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.
Who is a non-UK resident?
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.
Tip: If you own property in the UK and stay there for a minimum 183 days (in the same tax year), then you qualify as a UK resident. You can be considered a resident of both the UK and another country.
Do I have to live in the UK to open a local 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 most banks will not entertain an application unless they have 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 or National Identity Card) and
- one to prove your address.
This applies to both in branch and online. The complete list of acceptable 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. This is because they have lots of experience dealing with non-residents, so they can be flexible with their requirements.
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
Barclays is suitable for companies where there are no UK-resident directors or shareholders.
Applications must begin from their branch in the Isle of Man. You will still have the same benefits as onshore account holders, but your account will be classified as offshore.
You can choose to open an international bank account in one of three major currencies, dollar, sterling, and euro and hold these funds in the UK, Jersey, or the Isle of Man.
This account comes with international online, telephone banking and access to the Barclays Mobile Banking app (only available for sterling accounts)
Please note, to open an international bank account you must be:
- at least 18 years old and
- have a minimum balance of £25,000 (or currency equivalent) in cash or investments to deposit and
- maintain across your Barclays international bank accounts.
Non-resident directors and shareholders (over the age of 18 and with a residential address within the EU) can open a HSBC Advance Bank Account, via post or in a HSBC branch.
This account comes with no monthly accounts fee, 24/7 customer service, £500 daily ATM cash withdrawals and ability to manage eligible worldwide HSBC Accounts via one simple log in.
To qualify for this account, you must be:
- able to provide HSBC with certified proof of your identity (usually your passport or National Identity Card) and
- address (translated into English if appropriate),
- pay at least £1,750 into the account (or a minimum of £10,500 every 6 months), not including money transferred from other sole or joint personal accounts held with HSBC Bank.
- Lloyds Bank
Lloyds Bank offers an International Current account for non-residents, applications can be made online or by telephone. The account can be opened in one of three major currencies, dollar, sterling, and euro.
This account comes free International Payments, Lloyds Bank will not charge you for sending or receiving money transfers although recipients and corresponding banks may charge a fee for receiving payments. The account also comes with Internet Banking and PhoneBank allowing you access to your money 24/7.
To qualify for this account, you will need:
- a gross annual income of £50,000 or currency equivalent.
For joint accounts, at least one of the applicants needs a gross annual income of that amount.
Alternatively you can also be eligible if:
- you have £25,000 (or currency equivalent) to save or invest (solely or jointly) with Lloyds Bank International banking services,
- you can make an initial deposit into your account within 30 days of opening.
Lastly, depending on legislation and regulations of the country you live in, Lloyds Bank may not be able to offer this account to you.