How Can I Open A UK Business Bank Account as a Non-Resident?

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With the world becoming globalized, more and more foreigners are looking forward to setting up their companies in the UK, as any company formation expert can tell you. But, the one hindrance in your dream coming true is the conservative attitude of the banks. Frankly, you can’t really blame them (with increasing number of loan repayment failures and credit frauds); but it does put you in a tight spot. If you also fear getting rejected only because you are an overseas resident, the following article is here to help you out:

Do you need a bank account in the UK?

One thing I would like to make it clear to you: you don’t need a UK-based account to set up a company in the UK. There are no legal foundations over having an overseas account if one makes it clear that the account in use is foreign.

However, from a practical point of view, having an overseas bank account is not always the best practice for your business. Multiple transactions in a foreign bank account for clients and employees in a single country makes no sense. It is better to open an account in the country of operation instead.

Do you need to have a Residency in the UK

As far as legal formalities go, you need not to live in the UK. However, in order to open a bank account, you should better have UK residency. Like we discussed earlier, fear of frauds stops the banks from trusting foreign clients much. In most cases, a registered office address won’t do the charm; you would need to have both the residency and a residential address.

What are the options for you to have a business bank account?

Even in this case, the process of opening an account is the same as of any other bank accounts. Detailed information about both you and your company has to be submitted. In case the process becomes too confusing for you, you can always seek the help of an agent.

What you need to prepare for is the face-to-face interview that the bank will conduct; any reason for not trusting you may lead the bank to reject your application. You would also need some widely-used identification like a passport or driving license. Let us take a look at some of the banks and their policy regarding account opening for foreign clients:

HSBC: The directors can easily open the account even if they are non-resident; however, the owners will have to come in the UK and submit photographic identification proofs. A bank mandate might also be needed to be signed.

Lloyds Bank: The bank requires at least one director to be living in the UK in order to open accounts of other non-resident members.

Barclays: There are no conditions attached for opening an overseas account here, but the initial branch will always be in the Isle of Man. The account will get the same benefits as a local account but will be classified under “offshore” accounts.

Some easy hacks

The best way to crack the bankers is to start seeing things from their point of view. If the bankers are suspicious about you, better win their trust by offering to deposit a large amount.

Alternatively, you can either prove to possess a residential address in the UK or having multiple board members vouching for you. Having multiple people as the point of contacts greatly reduces the fears of the bankers.

Conclusively, you could say that the process of opening an overseas bank account in the UK is easy, albeit a bit long. If time is important for you, better to start early.