UK Bank Account For Non Residents [UK Banking Options]

Opening a UK bank account for non-residents is not the easiest account opening option available.

In fact, UK banks can be very difficult to open with for non-residents if you do not have the correct documentation and don’t know which banks to approach. But, opening as a non-resident is possible.

In this article, we’re going to help you navigate the account opening process and we’ll share an interesting alternative that is easier to access and provides all the same benefits.

Of course, you can also access our library of other free articles, covering topics ranging from expat bank account opening to opening a bank account in Spain as a foreigner.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. UK Bank Account For Non-Residents
  2. Who Can Open Accounts in the UK?
  3. Banking in the UK as a Non-Resident
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

UK Bank Account For Non-Residents

UK bank accounts for non-residents are possible to open. However, the process can be very difficult to navigate if you do not have specific documentation and cannot visit a bank in person. As a result, many non-residents consider opening GBP accounts with UK banks in other banking jurisdictions instead. 

There are many remote opening options for non-residents with prominent banks in countries in Europe, including opening a bank account in Ireland. However, these accounts are domiciled outside of the UK.

This means that non-residents can open a bank account with top UK banks, 100% remotely, without overcoming onerous account opening requirements. The only difference between these accounts and a “UK bank account” is that they are domiciled in a different country.

In most cases, these accounts are domiciled in countries like the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. And, while each country has different account opening restrictions, most non-residents can open accounts in one of these jurisdictions, with top-tier UK banks.

If you’re new to banking in the United Kingdom (or Europe), you also need to understand the difference between a bank and a building society, which you can learn about by clicking this link.

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Who Can Open Accounts in the UK?

Generally speaking, anyone can open accounts in the UK if they are able to meet the account opening requirements. Of course, this does not include individuals from prohibited or blacklisted countries.

Also, it’s worth noting that while the EU and FATF have their own blacklists, the UK also has a blacklist of jurisdictions. If you come from one of these countries you will either be denied outright or the bank will need to conduct enhanced due diligence in order to process your application.

As is the case in many countries, banks do not typically proceed with prospective clients from blacklisted countries unless they appear to be highly profitable. In other words, if you are willing to make a large deposit, invest in bank products and solutions, or generate revenue for the bank through fees.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the client groups that can open in the UK.

Client Groups That Can Open Accounts in the UK

  • Non-residents with proof of address in the UK
  • Non-residents with strong local ties to the UK
  • Non-residents looking to open private bank accounts
  • Non-residents able to apply to UK banks in person

Banking in the UK as a Non-Resident

In this section, we’re going to look at the requirements for opening a UK bank account as a non-resident. We will also share some information on opening accounts for non-resident UK LLPs and UK LTDs.

UK Banking Requirements for Non-Residents

As referenced above, one of the most challenging requirements that non-residents have to overcome is providing a UK address. And, while many online gurus will suggest that you can just get a corporate service provider, these addresses are typically denied.

In fact, this is one of the biggest challenges that non-resident UK LLPs and UK LTDs face when opening accounts as well. Though when it comes to opening business bank accounts there are more options available to navigate these challenges, which we outline in our Advanced Banking Report dedicated to non-resident UK LLPs and UK LTDs.

How to Open a Bank Account With UK Online Banks

When opening a bank account with UK online banks, prospective customers will need to meet the same account opening requirements that are imposed by traditional brick-and-mortar banks. This includes proof of address, tax identification, a local phone number, and more.

With this in mind, opening an account with UK online banks is often as (if not more) difficult than opening one with traditional banks. As a result, many foreign non-residents choose to open with UK banks domiciled outside of the UK. This is often an easier path to opening accounts with UK banks 100% remotely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions we receive from people wondering how to open a UK bank account for non-residents. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Can a Non-Resident Have a UK Bank Account?

Yes, a non-resident can have a UK bank account. However, there are common challenges that many non-residents face when opening an account in the UK. Additionally, opening accounts remotely in the UK as a non-resident is very difficult. Instead, many individuals choose to open accounts in similar jurisdictions that are easier to access.

Can I Open a Bank Account in the UK Without a UK Address?

Generally speaking, you cannot open a bank account in the UK without a UK address. However, there are exceptions. And, while UK banks may require a UK address for bank accounts domiciled domestically, it is possible to open accounts with UK banks outside of the UK. This includes opening accounts 100% remotely.

Can a US Resident Have a Bank Account in the UK?

Yes, a US resident can have a bank account in the UK. In fact, a US resident can have a bank account anywhere in the world if they know which banks to approach. That said, in certain instances, there are restrictions on the accounts that Americans can have. In most cases, these restrictions include limited access to different account types and no investment accounts.

Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

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And “yes!” GlobalBanks Insider is designed to help foreign and non-resident individuals and companies open bank accounts.

You can learn more on the products page from the main menu above.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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