With the GDP growing gradually, it makes sense to establish a company to do business in the UK. It has been ranked among the best places in the world to establish your business thanks to its strong consumer market and business-friendly environment. 

It can prove tough to deal with the complexities of company formation as an investor seeking to form a company from outside the UK. But with guidance, it’s achievable, and your business could be running in a few months.  

This seven-step plan can be helpful with everything from picking a business name to finally starting the new venture. Keep reading to learn how to do it right! 

1. Decide the Company Type

Registering A UK Company From Abroad: Decide the Company Type 
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The first step in your plan to register a UK company from abroad is deciding the kind of business you want. This decision impacts everything from what taxes to pay to the required documents, permits and even obligations. 

In the UK, you can establish an overseas company as: 

Branch: When you’re seeking to expand your company and penetrate the UK market, a branch is the ideal option. Though an arm of the primary company, the branch is subject to UK laws. Additionally, even if you rename it, the parent company is still obligated to meet the branch’s liabilities.  

Subsidiary: Forming a subsidiary company is a nice option if you want to protect the parent company from liability since it is an independent legal entity. 

2. Pick a Business Name

Once you choose a business type, you are onto an interesting part- choosing a name. The company name is required to comply with certain rules and regulations to be acceptable. 

These are: 

  • It should be unique and not duplicate or sound like an existing name 
  • It should have “Limited” at the end. If based in Wales, you can use ‘Cfy’ or ‘Cyfyngedig’ 
  • It should not suggest affiliation with the government 
  • It should not have characters, punctuation marks, symbols and signs that are not approved 
  • It should not contain sensitive words not approaches 
  • It should be free from any offensive words 
  • It should not have 
  • It cannot exceed 180 characters 
  • It should not have ‘www’ at the start 

You can use a company name search tool online to check the availability of potential names.  

3. Find A UK Service Address

Find A UK Service Address
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Businesses operating in the UK need to have a registered service address in the UK. The company directors are also required to provide their addresses for public display. But instead of registering your own address, you can rent a virtual office or use a registered agent’s. Using an agent is the easiest way to comply with this requirement.  

4. Appoint Company Directors

By law, limited companies should have a director in charge of the company. The director, a natural person and not another company, ensures the company operates legally and decides on the owner’s behalf.  

These are some of the qualifications that potential directors should meet: 

  • Be at least 16 years old 
  • Should have a UK-registered service address 
  • Should not be disqualified from holding such an office 
  • Should not be an auditor to the company 
  • Should not be declared bankrupt 

Remember, the appointment procedure is listed under the company’s articles. As such, the decision can be arrived at through the board. 

Once you have found a qualified individual to occupy the director post and they consent to the appointment, it’s time to prepare documentation. 

5. Get the Necessary Registration Documents

As an overseas company, you must submit certain certified copies to Companies House to register as an establishment.  

Here are the copies of the required documents: 

  • Filled form OS IN01 and the applicable filing fee. 
  • Certified constitutional documents; certificate of incorporation, articles of association, memorandum of association etc.  
  • Current statement of company accounts and required accounting documents.
Get Necessary Registration Documents
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6. Get Licenses

Any company operating in the UK must get the necessary business licenses. Most of the licenses are based on your industry and your business activities. That means a wide range of licenses could apply to your business, from premises to environmental permits. The rules could also vary for businesses operating in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. 

It’s advisable to contact the UK Government support through the official website for better clarity.  

7. Create a Bank Account

While you are not required to open a UK bank account to operate, it makes conducting business transactions seamless and could even mean fewer fees. Fortunately, its possible to open one only that you have to undergo a verification process. 

As part of the anti-money laundering regime, UK financial institutions must do their due diligence. Usually, 10-25% of shareholders must provide proof of identity and home address. They can do this with a government-issued ID, passport, or UK driving license. For proof of address, utility bills or recent bank statements are required.  


Registering a UK company from abroad can be frustrating for someone unfamiliar with the UK system. As such, your application could end up declined, or the process could drag, taking longer than expected.

Don’t let your company’s future hang in the balance by following these 7 steps. This guide takes you through the important steps taking away the stress from the process. For an even smoother process, consult an expert.

Once you register your company, you always want to comply with the regulations. Also, be sure to offer quality services and provide the best experience to your customers to guarantee your business success.

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