How to set up a UK company and business account as a non-resident

This article is aimed at anyone interested in UK company formation as a non-resident who also needs a business bank account to manage the company finances separately.

We will not go into too much detail about visas and entitlement to work in the UK – instead we will assume you already have a Type 1 entrepreneur visa, graduate entrepreneur visa or suitable equivalent.

If so, then this gives you the permission you need to set up a UK company as a non-resident, at least for the several years until your visa expires.

By forming a successful company and managing your earnings through a business bank account based in the UK, you can show that you are committed to your new professional life here – and maximise your chances of getting a visa extension or indefinite right to remain in the future.

Choose a UK company structure

You have a few options when forming a company in the UK, including the option of working as a sole trader, although in most cases on an entrepreneur visa, you will probably want to register a company name.

You can register as a limited company with Companies House – you will need a name for your business that is not too similar to others already trading, and you should make sure you know about things like corporation tax that you might have to pay on your profits.

Alternatively, you can register as a partnership. This might be a good option if you are going into business with another entrepreneur, whether they are non-resident too, or a British national.

It’s possible to register a limited company and a partnership with the same name – the only difference would be the letters ‘LLP’ on the end of the partnership name – and to do this you should either be named on both companies, or have permission from the existing company if you want to use their name for a partnership.

Access to UK business banking as a non-resident

Getting a business bank account as a non-resident entrepreneur in the UK isn’t always as easy as it could be. Unfortunately the high street banks may ask for lots of proof of ID, proof of address – including proof of where you will be living in the UK for the long term – and proof of your financial status.

Depending on your visa to be in the UK as an entrepreneur, you might be a very high net worth individual, but you also might be wary of disclosing the details of your finances to a foreign bank just to open an account.

At Arro Money we provide Arro Personal Accounts for everyday household use and Arro Business Accounts for managing company finances, and we don’t ask any awkward questions about your financial status or your credit score.

We also usually don’t need any paperwork or ID documents – we can verify applications from 160 different countries with a simple online check, all without accessing your credit file – and as long as you meet our Fair Fit criteria, live in the UK (even as a non-resident) and are over 18, we guarantee to accept you if we can.

How to get an Arro Business Account

The application process is similar for Arro Personal Accounts and Arro Business Accounts. There’s no need for paper ID or credit checks in either case, there’s no overdraft or any form of lending on the account, and you get a MasterCard® or Business MasterCard® debit card as standard.

All we need is:

  • Your name.
  • Your UK address.
  • Your date of birth.
  • Your contact details (to send your account and card numbers when they are approved).
  • And for business account applications, your company name.

With this we can verify most eligible applications immediately using online databases accurate down to street level for 160 countries of origin – so your nationality should not be an issue.

The only important rule depends on where you live, not your nationality or residency status, so as long as you are currently living in the UK, you can apply – please make sure you have moved to the UK before you try to open your account.

We aim to accept everyone we can, and we would suggest opening both an Arro Business Account for your company finances, and an Arro Personal Account to keep your day-to-day household spending and lifestyle costs separate too.