Registration of a Foreign Company in the United Kingdom

Registration of a Foreign Company in the UK Get to know the fundamentals of registration of a foreign company in the UK from 3E Accounting.

The United Kingdom is a long-established business hub and preferred gateway to Europe. With its open and vibrant business culture, business in the UK facilitates access to a diverse international market. It holds pole position in Europe according to the World Bank ease of doing business. The registration of a foreign company in the UK is an excellent opportunity to create a global business footprint.


Registering With Companies House

Aside from visa requirements for employees, all foreign or overseas businesses in the UK must be:

  • Registered as a UK establishment with the Companies House.
  • Registered for taxes with HMRC.
  • Registered for insurance, where necessary.

Entities can take the form of a Branch or a Subsidiary of the foreign company. Unincorporated companies or partnerships are not permitted to be established as a foreign company in the UK.

Before registering your entity, it is crucial to understand the difference between a Branch and a Subsidiary. The main distinctions are:

  • Branch: registered as a foreign entity and establishes a physical presence in the UK of foreign business. Annual accounts are of the foreign company. Liability is borne by the foreign company, and winding up process is easy.
  • Subsidiary: creates a separate legal identity and files its own accounts. Liability lies with the subsidiary and winding-up process must follow UK regulations.

Both types of entities must be registered with details of its “UK presence’ as well as all corporate information. A UK presence occurs when the foreign company establishes and carries out business activities from any physical location in the UK.

The registration process must be done within a month of setting up a business. You will need to submit Form OS IN01 to the Companies House along with the registration fees. If you already have a registered UK establishment, you will need to provide its registered number. Otherwise, all first-time registration will require the submission of certain documents. These must be certified copies and translated into certified copies in English where necessary:

Constitutional Documents: these are the articles of association, memorandum of association, charter, etc.
Financial Statements: the latest set of accounts. The type of accounts, audits and its Accounting Standards will depend on whether the company is from the European Economic Area (EEA) or non-EEA country.

The Companies House must also be notified within 21 days of any changes to:

  • Business activities
  • Name and address
  • Constitutional documents
  • Details of officers of the company especially directors and authorised representatives


Naming Rules

The UK has complex rules when it comes to naming your business or company. As far as foreign companies are concerned, you should be aware of several restrictions. An EEA company can carry on using its corporate name provided it uses permitted characters. If an alternate name is used or if it is a non-EEA country, it must not contravene Companies House naming rules.

A sign with the company name and the country it is incorporated in must also be displayed at the business premises. The company name must also be included in all official correspondence. All these rules may change subject to post-Brexit amendments. Hence, it is advisable to do some research or engage company incorporation specialists such as 3E Accounting to assist in this.

While these regulations currently apply, post-Brexit rules may institute amendments to the company registration process, fees, etc. Engaging company incorporation experts like 3E Accounting in the registration of a foreign company in the UK would be a smart move. 3E Accounting provides customisable business solutions that can help you establish your business in the UK seamlessly. Contact 3E Accounting today to work with global experts with years of industry experience.

Registration of a Foreign Company in the UK