Who are Non-Residents?
A non-resident is an individual who resides in one country or jurisdiction but has interests in another region. In the region, where he or she does not primarily reside, he or she will be classified as a non-resident by its government. Non -residents are also called as Non-Residential Individual or NRI and individuals who reside outside the United Kingdom, including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are regarded as Non-UK Residents.
In other words, those who claim a particular country as their home and regard it as their domicile. The classification itself will be determined in each region based on the certain fixed circumstances such as amount of time spent within the region during the calendar year and is focused primarily on the where the individual stays and does not focus much on the citizenship.
For example, an individual could be staying in States, whereas he is interested in starting a business or a limited company in the United Kingdom. In this case, he will be considered as a Non-Resident of United Kingdom.
How to Open A UK Bank Account as a Non-Residential Individual?
Although it is not mandatory for you to live in UK to open a bank account, it is always better to opt for UK Residency before you apply for the same.In most of the cases, bank will ask for your home address in UK and your residency status, majorly because of the increasing cases of fraud and additional administration costs which they have to go through in case of opening a bank account for non-residents of UK.
If you want to open a business bank account for your company in the United Kingdom, it is always better to open a separate bank account for your company and keep your business and personal finances separate. It is not a legal requirement, but a practical one. Moreover, your business will have much more credibility in the eyes of the financial institutions in case it has a dedicated business bank account, which also shows its professionalism. However, opening a business bank account in the United Kingdom while you are not its permanent resident is much more complicated and tedious than it is for those who are a permanent resident of UK.
There are two ways through which you can opt for opening a bank account in case you are a non-resident individual of UK, which are:
1. Services of Major Banks: There are certain banks in the United Kingdom who facilitate this particular service of opening a non-resident bank account like Barclays International, Llyods Bank, HDFC Bank etc and you can go through their terms and conditions or prerequisites for the same.
2. By Legalising Your Company Documents: While it is always better to open a bank account in the country you are operating or in the country your company is registered, you can also open one business account in the country you are residing and get the documents legalized by having them apostilled. This is also called as legalizing your company documents.
Apostille, is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in the countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. It specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. It is an international certification and its purpose is on the similar grounds as it is for notarization in the domestic law and it normally supplements a local notarization of the document.
From the list of the countries who participate in the Hague Convention 1961, United Kingdom was one of the participants apart from United States, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, New Zealand, Macau, Hong Kong, India etc. So, even if you are not a primary resident of United Kingdom, you still have the option of applying for Apostille Certificates which can legally authorize your Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum and Articles of Association to use in UK for the purpose of opening a bank account in as a non-resident of UK.
Process of legalizing your company documents requires both the documents namely Memorandum and Articles of Association and Certificate of Incorporation to be signed by a notary and legalized by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and once your documents have been authenticated, Apostille Certificates will be issued and then you can opt for opening a bank account in your country (the one i which you primarily reside).
Legalizing of your company documents is not a very easy to-do task and thus it is always better to take help of a third party, especially the one who has years of expertise in this particular service, like 1st Formations Apostille Service and Rapid House. A firm as good as them, will obviously charge their fees for the service they are providing, which is £89.99 plus VAT per certificate.
Which All Banks Provide Opening Bank Account For A UK Non-Resident?
As a non-UK resident, you can avail services of the major banks for opening a business bank account in United Kingdom like HDFC Bank, Barclays etc. Earlier, it was quite difficult and tedious to open a bank account in UK in case you are a non-resident but thankfully it has become relatively easier these days.
In order to open a bank account in UK (both in branch and online), you would need two documents:
- Your Identity Proof - As an identity proof, you can submit either your passport, driving license or identity card ( in case you are an EU National)
Your Address Proof - Every bank has its own list of documents which they accept as a valid address proof, such as:
- A tenancy Agreement
- Mortgage Statement
- Electricity or Gas bill ( maximum three months old)
- Bank Statement or Credit Card Statement (Less than three months old). However, you have to make sure that these statements are not internet printed and are rather signed by the bank itself. In case, they are internet printed, they will not be accepted.
- A current council tax bill.
- In most of the cases, banks will approve letter from the JobCentre Plus which stated and confirms your National Insurance Number.
- Letter from your employer (Maximum three months old)
You can open a bank account before you arrive in the United Kingdom provided your bank has correspondent banking relationship with a British bank because most of the major banks do have such facility which is specifically designed for non-residents of UK and can be a great option for those who don’t have the documents to validate and prove their UK address. Banks like Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and NatWest offer such facility. However, your nationality as a non-resident of UK plays an important role and you will be able to open the bank account faster in case you are European Union national as compared to if you are from a country outside the European Nations.
However, there is no defined parameter on which you can decided which bank suits your requirement better, it is always advisable to go with leading banks like Barclays and Lloyd because:
- Leading banks are well-established and are in business for a long time.
- Their processes are well-defined and more streamlined as compared to new ones.
- They are financially stronger than the new ones.
- Since they are in the business from quite a long time, they have lot of experience in dealing with the foreigners and their requirements.
- They are more flexible and understanding as compared to newbies.
However, before you open your account with any bank, they, as their routine will perform their checks on all the applicants who want to open account with them. This is to check the validity and suitability of the applicant and also to save themselves from any kind of fraud. During their verification process, you will be asked to provide them with your ID Proof (with you photograph) and a valid/active UK address. Every bank has its own terms and conditions, while certain banks, like Lloyds, will allow you to open your business account in case at least one of your account signatories stays in United Kingdom whereas if you are opening your account with Barclays International, you can do so by submitting an initial security deposit with your application.
The Big Four UK Banks:
In United Kingdom, there are more than ten major retail banks and each of them have their own merits and demerits in terms of service, however, the biggest four banks are Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and NatWest/RBS.
1. Barclays International: Barclays International, is one of the oldest banks in the United Kingdom and with its more than 1500 branches across the country, it is one of the leading and easiest bank one can open an account with. They offer you the opportunity to open the bank account in three major currencies (Euro, Sterling and US Dollars) in case you are opening a current account. In case of saving account, you have the option to open the account in multi-currency. Barclays International is mostly suitable for the companies with no UK resident stakeholders or directors or signatories and if this is case, you must go with its Isle of Man branch.
You have to submit an initial deposit of £10,000 and might need to visit your bank in UK with your reference number, ID proof and address proof to activate your account and once your account gets activated, it will be classed as being offshore and you can access all the facilities which any bank account would have offered you, like credit cards, debit card, cheque books, net banking and telephone banking.
2. Lloyds: Lloyds is the second largest retail bank in UK and has more than 1300 branches across the country and is also the largest provider of current accounts in the UK. Opening a bank account with Lloyd is quite easy and is possible even if you have landed on the UK soil just now and your case becomes even more easier in case you are an European Union citizen because in this case, all you need to open your bank account with Lloyd is your Identity and Address Proof. Opening a bank account with Lloyd is more suitable in case at least one of the signatories of your company is a permanent resident of UK. In this case, you can open your bank account either online or by telephone. The UK-based director or stakeholder will be required to visit his nearest Lloyd branch and submit his photographic ID and address proof, which are legally certified by either a banking official, a notary, a solicitor or a government body. It is always advisable to carry the photocopies of these documents, unless asked otherwise.
Depending on your business type, you can choose from three account types which are free for the first 18 months and apart from this, Lloyds also offers range of business tools such as accounting software and legal assistance at a reduced price.
3. HSBC Business Banking: HSBC with its more than 1100 branches across the country, especially in England and Wales operates from more than 80 countries across the globe and you can set your account in UK even before you set your foot there. In case you want a business bank account with HSBC, you can choose from their range of business bank accounts which are free for the first 18 months of your account opening date. Apart from their wide range of business accounts, HSBC also offers perks and services such as a dedicated relationship manager will also help you in building your business and a wide range of knowledge resources with training articles and videos.
4. RBS/NatWest: Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest is owned by the RBS Group and offers almost same products and while Royal Bank of Scotland has 700 branches in Scotland, NatWest has more than 1400 branches all over the united Kingdom. NatWest offers four business accounts to choose from and you can choose one depending on the size of your business.