The significance of a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka for Sri Lankan students is that it makes it a lot easier to provide the required financial documentation when applying for a UK student visa, such as proof of tuition fees and living expenses. It can greatly reduce the time required to process visas. A UK-approved bank account allows you to swiftly and easily provide this evidence. The UK government has recognised certain banks in Sri Lanka, and these banks ensure that you have a smooth visa application process and satisfy UK visa immigration’s financial requirements.

Table of Contents

What Makes a Bank in Sri Lanka Accepted by the UK?

The UKVI-approved bank in Sri Lanka must have met UKVI’s rigorous quality standards and financial requirements, ensuring that they offer a safe, secure, and dependable service to UK visa applicants in Sri Lanka. Even after approval, UKVI will continue to monitor approved banks to ensure that they continue to meet quality standards.

Listed below are the qualities of an ideal UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka:

1. Recognition by the UK visa and immigration

The UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) officially recognises the Sri Lankan bank list for UK student visas. It is crucial to confirm the most recent list that the UKVI has set because this recognition is subject to periodic updates.

2. International banking standard

The UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka must comply with the rules and standards of international banking. This makes sure that your financial documents are clear and meet the rigorous standards set by UK Immigration.

3. Stable exchange rates

All of your financial documents, including tuition and living expenses statements, must be in British Pounds (GBP).  You wouldn’t want to be short a few or more pounds so select a bank with a transparent and consistent exchange rate.

4. Accessibility and convenience

Selecting a bank with a user-friendly online platform for easy transactions and account administration is advantageous. Additionally, having local branches or partner banks in the United Kingdom can make financial transactions more efficient.

5. Experience with UK student visas

Certain banks have experience with UK student visas in particular. They may provide personalised services and assistance to make the financial aspects of your studies more manageable.

6. Active customer service

Active customer service is essential, particularly when conducting international transactions. A UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka should provide responsive customer service in the event of any issues or questions.

7. Documentation and certification

The bank must provide UK-approved bank documentation in Sri Lanka. This includes financial statements showing your financial state and the availability of funds for your studies and stay in the United Kingdom.

Why Do Sri Lankan Students Need a UK-Approved Bank?

There are two main benefits of UK-approved banks for Sri Lankan students:

1. Avoiding currency exchange rate

One of the reasons why Sri Lankan students need a UK-approved bank is to avoid the stress of currency exchange. A UK-approved bank has a regular exchange rate they use thereby making financial transactions fast and easy.

2. Easy Visa Application process

When you submit your visa application through a UK-approved bank, you will have a smooth and faster visa application process. Sri Lankan bank lists for UK student visas are familiar with visa rules and regulations, allowing you to submit your application more efficiently and with little or no challenges.

3. Lower chance of Documentation Errors

Some documents are required to register for a UK visa. While doing so, using a UK-approved bank can help lower the chance of documentation errors due to the bank’s experience with visa application processing. Additionally, they can ensure that all required documents are put together and submitted correctly.

4. Available student services

Student services at many UK universities are tailored to students having bank accounts that meet UK regulations. Some examples of this are lower fees for specific transactions, exclusive deals, and individualised recommendations for student budgeting. An approved student bank account from the UK’s financial regulators is a must for using these facilities.

In general, using a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka is crucial for credibility because it ensures that your financial information is accurate and genuine. Additionally, students get to enjoy several benefits.  Before submitting your UK student visa application, you should always verify the Sri Lankan bank list for UK student visas to avoid delays or denials.

Recognized UK-Approved Banks in Sri Lanka

The following is a list of Sri Lanka’s top UK-approved banks for student visas:

List of uk-approved bank in sri lanka
  1. Bank of China Ltd
  2. Sampath Bank PLC
  3. Cargills Bank Ltd 
  4. Indian Overseas Bank
  5. Amana Bank PLC
  6. Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC
  7. Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC
  8. Habib Bank Ltd
  9. Hatton National Bank PLC
  10. National Development Bank PLC
  11. The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd (HSBC)
  12. Deutsche Bank AG, Colombo Branch
  13. People’s Bank
  14. MCB Bank Ltd
  15. Public Bank Berhad
  16. DFCC Bank PLC
  17. Nations Trust Bank PLC
  18. Citibank, N.A.
  19. Standard Chartered Bank 
  20. Union Bank of Colombo PLC
  21. Bank of Ceylon
  22. State Bank of India
  23. Indian Bank
  24. Seylan Bank PLC

Services Offered by UK-Approved Banks to Sri Lankan Students

Usually, UKVI-approved banks provide several services to meet the needs of Sri Lankan students. These services include:

1. Student account

Opening a student account with a UKVI-approved bank in Sri Lanka is one of the requirements for obtaining a UK student visa. This bank account was set up so that Sri Lankan students who want to study in the UK can meet their special financial needs.

2. Currency conversion and money transfer

Students in Sri Lanka can easily, safely, and consistently handle their finances as long as they use a UK-approved bank, no matter where they are. These banks have been approved by the UK visa and immigration and offer competitive currency conversion rates and low-cost money transfers to Sri Lankan students.

3. Specialised student support

Banks in Sri Lanka that are approved by the UK visa and immigration can help Sri Lankan students better handle their finances by giving them financial guidance and specialised student support. In addition to personalised guidance in several languages, they offer help with planning and spending.

Can You Open an Account with a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka Before Departure?

Yes, you can open an account with a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka before departure but it may be challenging. This is because most UK-approved banks usually require applicants to be present for identity verification. On the other hand, some banks provide specialised services like online account opening. 

Here are some pre-departure banking options:

1. International banking services

Inquire whether the UK-approved bank in question offers international banking services. Some banks offer special account options for individuals residing abroad, and some may also offer remote account openings.

2. Online account opening

Verify if the bank offers services that include opening a bank account online. Some banks have simplified procedures that enable online submission of required documents and identity verification. Nevertheless, these services may differ between banks.

3. Contact the bank

Contact the customer service of the UK-approved bank of your choice and Inquire about their account opening policies for individuals residing outside the United Kingdom.

4. Offshore banking

Inquire about offshore banking. There are branches or subsidiaries of some international banks that serve customers outside of their home country. Offshore accounts may have certain rules, but they could be a way to do your banking before you leave.

5. Local branches or partnerships

Look into any partnerships or presence the UK-approved bank may have with Sri Lankan banks. In certain circumstances, you might be able to begin the Sri Lankan account opening process in a nearby branch.

Special Features in Student Accounts Provided by UK-Approved Banks

UK-approved banks often offer extra features and benefits that are just for student accounts. These features are meant to draw students and help them manage their money while they’re studying. 

Different banks may offer different things, but here are some common extras that come with student accounts:

1. Low or zero monthly  fees

Monthly service charges are frequently lowered or eliminated for student accounts. This is helpful because students don’t have to worry about the regular costs associated with maintaining a student checking account.

2. Free-interest overdraft

Some banks offer overdrafts without interest, allowing students to borrow money without paying interest fees. This feature is more enjoyable during times of unforeseen expenses or when awaiting funds.

3. Mobile banking  apps

Common mobile banking applications include balance monitoring, transaction history, and bill payment. Some banks may also provide budgeting tools to help students effectively manage their finances.

4. Bank notification and alert

Banks may offer alerts and notifications that can be personalised to keep students informed of their account activity. This can include alerts for insufficient balances and transaction notifications, among others.

5. Opportunities for investments and savings

Particular banks may provide opportunities for students to begin saving or investing, encouraging them to develop long-term financial habits.

6. Flexible account opening

Frequently, student accounts come with flexible access options, allowing students to operate their accounts in branches, online, and via mobile applications.

7. Discounts and benefits

Particular banks offer student account holders discounts and benefits. These may include discounts on purchasing, entertainment, and travel, as well as exclusive offers from business partners.

How to Choose the Right UK Approved Bank in Sri Lanka

UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) will only accept proof of funds from a few banks in Sri Lanka. The list changes constantly, so please check the most recent list of UK-approved banks before depositing your funds.

Below are guidelines for selecting a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka:

1. Verify that your chosen bank is UK-approved.

2. Use a bank that has multiple branches across Sri Lanka.

3. Verify your chosen bank has an online banking option that allows you to transact fast and. with ease.

4. Confirm the transaction fee for a student account at your chosen bank.

5. Verify the bank has a competitive exchange rate.

6. Seek a bank that provides offers like interest and discounts.

7. Verify if the banks’ terms and condition over-draft is favourable.

Documentation Required to Open a Student Account with UK Authorised Bank in Sri Lanka

Students are required to provide certain UK-approved bank documentation in Sri Lanka to open a student account. Depending on the Sri Lankan student’s choice of UK-approved bank, the required documentation may differ. You need to verify the documentation with the UK-approved bank you have chosen. 

Below are the UK-approved bank documentation in Sri Lanka:

1. A means of identification

You are required to provide a means of identification such as a national identification card (NIN), driver’s licence, international passport, and voter’s card.

2. Address

Your residential address will also be needed to open a student account. You can provide either a utility bill, a bank statement, or a letter from your previous institution confirming your residential address.

3. Evidence of studentship

To prove your studentship status, you need to provide documents such as your student identification card, confirmation of acceptance of study (CAS) and a letter of enrollment from your institution.

4. Proof of funds

UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) expects you to have enough money to pay for education, living costs, and other costs in the UK. You have to show proof of your income such as your salary or guardian’s salary. Also, these funds have to stay in your bank account for 28 to 31 days. Bank statements, letters from sponsors, scholarship confirmations, or cash guarantees are all examples.

5. UK student visa documents

You are expected to submit your UK visa registration form as part of the requirements to open a student account in Sri Lanka.

6. A recommendation letter

A recommendation letter from your teacher or mentor from your previous institution is required to open a student account in Sri Lanka. This letter emphasises your personal qualities and work ethic. 

7. Bank application form

Fill out the bank application form with the most accurate and updated information to avoid issues creating your student bank account.

8. Passport photograph

You will provide your most recent passport photograph and as many as the bank requires.

9. Initial deposit

Depending on the bank you have chosen, you might be required to pay an initial deposit to open a student bank account.


A crucial first step in obtaining a student visa to study in the UK is selecting a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka. Considerations such as international banking services, account opening procedures, student-specific features, internet accessibility, costs, and customer service should all be made to make sure your banking experience as a student fulfils your demands. You need to do research and inquire from banks to make a well-informed choice. This will make sure that you have a stress-free and easy financial experience while studying in the UK.


What is the significance of a UK-approved bank for Sri Lankan students?

Using a UK-approved bank automatically helps you provide the required proof of funds (POF) which allows you to have a fast and easy visa process.

How can I identify a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka?

You can identify a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka by finding out about different banks and comparing their services, account types, customer service, and ability to give you the documents required for your student visa application. Additionally, verify the bank on the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s official website.

What services can I expect from UK-approved banks in Sri Lanka as a student?

You can expect services such as student account opening, currency conversion, and specialised student support among many others from a UK-approved bank in Sri Lanka.

Can I use my existing bank account for my student visa application, or is a UK-approved bank mandatory?

Yes, you can but only if you have enough funds to take care of your tuition fees and living expenses in the UK. Additionally, the funds must be in your account for about 28 days or more.

What financial requirements should I be aware of when opening a UK-approved bank account as a Sri Lankan student?

You should be aware of financial documents like;
1. A means of identification (national ID, driver’s licence and voter card)
2. Proof of address
3. Student ID
4. Proof of funds
5. Visa documents
6. Reference letter
7. Bank application form
8. Passport photograph