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Refugee and USM Claimant Account Opening Service

About this service

For refugees, the main reason for opening a bank account is to receive pay.

Refugees and non-refoulement claimants under the Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) may also have children with them and they may be entitled to receive government and student allowances. They may also need a bank account to receive support from overseas family, friends or local non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

HSBC works with several NGOs to provide basic banking services for refugees and USM claimants.

Eligibility

To use this service, you must:

  • be 18 years old or over;
  • have refugee status or be a non-refoulement claimant;
  • be referred by a NGO listed on this page; and
  • have a valid reason for opening an account.

How to open a bank account with this service

  1. First, contact one of our recognised NGOs or support organisations to help you apply for banking services.
  2. Tell the NGO why you need a bank account (for example, to receive government allowances or money paid to you by the NGO).
  3. After at least 6 months of building a relationship with you, the NGO will give you a referral letter (including your name, nationality (country/region/territory), recognizance number, relationship with the NGO, and reason for opening an account).
  4. With your NGO support worker, bring the referral letter and required documents to one of our designated branches to open an account. The support worker will also need to show their identification and work ID.
  5. Our designated staff will complete the account-opening process.
  6. If your application is approved, we'll send your ATM card, PIN and any correspondence to your address. (If you have no fixed address, we can use the NGO’s address.)

Required documents

  Refugees Non-refoulement Claimant
Identification document (Compulsory)
1. Recognizance; and
2a. a Letter of Decision; or
2b. a UNHCR certification

1. Recognizance; and
2. a referral letter from your NGO1; and
3. proof of your date of birth2

Required documents

  Identification document (Compulsory)
Refugees 1. Recognizance; and
2a. a Letter of Decision; or
2b. a UNHCR certification

Non-refoulement Claimant
1. Recognizance; and
2. a referral letter from your NGO1; and
3. proof of your date of birth2

You'll also need the following documents, depending on your reason for opening an account:

  Refugees
Non-refoulement Claimant
Payroll

1. Letter of employment; or

2. work permit from the Immigration Department; or

3. an employment contract

Not applicable
Paying rent to your landlord
a referral letter from the NGO1
a referral letter from the NGO1
Receiving Student Finance Assistance (SFA) for your child
1. An approval letter from the Student Finance Office; or
2. school admission letter from the Education Bureau
1. An approval letter from the Student Finance Office; or
2. school admission letter from the Education Bureau
Receiving supporting funds from your oversea families or friends
a referral letter from the NGO1

a referral letter from the NGO1

Receiving compensation from the HKSAR Government
1. A letter from the HKSAR Government confirming the compensation; and
2. A referral letter from the NGO
1. A letter from the HKSAR Government confirming the compensation; and
2. A referral letter from the NGO
Receiving supporting funds from an NGO
a referral letter from the NGO1
a referral letter from the NGO1

You'll also need the following documents, depending on your reason for opening an account:

  Payroll
Refugees

1. Letter of employment; or

2. work permit from the Immigration Department; or

3. an employment contract

Non-refoulement Claimant
Not applicable
  Paying rent to your landlord
Refugees
a referral letter from the NGO1
Non-refoulement Claimant
a referral letter from the NGO1
  Receiving Student Finance Assistance (SFA) for your child
Refugees
1. An approval letter from the Student Finance Office; or
2. school admission letter from the Education Bureau
Non-refoulement Claimant
1. An approval letter from the Student Finance Office; or
2. school admission letter from the Education Bureau
  Receiving supporting funds from your oversea families or friends
Refugees
a referral letter from the NGO1

Non-refoulement Claimant
a referral letter from the NGO1

  Receiving compensation from the HKSAR Government
Refugees
1. A letter from the HKSAR Government confirming the compensation; and
2. A referral letter from the NGO
Non-refoulement Claimant
1. A letter from the HKSAR Government confirming the compensation; and
2. A referral letter from the NGO
  Receiving supporting funds from an NGO
Refugees
a referral letter from the NGO1
Non-refoulement Claimant
a referral letter from the NGO1

Remarks:

1 The NGO referral letter should clearly state your name, nationality (country/region/territory), recognizance number, how long the NGO has known you and/or your family, and the reason for opening an account.

2 We accept the following as proof of your date of birth: a document filed in your Hearing Bundle (for a USM claimant) stating your date of birth (for example, a Letter of Decision; a USM Claim Form or a record of interview) or a copy of your passport from the HKSAR Immigration Department.

Fee waiver

This service is free. We will waive our usual charges for statements, standing instructions, passbooks and replacing ATM cards.

Please note that this information is for reference only. We may ask the applicant and the NGO to provide supplementary documents as necessary. HSBC will have the final decision on whether or not to approve the application.

You can also download an “Opening a bank account if you are a refugee or USM claimant” leaflet that highlights our services.

Designated branches for account opening

Partnering NGOs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)