Bank account closed or refused based on immigration status

Bank Account Immigration Status

On 30 October 2017, the Home Office published a guidance on what to do if your application for an account is declined or if your account is closing because you are in the UK illegally.

Bank Account Refusal

Banks and building societies are required to carry out immigration status checks on people applying for current accounts.

Under the Immigration Act 2014 they must refuse your application for a new current account (or an application to add you as a signatory or identified beneficiary to a new or existing current account) if you are a disqualified person.

You may be disqualified if you are in the UK and need leave to enter or remain (under the Immigration Act 1971) and don’t have leave to be here. This could be because you:

  • never had leave to enter or remain (because you entered the UK illegally)
  • had leave but stayed after it expired or was revoked
  • are an European Economic Area (EEA) national subject to deportation action who has exhausted all rights of appeal

Banks and building societies are not permitted to open or provide access to current accounts for you, under section 40 of the Immigration Act 2014. For the purposes of this document, “access” includes being added as a signatory or an identified beneficiary to a new or existing current account.

Bank Account Closure

Banks and building societies are required to carry out immigration status checks on people who hold current accounts. If you are identified as being disqualified from holding an account, then, under the Immigration Act 2014 the bank or building society must close your accounts (or restrict access where you are a signatory or identified beneficiary, or the account is jointly held with a non-disqualified person).

This is may happen if you are present in the United Kingdom without leave to enter or remain and the Secretary of State for the Home Department considers you should not be provided with access to banking services.

The Secretary of State can notify your bank or building society that it is under an obligation to close an account operated by or for you in accordance with section 40G of the Immigration Act 2014 (as amended by the Immigration Act 2016). For these purposes, an account is operated by or for you if you are the account holder or a signatory or identified as a beneficiary in relation to the account.

If you are not the only account holder If you hold this account with another person who is lawfully present in the UK, your bank or building society may have taken steps to prevent you from operating the account, instead of closing it. The Immigration Act 2014 does not prevent banks and building societies from providing banking services to individuals who are lawfully present in the UK. Other account holders should contact the bank or building society directly to discuss their situation.

The Home Office has the power under the Immigration Act 2014 to apply for a freezing order in relation to current accounts for disqualified persons.

Complaints & Queries

If a bank or building society refuses your application for a current account or closes your current account under the Immigration Act 2014, you must be notified of the particular reasons.

If you believe there has been a mistake, the Home Office suggests contacting the Complaints Allocation Hub the Home Office with evidence of your lawful immigration status. If you have a right to be in the UK, the Home Office will change your details so you can re-apply to open a current account or re-open your existing account.

Complaints Allocation Hub 
UK Visas and Immigration
20 Wellesley Road
7th Floor
Lunar House


Phone: 0300 123 2241

Alternatively, general correspondence can be submitted to:

Direct Communications
Unit Home Office
2 Marsham Street

Legal Assistance

If you need assistance with confirmation of your immigration status or have experienced any issues with your bank accounts, Sterling & Law Associates LLP will be able to provide full representations.

Please contact us by e-mail or phone: 020 7822 8535.

Appointments with our immigration advisers can be also booked online.