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Can a Non-UK Resident Open a Business Bank Account in the UK?

The U.K. is one of the largest global economies and ranks high in ease of doing business by the World Bank. Many foreigners want to open U.K.-domiciled business accounts and wonder if it’s possible. Yes, it is. This article will explain the requirements and benefits of opening such an account as a non-U.K. resident.

Are Non-Residents Legally Able to Open a U.K. Business Account

No law stops non-U.K. residents from opening bank accounts in the country, meaning it's possible. However, banks are usually wary of working with foreign residents and will demand more documentation than usual before granting you access to their services. Some also demand a significant minimum deposit for international customers.

What Are the Benefits of Opening a U.K. Business Account?

  • It makes it easier to separate corporate and personal finances. This, in turn, ensures that you keep your limited liability protection in case of bankruptcy.
  • Customers, vendors, and suppliers based in the U.K. will be more willing to work with you; sending money to local accounts is much easier than international ones.
  • It helps you build your credit rating and allows you to request a loan from a British bank if needed.
  • An online business account usually comes with complementary features such as bookkeeping software, invoicing software, a payroll management platform, etc.
  • It makes it easy to track corporate expenses, some of which you can deduct from your tax liabilities.

Are U.K. Business Accounts Safe for Non-Residents

Yes, they are. The U.K. is the leading financial hub in Europe and has strict regulations for banks. The banking sector is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which demands that banks

  1. Act with integrity
  2. Act with due care and diligence
  3. Pay due regard to customers and treat them fairly
  4. Obverse proper market conduct standards

U.K.-domiciled bank accounts are insured by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to the tune of £85,000 per individual or £170,000 for joint accounts. Temporary high balances qualify for insurance of up to £1 million within 6 months of deposit. Some banks also take additional private insurance.

What Are the Requirements for Non-Residents to Open a U.K. Business Account

  1. Identification

You must provide valid identification documents for all individuals with significant shareholding (at least 10%) in the business. You will also do the same for appointed corporate directors. Valid documents can be a passport or a government-issued identification card.

  1. Business Address

You will need a physical office address where the government or private parties can send important documents, some of which require a response. Non-residents can easily rent a virtual office address to fulfill this requirement. 

  1. Plan

Some banks will demand a plan showing what your company is engaged in and why it needs a domestic corporate account.

  1. Certificate of Incorporation

Banks usually demand a certificate of incorporation to verify that your company was formally registered. This certificate is issued by your country’s corporate governing authority.

  1. Financial Records

You will need to provide financial statements endorsed by an accountant. The financial reports help the bank verify that your company is legit and isn’t a dodgy operation.

Can Non-Residents Open a Business Account Without Living in the U.K.?

Yes, it is possible to open a U.K.-domiciled account without residing in the country. Online banks usually accept applications from foreign residents, but you’ll be subject to more stringent checks than domestic residents.

Conclusion

The U.K. is one of the easiest countries to register and manage a corporation. Letting foreign residents open business accounts is a main part of it. We have explained the benefits and requirements for a foreign resident to get a British corporate account.

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