How Do You Get a Bank Account in This Country??

I’ve been having a difficult time proving my existence lately. Two major banks refused to accept me because I don’t have a lease or any bills in my name to prove my address—and haven’t had such proof in years! HSBC finally offered me a no-frills “passport account” for foreigners, which costs $150 a year—no wonder immigrants hide their money in a shoebox! I signed up for it, but plan to cancel before my two-week trial (after which I would be accountable for the $150). Renters here have to pay property tax, called council tax, and my roommate officially registered me with their office so now I can use that to get a free, normal bank account.


On Monday, I have an interview to register for my National Insurance number, like a Social Security number. To obtain this, I need to prove that I’m allowed to be here and that I’m searching for work, and I can’t work without this number because they use it to take taxes out of your paycheck. I know everything I’ve done to get here is legitimate, but I always get nervous when it comes to bureaucracy and immigration issues.