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.
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.