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UK business account for non residents - can foreigners open one?

Yes, a non-resident can open a business bank account in the UK. Opening a local bank account is a logical step when setting up a business in a new country. However, understanding the options available can be overwhelming. 

In this guide, we’ll be exploring the following:

  • Why non-residents should open a UK business account.

  • How to open a UK business account as a non-resident.

  • What banking options are available to non-residents.

  • Why 3S Money is the best business account solution for non-residents

What is a business bank account? 

Put simply, a business bank account is an account that's used for business transactions. They work in a similar way to personal bank accounts, but often come with extra features. In most cases, business accounts are provided by high-street and international banks. 

Are non-residents legally required to open a UK business account?

There’s no legal requirement for non-residents to open a business account in the UK.

Owners of businesses registered in the UK or those that operate as sole traders are also exempt. However, all limited companies must hold a recognised business account.

What are the benefits of opening a UK business account?


Having a dedicated UK business account is a powerful tool for growth. It helps simplify expenses and streamline money management. This makes it easier for businesses to pay local overheads, salaries, and suppliers.

Plus, using a local business account helps inspire trust and legitimise a foreign business. By having a local business account in your company’s name, you’ll gain credibility and streamline your operations.

Opening a UK business account also helps businesses in the following ways:

  • Safeguard funds and separate them from personal finances.

  • Help businesses save money on foreign exchange.

  • Gain access to local payment networks.

Are UK business accounts safe for non-residents? 


The UK has high business standards and is a world leader in financial services. Non-resident business account holders have the same legal and financial protection as residents.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the UK’s financial services industry. Its role is to protect consumers and keep the industry stable. It also motivates businesses to supply the best possible service for their customers. 

What are the requirements for non-residents to open a UK business account?

The eligibility criteria for a business account will vary between individual providers. With so many choices, it can be difficult for non-residents to make the right decision.

Before applying, all businesses should ensure they have the following in place: 

  • Legal proof of ownership.

  • A registered UK business address.

  • Proof of business registration with Companies House.

  • Up-to-date financial records.

  • Evidence of trading or a robust business plan.

Businesses may also have to present alternative forms of documentation. This can include proof of a live website, social media, and ecommerce activity. Proof of registration with a recognised body may also be required.

What business banking options are available for non-residents?

UK business accounts are available through high-street banks, online banks, and e-money institutions. Taking the time to invest in a suitable account partner is worth doing. A good business account provider will prioritise security, speed, and service. Fintech providers and online banks have created a fairer, more transparent payments landscape.

Can non-residents open a business account without living in the UK?

Yes, it’s possible to open a UK business account without living in the UK. Both high-street and online banks will accept applications from non-residents. However, their approach to compliance and security checks will differ.

High-street banks

Traditional banks such as Barclays and HSBC offer a wide range of business accounts, but the application and approval process can be long and over-complicated. Non-residents may also face stricter compliance checks, increasing the risk of rejection.

Online banks

Online and ‘challenger’ banks have found a gap in the UK business account market. They offer faster, more accessible services at reduced operating costs. Their digital-first approach helps remove many of the accessibility barriers non-residents face. 

At 3S Money, we take things to the next level. We offer advanced business account solutions that combine the best Fintech solutions with the service levels of traditional private banking.

A UK business bank account alternative for non-residents 

3S Money is a bank challenger, not a challenger bank. 

Our International Business Account is the perfect solution for non-resident owners wanting to scale their UK operations. We offer human customer support, with a forward-thinking approach to risk management. This allows us to remove bureaucracy and make decisions quickly. 

Here’s a taste of what we offer:

Local UK & EU IBANs and US account details

With 3S Money, businesses enjoy the benefits of a local bank account, without the hassle. This means faster payments, reduced fees, and instant access to domestic markets.

Human client support

Each 3S Money account comes with a dedicated Client Manager. This means no more call queues, chatbots or automated replies. Situated across five international offices, they provide tailored payment support and local expertise.

Send and receive high-value payments in 190+ countries

Wherever in the world a business operates, 3S Money makes payments possible. With the widest global coverage of any provider, we bring global markets to our clients.

5x cheaper FX rates than traditional banks

We can send, receive, and exchange payments in 65+ currencies. This means that businesses can seamlessly accept customer and supplier payments in local currencies. 

If you’re a non-resident looking to open a UK business bank account, or simply want to learn more about 3S Money contact our friendly Sales team today at [email protected] or +44 (0)2038 079645.

Ready to get started? You can be pre-approved for a 3S Money account in under 15 minutes.