Set up a company in the UK

    You can set up a private limited UK company online in just 24 hours, or register a branch of your existing company in up to 4 weeks.

    Register (incorporate) a company in the UK

    By incorporating a company, you’ll create a separate legal entity in the UK, which is known as a private limited company.

    The process to register (incorporate) a private limited company in the UK is straightforward and typically takes less than 24 hours.

    Before you start the process, you’ll need:

    • a name for the company
    • an address, which can be any UK address, to act as the registered address of the company
    • at least one director (does not need to be UK resident)
    • at least one shareholder (can be corporate or an individual)

    A UK company must have a Memorandum and Articles of Association. These documents must be in place at the time of incorporation. You can select standard documents at the date of incorporation, or professional advisers can prepare and file tailored documents on your company’s behalf.

    While it is not a legal requirement to have a UK resident director or shareholder to set up a UK company, many banks will prefer this before they will open a UK business bank account for your business.

    Register a UK branch of a foreign company

    By registering a branch in the UK, a foreign company does not create a separate legal entity but is registering a foreign entity to do business in the UK. A branch does not offer the limited liability benefits that come with a UK company.

    This is known as the registration of a UK establishment of an overseas company.

    It will take longer to register a UK branch because the foreign registering company must submit additional documents and information to Companies House. The review process for this can take up to 4 weeks.

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