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Business bank account for Non-UK residents

Why is it difficult for Non-UK residents to open a business bank account?

Regulators impose strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations to verify the identities of those applying for bank accounts to prevent fraud. For UK high street banks, it is time-consuming to run background, credit checks and more on directors residing outside of the UK. As a result, the majority of banks, including Barclays and Lloyds, either do not offer business bank accounts for non-UK residents or make the process difficult. Fortunately, Mint Formations offers solutions if you're looking to open a bank account in the UK as a non-resident.

What are my options as a Non-UK resident to open a business bank account?

If you're a non-resident looking to open a bank account in the UK, what are your options? At Mint Formations, we've partnered with banks and institutions to provide non-resident directors with a solution for their businesses.

Option 1: A UK virtual bank account

We have affiliations with a few institutions that offer UK virtual bank accounts for non-UK residents. This is a good solution for the majority of businesses with non-resident directors who are unable to open a traditional business bank account with a major high street bank. Just as with any UK bank account, you'll receive a UK bank account number and sort code, as well as an IBAN (International Business Account Number).

With your virtual UK bank account, you can receive payments in GBP via credit card or bank transfer and make payments to your suppliers’ bank accounts. You can connect your account with HMRC to pay your taxes and also receive payments from marketplaces such as Amazon. You can make payments via bank transfer, use ATM cards or withdraw funds to your local bank account in your country, making it a convenient option for many individuals.

There are some restrictions with a virtual bank account and it may not be offered in certain high-risk countries.

Opening a virtual bank account with Mint Formation costs just £249 +VAT. This covers examining your suitability, preparing the paperwork, facilitating the necessary documents, and completing and submitting your application for fast-track approval. The process can take anywhere from one to four weeks.

We're confident in our ability to secure you a virtual bank account and can advise if it's likely you'll be accepted. If for any reason your bank account application is rejected, we are happy to refund your payment bar a processing charge of £49.

Option 2: Open a Bank Account with a UK High Street Bank

If you'd like a high street bank account, Mint Formations can help.

Acquiring a traditional business bank account as a non-resident of the UK will require you to travel to the UK with the necessary documents.

Opening a UK business bank account with a popular bank costs £599 +VAT. We will examine your suitability, prepare the paperwork, facilitate the necessary documents, and complete and submit your application for fast-track approval. After applying, you must travel to the UK to present your proof of ID and other documents to a bank representative to verify your identity and complete the application process. We cannot support you getting your visa or work permit or making travel and accommodation arrangements, but a member of our team will be happy to attend the meeting with your new bank should you require it. If your bank account application is rejected, we will refund your fee except for a processing charge of £149.

Is it easy to open a business bank account in the UK?

Unless you live and work in the UK, it is difficult to open a business bank account with a major UK bank. However, our arrangements with select banks that can offer accounts for overseas directors give you an ideal solution, and we can help regardless of whether you can travel to the UK. We take care of the process for you, which includes preparing the paperwork and submitting the necessary forms. If you choose to open a virtual bank account, you won't even need to visit the UK, meaning we can organise everything while you focus on running your business.

What are the benefits of a virtual bank account?

A virtual bank account is an ideal solution for non-UK resident directors who cannot or do not want to visit the UK. Our team will handle all the required paperwork and procedures, making it a hassle-free process for non-resident directors.

What are the features of a virtual bank account?

  • Just as with a standard UK business bank account, you will receive a UK bank account number and sort code with your virtual account. You'll also receive an IBAN.
  • You can use a virtual bank account to receive payments in GBP via credit card or bank transfer.
  • Easily make payments to your supplier’s bank accounts or HMRC.
  • Receive payments from online marketplaces, such as Amazon.
  • Send payments via bank transfer, use ATM cards or withdraw funds to a local bank account in your country.

How long will it take to open a virtual bank account?

The process of setting up a virtual bank account, from your initial application to being able to use your account, usually takes around three to four weeks, though it may be quicker. If you choose our international company formation package to register your UK business, we'll be in touch once it's registered to begin the process of setting up your UK business bank account.

Can you guarantee that you will get me a UK business bank account?

While we have multiple options for non-resident directors and we will do all we can to secure your UK bank account, each bank has its own policy and ultimately makes the final decision, so we cannot guarantee that your application will be successful. However, should your application be rejected, we will happily refund the setup fee.

Do I need a mail forwarding address to apply for a business bank account?

Yes, when you register a company and apply for a UK bank account, you will need a mail forwarding address, where you will receive all official documentation. Fortunately, when you opt for our international package, we will receive your mail at our prestigious London address and forward it to you.

What documents are required to open a virtual bank account?

In the majority of cases, you will need to provide two documents to confirm your identity and address, although the exact documents accepted by banks vary. Generally, the below documents are considered valid proof of ID:

  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • National identity card
  • Tenancy agreement or mortgage statement
  • An electricity or gas bill (less than 3 months old)
  • A recent (less than 3 months old) bank or credit card statement that’s not printed off the internet
  • A recent tax bill

Any valid identity proof document issued by your respective government should be enough. The bank will contact you directly for the identity proof documents.

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

You do not have to live in the UK to open a business bank account. There are no legal restrictions that stop non-UK residents and non-UK citizens from opening a UK business bank account. However, most banks follow stringent procedures to open business bank accounts for overseas residents due to money laundering, funding for illegal activities and fraud concerns and the associated administrative costs.

I am a UK citizen and I currently live abroad. Can you help me open a business bank account (with Barclays or Lloyds) without visiting the UK?

No. Barclays or Lloyds bank do not offer business bank accounts for anyone who currently does not reside in the UK, even if you are a UK citizen. To be accepted, you must currently reside in the UK (with a legal residency status) and visit a local branch.

What are the options with major UK high street banks for Non-Residents?

Are you wondering what your options are if you'd like to open a business bank account as a non-resident with a specific bank? Terms of acceptance and conditions differ from bank to bank, and we cannot guarantee approval even if you meet the below criteria. Ultimately, the decision to accept or reject a non-resident business bank account application will depend on the applicant's status and lie with the bank.

HSBC

HSBC provides business accounts for UK-registered companies with non-resident directors. However, the non-resident director(s)/individual of the company must visit a UK branch to present supporting identification documentation and sign a bank mandate.

Lloyds Bank

There is a slightly indirect way to open a business bank account with Lloyds. If at least one director of a new company resides in the UK, Lloyds offers a business bank account even if other directors are non-UK residents. The UK-resident director should visit the local branch in person to open the account. Please contact Lloyds bank directly for more information on its current policy and to see if you are eligible.

Barclays Bank

Barclays International offers business bank account if you are prepared to deposit and maintain £25,000. All non-resident applications must start from Barclays International in the Isle of Man. This bank account is classified as offshore, but it can be based in London, the Isle of Man or Jersey. Please contact Barclays directly for more information.

Is it nandatory to have a business bank account to operate my business?

There is no mandatory legal requirement for a UK company to have a business bank account in the UK. You might choose to use a bank account in your location to handle your business transactions. This may also be a personal bank account. However, we advise opening a business bank account in the UK to win the trust of customers and suppliers in the UK and to distinguish your company finances from your personal finances.

Can you help me get a payment gateway merchant account?

Yes, we can help you set up a payment gateway merchant account for your new UK company. We have affiliations with several payment gateway providers, including Worldpay.

Register your international business in the UK — £129 +VAT

International Package

Are you a non-UK resident looking to register a limited company in the UK? We can take care of the registration process for you and forward all official documentation to your overseas address.

Register My Business Now

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