who are in the UK, we would suggest only applying for one once you are in the UK, as job centres can now insist on an evidence of identity interview at your local job centre. You can still work whilst applying for a NI number, but it can be a hassle for employers and you may find yourself paying extra tax until your NI has been issued.
Having a virtual address is not a “backdoor” way of claiming residency
to get a bank account and NI number, as the checks in place now can be rigorous and there may be potential penalties if proven to have supplied false information regarding residency etc.
How a Mail Forwarding Address can help…
If you are planning on moving to the UK, you may find that you spend the first few months with friends etc. and you move house a number of times until you are settled and secured work. Moving around can cause problems for banks and HMRC as they try to keep a track of your movements and your application paperwork. Plus you have to rely on the people at your previous address to forward your mail. By using a virtual address
you can have a stable long term address which will forward your mail to you, or you can collect in person from one location.
We would recommend contacting the banks directly and contact the National Insurance number application line
Telephone: 0345 600 0643 for advice.