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Business bank account for non-UK residents

View packages (Non-UK residents)

Why is it difficult for non-uk residents to open a business bank account?

The simple answer is strict anti-money laundering (AML) regulations imposed by the authorities. UK high street banks see it is a lot of work and hassle for them to check the directors, their background, their credit history and the rest of the checks when they reside outside UK. So, majority of them including Barclays and Lloyds either do not offer (or make it incredibly difficult to get) a business bank account for UK companies with non-UK resident directors.

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

Option 1: UK virtual bank account

We have affiliations with a few banks that offer UK virtual bank accounts. This is a good solution for majority of businesses, who cannot get a high street bank account. You will get a UK bank account number, sort code and IBAN number.

Using this virtual UK bank account, you can get payments in £(GBP) via credit card or bank transfer and make payments to your suppliers’ bank accounts or HMRC. You can also receive payments from marketplaces such as Amazon. You can send payments via bank transfer, use ATM cards or withdraw funds to your local bank account in your country.

However, there are few restrictions with this virtual bank account and may not suit every company type. The restriction is that you cannot get a payment gateway merchant account or setup recurring automatic payments with this bank option. If you want to get a payment gateway merchant account or need automatic payments, you can choose option 2.

Option 2: UK bank account with an online bank

We have partnered with a leading UK online bank who offers business bank accounts for non-UK residents without them having to physically visit the UK. This bank account is very much like a UK high street bank account.

However, the bank does an initial pre-screening of your application and if you are eligible, they charge a director due-diligence fee of £1000. This £1000 fee covers all the non-UK resident directors.

This bank account is available for most of the foreign residents except for the residents of few countries. Please contact us to find if you are eligible to apply for this account. The advantage with this option is that you do not have to visit the UK to get this bank account. With this bank account, you can approach a payment gateway provider to setup a merchant account payment gateway (perfect choice for e-commerce companies).

Please note: We can help with both the options 1 and 2. Our fee for processing your application on fast track is £249+vat. Our fee covers examining your suitability, preparing the paperwork, facilitating the necessary documents, completing and submitting your application for fast track approval.

Option 3: Bank account with a UK high street banks (Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC etc.)

It is possible but is either expensive/restrictive or you must travel to the UK to open the account. If you are willing to travel to the UK with necessary documents, we can help with setting up a bank account with any one such high street bank. Our fee for processing your application on fast track is £599+vat.

Our fee covers examining your suitability, preparing the paperwork, facilitating the necessary documents, completing and submitting your application for fast track approval. After submitting the application, you must travel to the UK soon with the necessary supporting documents, and present to the bank representatives face to face. If required, we can arrange to attend the meeting alongside you.

Please note we do not facilitate visa/work permit or travel requirements and you must arrange it yourself.

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

It is becoming increasingly difficult to set up a business bank account with a major UK bank, unless you live and work in the UK. We have a few possible alternative options for you to consider.

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 restrictions legally that stops non-UK residents and non-UK citizens from opening a UK business bank account. However, most banks follow stringent procedures to open a business bank account for overseas residents/citizens because of money laundering, funding for illegal activities, fraud concerns and 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 UK?

No. Barclays or Lloyds bank do not offer business bank accounts for anyone who currently do not reside in the UK. It does not matter if you are a UK citizen or not. You must currently reside in the UK (with a legal residency status) and must visit the local branch to open the business bank account with Barclays or Lloyds bank.

What are the options with major UK high street banks?

We have conducted a study on the options with the major banks in the UK and these are our findings. This may vary for every company based on the applicant’s status and the bank’s individual terms. We cannot guarantee either approval or rejection of your banking application.

HSBC

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

Lloyds bank

We believe there is a slightly indirect way to open a business bank account with Lloyds. If at least one director of new company resides in the UK, they offer a business bank account even if other directors are non-UK resident. This UK resident should visit the local branch in person to open the account. Please contact Lloyds bank directly for more information and their current policy.

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 bank directly for more information.

Is there a possibility to open my business bank account with Barclays (as a non-UK resident)?

Yes, you can open a business account with Barclays as a non-UK resident. Barclays International offers an international business bank account and does not make any residency requirements. However, they usually require a deposit of £25000 to open the account. Please contact Barclays bank directly for more information.

Is there a possibility to open my business bank account with Lloyds (as a non-UK resident)?

As far as we understand, there is an indirect way of opening a bank account with Lloyds. They want at least one of the director to live in the UK. This UK resident director should visit the local branch in person to open the account. Please contact Lloyds bank directly for more information.

Is it mandatory 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 can even use your bank account in your own location, to handle your business transactions. However, it is advisable to run a business bank account to win the trust of customers and suppliers in the UK.

Can you help me get a payment gateway merchant account?

Yes, we can help you to get a payment gateway merchant account for your new UK company. We have affiliations with a few payment gateway provider companies including WorldPay. Please note, to get your merchant account you will need a UK bank account.

Prefer a personal manager to register your company on your behalf?

Worried about making mistakes? Not comfortable doing it yourself? We offer UK company formation service with a dedicated personal manager. Your personal manager will collect the details from you via email and register your new company the correct way. Please fill in your details and we will contact you.

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