Opening a business bank account in the UK for non-residents

1Office is often asked how to open a business bank account in the UK. The following article will give insight into what is needed for opening a business account and what are the best options for non-residents.

What is your residence status?

A non-UK resident refers to a person who does not live in the United Kingdom or does not have a UK address. The term applies to a British expatriate or a foreign national living outside the UK.
According to HMRC your UK residency usually depends on how many days you spend in the UK in the tax year (6th April to 5th April the following year)

You’re automatically resident if either:

  • You spent 183 or more days in the UK in the tax year
  • Your only home was in the UK- you must have owned, rented or lived in it for at least 91 days in total – and spent at least 30 days there in the tax year.

You’re automatically non-resident if either:

  • You spent fewer than 16 days in the UK (or 46 days if you haven’t been classed as UK resident for the previous 3 tax years)
  • You work abroad full time (averaging at least 35 hours per week) and spent fewer then 91 days in the UK, of which no more than 30 were spent working.

For more information, please check the HMRC website.

Do I have to live in the UK to open a business bank account?

It is not necessary to live in the UK to open a UK business bank account. Although its recommended to acquire UK residency before applying for one, as some banks can refuse an application unless company director has UK residency.

Requirements for opening a bank account

To open a UK business bank account, you will need two documents:

  • one to prove your identity (usually your passport) and
  • one to prove your address.

This applies to both in branch and by mail application.  The complete list of acceptable proof of address documents can be found on our website.

Recommended banks for business account

It’s usually easier to open a bank account with one of the UK’s largest banks i.e. Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, and NatWest.

It is always recommended to contact customer support before trying to open a bank account.  That way, you can get more information and ask questions about any queries you may have.

Overview of the UK’s largest banks

  1. Barclays

Our clients have had success opening a normal business bank account for a limited company with Barclays.    This account is suitable for companies where there are no UK-resident directors or shareholders.

To meet the requirements for this account, the shareholders and directors must travel to the UK and meet with an HSBC member of staff and provide a copy of their photographic ID (i.e. passport) and proof of their address.

This account comes with online and telephone banking and access to the Barclays Mobile Banking app (only available for sterling accounts).

  1. HSBC

Offers a HSBC Business Banking account that may be suitable for UK registered limited companies with all non-UK residents or shareholders. To meet the requirements for this account, the shareholders and directors must travel to the UK and meet with an HSBC member of staff and provide a copy of their photographic ID (i.e. passport) and proof of their address.

  1. Lloyds Bank

Offers an account that would be suitable for a limited company where at least one UK resident signatory.  Applications for this account can be made either online or by telephone.  When registering for the bank account the UK based director will be asked to present their photographic ID (i.e. passport) and their proof of address in person at a registered Lloyds bank.

Please note, all overseas company directors, shareholders and account signatories must also send copies of their photographic ID and proof of address to the same registered Lloyds Bank.  All documents must be legally certified before presentation.  A banking official, government body or a solicitor can certify the documents.

  1. NatWest

Offers an account that would be suitable for Non-UK residents who live in Europe. The account can be opened online or by post. The account comes with access to online and telephone banking. To meet the requirements for this account, the shareholders and directors must travel to the UK and meet with a NatWest member of staff and provide a copy of their photographic ID (i.e. passport) and proof of their address. All documents must be legally certified before presentation. A banking official, government body or a solicitor can certify the documents.

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