If you do business in the UK but live and work overseas, you may find you need to open a UK bank account in addition to your usual resident account in your home country. This will make it easier to facilitate your business transactions overseas.
Opening a bank account in the UK for non-residents can be a bit more complicated than usual, but it can be done. We have put together this UK non-resident bank account guide to provide you with more information…
Opening a bank account in the UK with proof of residency
Your first option to open a bank account in the UK as a non-resident is to provide the bank with proof of residence.
You can provide a utility bill with your name on it as proof of a property you own or rent in the UK. However, you cannot have your office as your home address and the property must be a residential property (i.e. not a warehouse or garage). In order to pass as a resident, you are required to stay in the UK for more than 183 days pe year after buying or renting the property. This makes it difficult to set up a bank account for temporary residents in the UK.
This is the more straightforward option to open a non-resident account, however is obviously costly if you don’t already have a property in the UK.
Other UK bank account options for non-residents include…
There are only three high street banks in the UK that allow you to open a UK bank account while living abroad. These are Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds.
All banks have different criteria and will ask for varying information when opening a non-resident bank account, but all will need you to provide a valid passport or national ID card and proof of address in your country of residence.
International banking can also a viable option if you wish to open a joint account with foreign national who does not have proof of residency in the UK.
Barclays’ International Banking Division allows you to open a business bank account online without being present in the UK. You can open accounts based in the UK, Jersey, or the Isle of Man and in several currencies including sterling, euros or US dollars. If you use the app there are no Barclays charges for sending money abroad.
International banking is only available to those over 18 years of age. You will need to have an equivalent of £25,000 to deposit and maintain, although residents of some countries outside the EU will need to have £250,000 available. The large deposit amounts mean the Barclays non-resident bank account often isn’t ideal for new businesses.
Barclays also offer an International Reserve Account which is handy if you are living abroad but want to keep savings in sterling or are working in the UK but being paid in US dollars. You can find out more on how to open a savings account with Barclays here.
Lloyds also offer an international banking service for those living abroad and, like Barclays, the account can be opened online.
Accounts are available in sterling, euros or US dollars and there are no fees on international payments. However, the service cannot be used by EU citizens.
Another option for a UK bank account for non-residents is the HSBC business currrent account.
To open an account, you must be over 18 years of age, contactable on a UK phone number, and be the owner of a UK-registered company. If you can provide all the necessary documentation you can open your account online.
If you don’t meet the criteria to open a bank account in the UK as a non-resident, or you prefer not to use a traditional high street bank, then another option to look into is online banking.
Online banking for non-residents
Online banking is a more flexible option allowing you to access your money from anywhere in the world. Online accounts can be opened with a foreign address so you do not need to provide proof of residency.
Revolut is a digital banking alternative with both an app and a multi-currency debit card. You can transfer money internationally fee-free in 30 different currencies, and have an account set up online within 24 hours.
You can have both physical and virtual multi-currency company cards and easily manage employees’ expenses by setting monthly spending limits on each card. The app allows you to attach receipts and integrate with various accounting tools such as Xero and FreeAgent.
If you deal with cryptocurrency, you can buy, hold and exchange it through Revolut.
Tide is another digital bank account built around a mobile app and is a good option for businesses trading internationally. The account is free to open, provides debit cards for both business owners and employees, and there are no exchange rate fees.
You can automatically label income and expenses to make it easier to manage transactions through accounting tools such as Quickbooks, Xero and Sage.
Tide business accounts are only available for UK based companies registered with Companies House, or for freelancers or the self-employed.
If you need assistance setting up as a business in the UK please get in touch with Wizz Accounting. We work with non-UK resident clients running businesses in the UK and can help you to make sure you remain tax compliant.