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Potential bank customers are often surprised by the procedures for opening accounts.  In particular, the bank will require certain documentary evidence of identity and address, even if the bank official is your best buddy and drinks with you 5 nights a week.

Under the Criminal Justice Act 1994, banks are required to perform certain checks before opening a bank account.  Essentially they will need evidence of identity and evidence of address. 

Each bank will decide how it implements these requirements.  For example, it appears that some banks require full money-laundering procedures for new customers only, while others require full documentation for each new account – if the customer wants to open further accounts.  Generally the following documents are acceptable as evidence of identity when opening a personal account:-

o     valid passport

o     a current Irish driving license

o     a National Age Card (issued by An Garda Siochana)

o     an identification form with a photograph signed by a member of An Garda Siochana

o     documents issued by Government departments showing your name.  (In order for the documents issued by Government departments to be accepted for opening an account, they must  be verified by a statement from a person in a position of responsibility. Ask your provider who they will accept as a person in a position of responsibility. Usually it can be a solicitor, accountant, doctor, community employment scheme supervisor or social worker. That person must come go to the account provider themselves with proof of their own identity. )

  •  (Please note that a USIT or International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is not acceptable nor is a bus pass)

The bank normally requests 2 utility bills showing your name and address.  However, the  following is a fuller list of documents that provide evidence of your address :

o     a current utility bill (such as a gas, electricity, telephone or mobile phone bill)

o     a current car or home insurance policy that shows your address

o     a document issued by a Government department that shows your address

o     a list of your tax credits

o     a current balancing statement or a C2 certificate from the Revenue Commissioners

o     a social insurance document that shows your address

o     a letter from your employer or licensed employment agency stating that you have recently arrived in Ireland and have started work but cannot yet provide evidence of your Irish address (you will have to provide evidence of your address at a later date).

For customers who do not normally reside in the Republic of Ireland the bank or financial institution may ask for a reference from a bank in the home country of the applicant.

For business accounts, banks may require to undertake checks on the principal owners of the business as well as on the company.