Business bank accounts for non-UK residents

Business bank accounts for non-UK residents

One of the most popular topics we deal with on a daily basis at Rapid Formations is how to open business bank accounts as a non-UK resident. Whilst it’s incredibly easy to register a UK limited company from anywhere in the world, it is more difficult to set up a business bank account unless you live and work in the United Kingdom. However, there are a number of available options once your company has been incorporated.
Related: Can a non-UK resident form a UK limited company?

There is no legal obligation for a limited company to have its own bank account, but it is better to have one. Business finances must be accurate and transparent, so a separate account will make it easier to keep track of your income, expenditure and available profits. This will be of great help when you are preparing annual accounts and tax returns each year.

UK residency is not a legal requirement

There are no legal restrictions that prohibit non-UK residents from opening a business account. However, most banks will not accept applications from overseas due to fraud concerns and the additional administration costs.

You do not have to open a UK bank account

There is no legal requirement for a UK company to have a business bank account in the UK. You can open one in your country of residence. To do so, you must get your company documents apostilled (legalised). Please scroll down for further information on document legalisation.

Business account options for non-UK residents

We have researched the market and found the following banking option for non-residents. Please note: All business accounts are subject to the applicant’s status, and the bank’s terms and conditions. Rapid Formations cannot guarantee banking facilities will be offered.

  • HSBC can provide a business account for UK-registered companies with non-resident directors and shareholders. However, the owner(s) of the company must travel to the UK to sign a bank mandate and present their photographic ID and proof of address documentation. If you wish to find out more about banking with HSBC, please call (from the UK) 0800 032 1770 or from overseas 0044 01470 697032
  • Barclays offers an international business account with no stipulation for any directors or shareholders to be UK residents. All applications from non-residents must start from Barclays International in the Isle of Man, at Queen Victoria House. Whilst it is classified as offshore, it can be based in London, the Isle of Man or Jersey. You will benefit from the same facilities as onshore account holders, including: cheque books; credit and debit cards; and online and telephone banking facilities. This is perfectly suitable for your company to carry out normal trading and banking activities in the UK.

Please note: Barclays does request a sum of £25,000 to be placed on deposit in the first month of opening the account. If this is problematic, Barclays recommends including a covering letter with your application, stating your case for having the requirement waived.

Opening a business bank account in your country of residence

A useful alternative to opening a UK account for your limited company is to open one in your country of residence. To do so, your company documents must be legalised. This process is called ‘apostilling’. You must obtain Apostille Certificates for these documents to confirm their authenticity.

Apostilled documents are accepted in all countries that are party to the 1961 Hague Convention, There are 105 in total. We are unable to offer advice to non-member countries regarding the acceptance of apostilled documents.

Rapid Formations in-house Notary Public is available to sign company documents and organise Apostille Certificates with The Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In general terms, two Apostille Certificates are required: one for the certificate of incorporation and another for the memorandum and articles of association. The cost of each certificate is £89.99 plus VAT, which includes all courier and postal charges.

You can view full details of our apostilled documents service here.

41 Comments

  1. Hello, am Indian resident. I’d like to know that do we need a business visa to go to UK and open up a business account or it can be done with a “Tourist Visa” too?

    Thanks.

  2. Hi. I am a British citizen resident in UK. I want to add my father, who is a non-resident, as a shareholder in the limited company. Is it possible to open his account in UK based on shareholder documents? Please guide how to proceed.
    Thanks

    • Dear Syed

      Thank you for your message.

      I cannot advise as to what a bank would expect from your in terms of documentation as each can have different requirements dependent upon the situation. I would suggest speaking to the bank you would like to work with and find out what is required.

      Kind Regards

  3. Sarah,
    Could you pls refer to the gov link where it says that there is no legal obligation to open a business account related to the uk ltd? I have a personal account in the uk and I would like to use it for my new uk ltd, I want to be absolute sure that I am not liable for anything? Many thanks! s

    • Dear Silvia

      Thank you for your message.

      There is no specific legislation to confirm that you do not have to open one in the company name. It is more the case that the point of reference for all UK companies, the 2006 Companies Act, does not confirm any requirements for banking purposes.

      Kind Regards

  4. Interesting topic.
    Sarah.

  5. Hi,
    I’m Croatian resident and need to form a company in UK.
    Is it possible (and advisable) to register the company together with my partner who is UK resident? So he can be nominee director?
    What will happen with bank account if he then sells his shares to me?
    Thank you!

    • Dear Miro
      Thank you for your message.
      We cannot advise on matters relating to the banking requirements for your company. I would suggest you speak to your UK resident partner and an accountant regarding the effect of transferring the shares over to yourself.
      Kind Regards

  6. Hi Rachel, I am European Union – Bulgaria.I want to register a Ltd in London, UK.But I do not have a utilities bills to prove my address in UK and It will be big problem to open a business account.May you give me an advice which bank in UK can open ltd bank account without asking me for utilities bills. Thank you in advance

  7. Hi Rachel,

    My situation is slightly different: I have a US S-Corp, but I’d like to open a UK account for it, as many of my clients are still there.

    I’m a UK citizen who’s living overseas. I spoke to Barclays, but they won’t consider anyone whose turnover is below £5 million. Do you know of any banks who will work with small businesses based overseas?

    Thank you.

    • Hello Mike
      Thank you for your message.
      Unfortunately we do not have any knowledge of the situation regarding overseas companies opening bank accounts in the UK.
      Kind regards

  8. Is it just as easy to open a euro (EUR) currency account in UK banks? This question from someone who operates in the eurozone and would not want to deal with different currencies. I am trying to keep things simple (especially since my clients are all in the eurozone and the transactions are relatively small)

    • Dear Mike

      Thank you for your message.
      We are not aware of the specific rules of UK banks. I would advise speaking to your preferred providers to find out their own specific rules.
      Kind Regards

  9. Hello Rachel,

    Thanks for sharing this information. Its quite useful for readers like me.

    I have my business registered in India and UK as well. But the problem is, none of our directors are a UK citizen.
    Can you suggest me a bank, where we can open a business account and operate without going to UK physically?

    Barcleys seems to be good option, but inittial deposit of 25000 euros seems quite high for us.

    Thank you in advance.

  10. Hi Rachel,
    I’m a soon foreign student in UK, I mean next year. I’m studying Marketing but in parallel, I’m gonna follow courses in stock-broking. So I’ve been told that I Will need to open a trading account. Here is my question:
    As a foreign student, what are my easy options?

  11. Hello. I am not UK resident looking for set UK Ltdco. My wife use to live in UK and still have bank account with Lloyds. Can i use that one for my company?
    Me (director) and she will be the owners of this company. Or must it be opened on director name, only?
    Thank you in advance, Ivan

  12. Hi Rachel,

    Interesting article.

    I have run my business as a sole trader and have been with HSBC business since 1991. I recently moved to Italy and made my business a Limited company as a non-UK resident.

    HSBC will not let me open a new account for the limited company because I am a non resident. Do you think that I can simply continue trading with my sole trader business account?

    Kind regards,

    Iain.

    • Hi Iain

      Thank you for your message.

      We cannot give exact advice on how you should proceed with your company requirements. What I can say is that a UK company does not require to have its own bank account and there would be nothing wrong with continuing to use your sole trader business account.

      Kind Regards

  13. Hello,

    What are the drawbacks to open a bank account to a non-resident in the country (France)?

    Thank you.

    Best regards.

    • Dear Naili

      Thank you for your message

      UK banks have difficulty verifying the details of non-residents for Money Laundering Purposes and therefore make it difficult for non-residents to open an account hence banks require non-residents to come to the UK to meet with them before making a decision on whether they can offer an account or not for the non-resident’s UK company.

      Kind Regards

  14. Hi Rachel,

    I just contacted HSBC and I was told I need to be UK resident to open a business account.

    You wrote in this post from almost 2 years ago that it’s possible.
    Do you know if they changed something recently?

    Also, do you have any other suggested banks for non-residents except of Barkleys? (They need me to own assest with a value of 5mio, which I don’t have)

    Thanks,
    Lukas

    • Hi Lukas

      Thanks for your message. I am not aware of HSBC having changed their criteria though we would not necessarily be notified in advance of their changes.

      I also do not have any specific advice with regard to which banks would be best placed to work with non-residents, and can only suggest that you contact them directly to ask what their requirements would be.

      Kind Regards
      Rachel

  15. Hi Rachel,
    i am planing to open a UK based travel company which i can handle from India. i am living in india, i am aware from all work procedure . Is it possible for me to open a account in any UK bank, if yes so what are the Doucments requirement.
    i am totaly cunfuse .Please advise me for same
    Thanks and Regards

    • Dear Rohit

      Thank you for your message.

      We know that opening a bank account in the UK can be very difficult for non-UK residents however, many of our overseas clients open business accounts for their UK limited companies with HSBC. This will involve visiting the UK and presenting your ID at a meeting with the bank. I would state there are no guarantees you will be offered a facility.

      You may wish to have a look at our blog on the topic as this gives you contact details for HSBC and other information you may find useful: https://www.rapidformations.co.uk/blog/business-bank-accounts-for-non-uk-residents/

      Kind Regards

  16. Hi,

    It is possible to open an UK bank account for my company located in Romania ? I am UK resident and I am not registered in UK for business.

    Thank you !

  17. Hi Rachel,

    My name is Joao Silva i work offshore Scotland Oil And Gas, with the industry’s downturn there’s layoffs in the horizon, i have always lived in Portugal but paying tax in UK for the last 8 years. How can i start a limited company in UK i have NIN and UK bank account and still live in Portugal? Is it possible?

    Regards,

    Joao Silva

    • Dear Joao

      Thank you for your message.

      You do not need to live in the UK to set up a company here. The only requirement for a UK company si that it has a “Registered Office” in the UK and we can provide you with that address service if you require it.

      Kind Regards

  18. Please let me know tax filling requirements at the end of the year once limited company by non residents is formed
    And company has some income from trading activity outside uk

    • Dear Richard
      Thank you for your message.
      Unfortunately we are not advisors so I would suggest you discuss the UK filing requirements with an accountant.
      Kind Regards

  19. Hi

    My question is that me and my wife both non-resident of UK.

    We would like to form a company and trade internationally. Can we open a bank account in UK?

    Thanks
    Ahmed

    • Dear Ahmed

      Thank you for your message.

      As noted above in the article on non-residents opening a UK account it is possible, it is just not as simple a process as it would be for companies where all officers are UK residents. I would advise calling the banks listed above to arrange a meeting with the one of your choice.

      Kind regards

  20. Hi Rachel,

    I’m a non-resident of UK working at a private firm based in UK would like to set up a company in UK.

    My question is whether i’m eligible to open a business bank account in UK and if so what are the documents i should provide.

    Regards
    DAYA

    • Hi Daya

      Unfortunately our relationship with our banking partners does not extend to opening accounts for non-UK residents. We do know that many of our overseas clients open business accounts for their UK limited companies with HSBC. This will involve visiting the UK and presenting your ID at a meeting with the bank. I would also state there are no guarantees you will be offered a facility.

      Alternatively, many overseas clients choose to open an account in their own country. This usually involves the purchase of apostilled documents, however, I would contact the bank before ordering these, to ascertain exactly what documents they require apostilled. Please have a look at this page: https://www.rapidformations.co.uk/apostilled-documents/

      You may also wish to have a look at our blog on the topic: https://www.rapidformations.co.uk/blog/business-bank-accounts-for-non-uk-residents/

  21. Hi Rachel,

    I have set up a Ltd UK Company through Rapid Formations and currently 100% shareholder of the company. I already have a business account and credit card merchant account for the company. I am thinking of offering perhaps 25% shares to a company based overseas. Could you kindly let me know whether there will be any complications moving forward with regards to account facilities etc if one of the shareholders is based overseas? Am I obliged to inform the bank of any changes to shareholders?

    Many thanks

    • Dear Elaine

      Thank you for your message.
      It is our recommendation you keep your bank up to date with changes to the shareholding of your company. We cannot comment on how these changes will be viewed by your bank. This is a question for them.
      Kind regards

  22. Dear Rachel,

    I am a Spanish citizen and I would like to set up a company with my partner in UK.
    The main drawback is a bank account.

    If we open a bank account in Spain, would we have any problems with either british or spanish tax authorities?
    Which is the best option for LTD (shares)?
    Many thanks.
    Regards,
    Manel.

    • Dear Manel

      Thank you for your message.

      Having a bank account in Spain is not an issue for the tax authorities as such. Your obligation is to declare the correct amount of tax in the country where it is due and where the company account is, is not a concern for the tax authorities.

      Kind Regards

  23. Hi Rachel.

    I am a British citizen living in the south of France and I am working towards setting up an investment/finance small company with a French partner. The idea is that both of us put some money in the company and then share the annual benefits by 50/50. I would like to know what is your recommendation as the type of company which should be better adapted to our needs with further information on where and how we would pay taxes.

    Best regards.

    • Dear Antonio

      Thank you for your message.

      Either of the British profit making company alternatives would be suitable for your needs, a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or a Limited Company (LTD). The LTD is probably going to be the more flexible option for you (as you can retain value in the company at the end of each year rather than having to remove all of the profit from the LLP and pay taxes on the full amount each year. The Limited company is also the most common form of UK company. In terms of information on where you would pay taxes that is not something we can advise on and you would need to speak to an accountant about such matters.

      Kind Regards



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