How to open a bank account

FNB is the only bank that will open accounts for refugees and asylum seekers.

You will need valid documents either section 22 asylum seeker permit or section 24 refugee status, and proof of residence.

You will not be able to open the account on the same day. The bank will verify your documents with the Department Of Home Affairs and then they will contact you once your papers have been verified.

It can sometimes take as long as a few months before you hear back from the bank.  We recommend calling or going in to the bank to check on the status of your application after about two weeks.

If a bank does not allow you to open or access your bank account because of your documentation status, please contact us.

34 responses to “How to open a bank account

      • Hello Ashton,

        Are you located in Cape Town?

        PASSOP is devoted to protecting and fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants and if you fit into this category, we may be able to help you. In order to understand your situation better, it would be best if you stop by our office in Cape Town so that you may speak with one of our paralegal advisors about your current situation. Please remember to bring all proper identification and documents with you at all times.

        We are located at:
        Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
        3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

        Office phone number: 0214182838

        Kind Regards,
        Emma Burr Nyberg
        The PASSOP Team

  1. Hi there.
    I want to open an account at FNB because i want to register my construction company and someone told me that is easy with FNB but i dont know how to and where to start because i had tried that before and the only answer i was getting was that they dont do that unless with visa. So if any one have any idea pls help am sickly need it coz as i write am jobless that will push me be someone that South Africa hate to have in their country.MY CONTACT IS: 084 709 1689 And my GMAIL ADRESS is ericyassin568@gmail.com. I will be thankful to any help i can get from anyone

    • Hello Eric,

      PASSOP is devoted to protecting and fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants. If you would like assistance and fit into this category, we may be able to assist you. In order to understand your situation better, it would be best if you stop by our office in Cape Town so that you may speak with one of our paralegal advisors about your current situation. Please bring proper papers and identification.

      We are located at:
      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      16 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

      • Bonjour,moi c’est junior mboma qui vous écrire cette partie.
        En ce qui me conserne,Je suis dela nationalité congolaise de Kinshasa vivants
        En Afrique du sud.j’ai fait les écoles humanité et universitaire je suis réfugier en Afrique du sud de puis une années, je cherche vôtre l’aide s’il vous plait.

        • Bonjour Junior Mboma,

          Vivez vous a Cape Town?

          Afin que nous puissions mieux comprendre votre situation et que nos conseillers juridiaues puissent vous aider, il serait mieux que vous veniez directement a nos bureaux. Voici notre adresse :

          Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
          3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

          Numero de telephone: 0214182838

          Cordialement,
          L’equipe de PASSOP

    • I am a refugee status section 24 holder yesterday and today have been to fnb bank and was rejected to opening an account. I feel cheated and unfairly treated because i am a refugee . My work requires an account in my name if not i loose the job please help me i reside in Durban

      • Hello Lister,

        Sorry for your current situation. We do not give paralegal advice online but with a Section 24, you should be able to open a bank account. Unfortunately we are only located in Cape Town but here is a list of NGOs located in Durban that you may contact instead:

        Lawyers for Human Rights:
        http://www.lhr.org.za

        Room S104, Diakonia Centre 20th Diakonia Avenue (formerly St. Andrews Street) DURBAN 4001
        Tel: +27 03 13 01 05 31

        Pro Bono:
        http://www.probono.org.za
        DURBAN

        Suite 9001
        9th Floor, Nedbank Building
        Durban Club Place (off Anton Lembede Street)
        Durban, 4001, South Africa
        Tel: +27 (0) 31 30 16 178

        Legal Resource Centre
        http://www.lrc.org.za/

        N240 Diakonia Centre, 20 Diakonia Avenue, Durban 4001
        Tel +27 31 301 7572

        Thank you and good luck!

        Kind Regards,
        Emma Burr Nyberg
        The PASSOP Team

    • Hello Shahezad,

      In most cases it is very possible to open a bank account on asylum. Please go to your local banks and ask what you will need in order to open an account. Remember to bring proper identification and papers. If you would like further assistance, our paralegal advisors may be able to help you. Please stop by our office if you have further problems.

      We are located at:
      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      16 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

  2. FNB no longer opens bank accounts with these documents. I’ve applied there and they said they no longer do this, and they closed my mother’s bank account and she’d been banking with them for more than a decade. Does anyone know where i can get help with applying for a South African I.D? My family and i have been living in South Africa for about 18 years now and we’re still using the refugee status. We’ve tried applying for residency but that hasn’t worked out because of the corruption that occurs at the department of home affairs.

    • Hello,

      We understand your situation and realise that it can be quite frustrating. We hope to be of assistance and may be able to write a letter of recommendation for you in order to open a bank account. In order to understand your situation better, it would be best if you stop by our office in Cape Town so that you may speak with one of our paralegal advisors. Please bring proper papers and identification.

      We are located at:
      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      16 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

  3. good day
    client services
    my brother has just got a job , so they have send him to open a bank account so that
    they can deposit his salary in the back all I just want to know what do you need for him to open the account please this is very urgent if possible just give or sent me stuff he need to have
    then I can just give it to them here in my branch

    • Hello Rosina,

      It all depends on the different bank policies so I would suggest going to the bank and asking them. Usually you will need proper identification and a work permit but some banks have different rules and regulations on what is needed. Please see your preferred bank and if you have any issues you are free to contact us by stopping by our office open Monday-Friday 9-5.

      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      16 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

  4. I tried opening an account with standard bank but was refused. seems they don’t understand this refugee permit stuff. Please help as one can’t stay without an account. I feel like suing them. This is a big slap on our faces as we are treated like dirt and non humans. imagine trying to bring in your little to help the bank and they chase you away. We feel unworthy.

    • Hello Allwell Achonu,

      I am very sorry for your troubles and we understand your frustration. Are you based in Cape Town?

      PASSOP will gladly help you if you are able to come into our office to speak with one of our paralegal assistants.

      We are located at:

      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      16 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      We look forward to seeing you!

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

  5. I tried to open an account with an asylum at FNB BT they refused it.the prblm is I got a job but they want a personal banking account .I dnt know what to do now because am gonna lose the job.Why are we treated like this in South Africa,Why?.We living like Dogs without banks in a rich country like this

    • Hello Luckmore Kwangwari,

      We understand your situation and hope to be of assistance. We may be able to write a letter of recommendation for you in order to open a bank account. In order to understand your situation better, it would be best if you stop by our office in Cape Town so that you may speak with one of our paralegal advisors. Please bring proper papers and identification.

      We are located at:
      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      16 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

    • At the Home Affairs offices in Marabastad in Pretoria there are some agents now for FNB who are opening bank accounts with assylums. People were opening accounts easily. Check with other offices for assylums elsewhere.

    • Hello Stanlay,

      It would be best if you stop by our office in Cape Town so that you may speak with one of our paralegal advisors about your current situation, but we understand that it will be difficult from Durban.

      In order to under your situation better, you may scan your rejection letter along with a thorough explanation of your current situation in an email to us at interns.passop@gmail.com or office@passop.co.za. Please write down all your contact details so that we may contact you if we have any further questions.

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      We look forward to hearing from you!

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

    • Hello Life Dutiro,

      It is possible for you to open a bank account with an asylum. You will need to check with your local bank for the exact details on what paperwork is needed.

      If you would like more assistance, please stop by our offices in Cape Town to speak with one of our legal interns.

      We are located at:
      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      We look forward to seeing you!

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

  6. Hi i have an asylum paper, pls is it possible for me to be grant a bursary and i want to know the more different in this refugee status and asylum permit.

    • Hello Chijindu,

      Thank you for your comment!

      PASSOP is devoted to protecting and fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants and if you fit into this category, we may be able to help you. In order to understand your situation better, it would be best if you stop by our office in Cape Town so that you may speak with one of our paralegal advisors about your current situation. Please remember to bring all proper identification and documents with you at all times.

      We are located at:
      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      We look forward to hearing from you!

      Kind Regards,
      Emma Burr Nyberg
      The PASSOP Team

  7. Hi i have an asylum paper, pls is it possible for me to be grant a bursary and i want to know the more different in this refugee status and asylum permit. also i’ve got a friend who have stay here about 8years without gaining permanent resident why? with a clean record.

    • Hello Chijindu,

      Thank you for your comment!

      PASSOP is devoted to protecting and fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants and if you fit into this category, we may be able to help you. In order to understand your situation better, it would be best if you stop by our office in Cape Town so that you may speak with one of our paralegal advisors about your current situation. Please remember to bring all proper identification and documents with you at all times.

      We are located at:
      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      We look forward to hearing from you!

      Kind Regards,
      Emma Burr Nyberg
      The PASSOP Team

  8. I’m emmanuel. I would like to knw, if I wanna receive money from money gram, while holding and asylum seeker document, is it possible that you can assist, or what should I do to get money from out side of south africa?

    • Hello Emmanuel,

      Are you located in Cape Town?

      PASSOP is devoted to protecting and fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants and if you fit into this category, we may be able to help you. In order to understand your situation better, it would be best if you stop by our office in Cape Town so that you may speak with one of our paralegal advisors about your current situation. Please remember to bring all proper identification and documents with you at all times.

      We are located at:
      Tulbagh Centre Building (4th floor, room 413-414)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8001

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      Kind Regards,
      Emma Burr Nyberg
      The PASSOP Team

  9. standard bank asked me to go to Durban refugee office after I have submitted my asylum seeker refugee permit paper together with proof of residence and this happened after they send message to their clients and I don’t know what they wanted to confirm but the clearly told me that they can’t open account for me but to go there for help…. I request you to help me what type of assist I may get from that office and again I don’t understand the refugee office that the lady is talking about… is it the home affairs in Durban that issued for me the paper?? Please I need your help

    • Hello Ibrow,

      Are you located in Cape Town?

      We do not give paralegal advice online but with a Section 24, you should be able to open a bank account. Unfortunately we are only located in Cape Town but here is a list of NGOs located in Durban that you may contact instead:

      Lawyers for Human Rights:
      http://www.lhr.org.za

      Room S104, Diakonia Centre 20th Diakonia Avenue (formerly St. Andrews Street) DURBAN 4001
      Tel: +27 03 13 01 05 31

      Pro Bono:
      http://www.probono.org.za
      DURBAN

      Suite 9001
      9th Floor, Nedbank Building
      Durban Club Place (off Anton Lembede Street)
      Durban, 4001, South Africa
      Tel: +27 (0) 31 30 16 178

      Legal Resource Centre
      http://www.lrc.org.za/

      N240 Diakonia Centre, 20 Diakonia Avenue, Durban 4001
      Tel +27 31 301 7572

      Kind Regards,
      Emma
      The PASSOP Team

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