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.

13 responses to “How to open a bank account

  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)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8000

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

    • 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)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8000

      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)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8000

      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)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8000

      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)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8000

      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)
      3 Hans Strijdom Avenue Lane, Cape Town 8000

      Office phone number: 0214182838

      Kind Regards,
      PASSOP

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