If you live in the UK, it’s relatively easy to open a UK business bank account for a limited company. The process of opening UK business bank accounts for non-UK residents is more complex, but it is possible. Below, we explain the different options available.
No legal requirement to open a business bank account
There is no legal requirement for a private limited company to set up and use a business bank account. That being said, it is better to set up a separate bank account that is used exclusively for company finances and transactions.
If you use a personal bank account for business purposes, it can make life unnecessarily complicated. You’ll have a harder time distinguishing between funds and transactions belonging to the company and those which belong to you personally. This is when mistakes happen.
Operating a business bank account, on the other hand, will provide an accurate and transparent record of business finances. This will enable you to keep track of business income and expenditure, trace particular transactions, spot suspicious activity, and complete your company tax returns and annual accounts with greater ease.
Non-UK residents can open a business bank account in the UK
Many UK banks are reluctant to provide business bank accounts for non-UK residents for a number of reasons; namely fraud prevention and the cost of administration. However, 1st Formations has partnered with TransferWise, a UK business banking solution, which provides non-UK residents with a UK bank account number and sort code, as well as Eurozone, US and Australian bank accounts at the same time.
Our Non-Residents Package includes a TransferWise account and is specifically designed to cater for non-UK residents.
UK companies do not require UK business bank accounts
Whilst it may make sense to open an account in the country in which your company is registered, it is possible to open one in your own country of residence. This requires legalising your company documents by having them ‘apostilled’.
Provided you reside in a country that is party to the 1961 Hague Convention, you have the option of applying for Apostille Certificates to legally authenticate your Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum and Articles of Association for use abroad.
Both documents will need to be signed by a notary and legalised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
When your documents have been authenticated, you will be issued with Apostille Certificates and you can apply for an account in your own country. This will certainly reduce the travel time required if you need to visit the bank!
1st Formations Apostilled Documents Service
1st Formations can provide assistance with the legalisation of your company formation documents. Our in-house notary will sign your Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum and Articles of Association, forward them to the FCO for authentication, and deliver the Apostille Certificates by courier to your preferred address.
Our Apostilled Document Service is available for £89.99 plus VAT per certificate, which includes the cost of all postal and courier charges.
Please contact us for further information about our Apostilled Documents Service or if you have any questions about business bank accounts for non-UK residents.