We’ve talked about how to open a UK bank account for non-residents, expats, and even foreign business owners in the past. But, we haven’t discussed the importance of having an account in the UK when living abroad. Nor, have we discussed how to properly manage UK bank accounts from overseas.
So, we thought it would be helpful to outline the important elements you should consider when opening accounts in the UK when living abroad. That way, you can learn how to maintain your account without having to pay unnecessary fees or have your account frozen.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Can I Have a UK Bank Account When Living Abroad?
- Who Can Have a UK Bank Account When Living Abroad?
- What Are the Benefits of Having a UK Account When Living Abroad?
- What Are the Challenges of Having a UK Account When Living Abroad?
- How Do I Keep My Bank Account Opened?
- Frequently Asked UK Banking Questions
- Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?
Can I Have a UK Bank Account When Living Abroad
Having a UK bank account when living abroad is possible for both foreigners and UK expats. Likewise, both foreign and non-resident UK companies can have a UK bank account. However, the available options and difficulty in opening accounts will vary greatly depending on your account requirements and client profile.
Bottom line: Yes, it’s possible to have an account in the UK when living abroad.
In fact, we help foreign non-residents, expats, and foreign business owners open bank accounts in the UK while living abroad all the time.
In this article, we’ll share how to properly manage your UK bank account while living abroad.
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Who Can Have a UK Bank Account When Living Abroad?
Before knowing whether or not banking in the UK is right for you, many factors need to be considered.
- Where are you currently living?
- What is your UK bank account being used for? (e.g. personal or business)
- How often do you use your UK bank account?
- What fees are being charged to your UK bank account?
- Do you earn income in the UK?
- Do you own assets in the UK?
- Are you sure you absolutely need an account in the UK?
These questions may seem unimportant. But, depending on your answers, it can determine whether or not it makes sense for you to have an account in the UK when living abroad.
Generally speaking, there are four client groups who are typically interested in banking in the UK when living abroad.
- UK Expats Living Abroad
- Foreign Non-Residents Living Abroad
- Non-Resident Owners of Non-Resident UK Companies
Let’s take a further look into why these client groups are interested in having a UK bank account when living abroad.
1. UK Expats
Having an expat bank account when living abroad can make sense for a few reasons.
- Receiving income from a UK company but are working abroad
- You have personal expenses in the UK
- Investing in the UK through UK brokerages or GBP-denominated accounts
- You require access to specific money transfer or financial services
- Require diversification away from local currencies where you work
Expats can unlock many benefits when holding an account in the UK while living abroad. We cover these benefits and more below.
Let’s first uncover the reasons why foreign non-residents are interested in having an account in the UK when living abroad.
2. Foreign Non-Residents
For foreign residents, having an account in the UK may make sense if you work for a UK company.
But that’s not all.
We list four additional reasons below.
- Receive payments from a UK employer
- You have a UK pension plan
- Own property in the UK
- You have UK investments
As you can see, there are many reasons why foreign non-residents have an account in the UK when living abroad.
Now, if you’re a non-resident business owner, your reasons are going to be slightly different. More on this below.
3. Non-Resident Business of Non-Resident UK Companies
As the owner of a non-resident UK company, having an account in the UK when living abroad can be useful for many reasons.
- You have employees working remotely in the UK
- Sell to UK customers
- You have contractors or suppliers based in the UK
- You’re looking to expand to the UK in the near future
- Or, you need a local account to pay local expenses
Having an account in the UK when living abroad can help avoid transaction fees when sending payments to employees from another country. Not to mention, make it easier to pay local contractors and suppliers.
Of course, whether having an account in the UK when living abroad makes sense, will highly depend on your banking requirements.
For instance, if you have personal expenses, work for a UK company, or own a UK company, then having a UK bank account when living abroad makes sense.
That said, it’s important to revert back to the questions outlined above in this section to help determine if banking in the UK is right for you.
And, if it’s not, there are other banking options to consider instead.
In fact, GlobalBanks can help – more specifically, GlobalBanks IQ.
GlobalBanks IQ helps foreign and non-resident individuals (and their businesses) open international accounts around the world.
In fact, when you join GlobalBanks IQ, you’re not only getting access to our GlobalBanks Database of over 250+ international banks but also full access to our premium members-only reports.
These reports outline everything you need to know when opening international bank accounts. Including, account opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.
That said, if you’re set on having an account in the UK when living abroad, it’s important to be aware of the challenges you’ll face. But first, let’s look at the benefits you can tap into.
What Are the Benefits of Having a UK Account When Living Abroad?
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, expats, residents, and non-resident business owners are interested in having an account in the UK because of the benefits it can offer.
Of course, the specific benefits that one client group may unlock may be completely different from the next client group.
So, depending on your client profile, banking needs, and where you’re living abroad, the benefits available to you will vary.
Benefits of Banking in the UK
- Access to GBP currency
- Diversification away from local-country currencies and economies
- Access to specific financial services and transfer services
- Able to manage any financial obligations in the UK
- A way to reduce transaction fees when paying UK bills
- Access to payment processing for UK companies
So, whether you’re an expat looking for diversification, a business owner looking to reach UK customers, or a foreign non-resident looking to access UK banking benefits, having an account in the UK when living abroad can be attractive.
That said, as mentioned, the benefits will depend on your specific client profile and banking requirements. But, it’s also important to determine whether having an account in the UK is worth it for you. To help you decide, you need to know if you can overcome the challenges you’ll likely face when having an account in the UK.
What Are the Challenges of Having a UK Account When Living Abroad?
When it comes to having an account in the UK, you’re going to face challenges as a non-resident. No matter what client group you fit into.
For instance, if you’re a UK expat living abroad and you’ve decided to keep your UK bank account so you’ll have one upon your return, you must keep the account active.
In fact, if you fail to continue using the account when living abroad, whether it’s to make payments, send transactions, or receive funds, you’re increasing the chances of having your account frozen.
Likewise, if you’re unable to meet account requirements such as holding the required minimum balance, you’re going to end up paying monthly account fees. And, these fees can rack up quickly. Especially, if you’re not actively using your account or ensuring you have sufficient funds in it.
But, if you’re interested in learning how to manage your account in the UK when living abroad, you’re in luck. More on this below.
For now, let’s look at additional challenges you’ll likely face when having an account in the UK.
Challenges of Banking in the United Kingdom
- Chance of having your account frozen if the account isn’t active
- In-person meetings may be necessary to re-active accounts
- Account fees can become expensive (maintenance, monthly, etc.)
- Foreign transaction fees will likely apply (if applicable)
- And more
Again, it’s important to be aware of the possible challenges you’ll face as it could jeopardize your chances of keeping your account open.
That said, let’s look at how residents, expats, and non-resident business owners can manage their UK bank accounts.
How Do I Keep My Bank Account Opened?
As we mentioned above, banking in the UK can be a challenge if not managed properly.
So, to avoid facing these challenges, there are a few important questions you need to consider.
First, should you inform your bank that you have moved abroad?
This is an important question. And, the answer depends on how long you plan to live abroad, whether you maintain your current address, and how you plan on using your account.
If you do not plan on telling your bank that you have moved abroad, you may not be able to access your online banking without the use of a UK IP address via a VPN.
Of course, if your bank has policies against using a VPN or servicing accounts of individuals living overseas, you could have your account closed.
Likewise, if the bank notices that you are logging in to your account online from abroad, they may freeze transactions for security purposes. This can often require you to show up to the bank in person, in order to unlock the account.
Now, if you’re interested in having an account in the UK when living or moving abroad but you haven’t yet opened an account, you’re in luck. We detail everything you need to know in the articles listed below.
Free UK Account Opening Articles
However, if you’re a non-resident UK business owner and you need to open an account, we have something just for you.
We detail everything you need to know, including the entire account opening process for non-resident UK companies in our premium members-only report, UK Banking for Non-Resident UK LLPs & UK LTDs.
Frequently Asked UK Banking Questions
Below are two of the most common questions we receive from people exploring how to have a UK bank account when living abroad. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Can I Keep My UK Bank Account if I Live Abroad?
Yes, you can keep your UK bank account if you live abroad as long as your bank allows you to do so. While most banks do allow you to hold your account in the UK when you live abroad, some banks may charge outrageous international fees when using your account abroad. It’s important to understand these fees before deciding whether or not to keep your account when moving abroad.
Can I Have a UK Bank Account Without a UK Address?
Yes, you can have a UK bank account without a UK address as long as you choose the right bank and have a suitable client profile. That said, opening an account without proof of a UK address or UK phone number can be very challenging. You need to know which banks, branches, and bankers to approach.
Can I Have a UK Bank Account if I Live in the USA?
Yes, you can have a UK bank account if you live in the USA as long as you choose the right bank, meet the bank’s account opening requirements, and have a suitable client profile. That said, not all banks in the UK accept US applicants. So, bank selection will be an important factor to consider when applying to open an account in the United Kingdom.
Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?
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