Opening a company in the UK if you are an Overseas / Non UK Resident

opening a ltd company in the uk

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Can a non-UK resident open a company in UK? What are the benefits of opening a Ltd company in the UK if you are a non-UK resident? What is required to open a Ltd company in UK if you are a non-UK resident? Which documents do you receive after a company is incorporated? Are there any disadvantages of opening a Ltd company in UK if you are a non-UK resident?

Are you looking for answers to all these questions?

Let’s begin by answering the first and most critical question. Yes, a non-UK resident can open a company in UK.

1) Benefits of opening a Ltd company in the UK if you are a Non-UK Resident

It’s a wonderful way to grow your existing business. The advantages of doing so are numerous, including opening up new markets and talent pools plus taking advantage of the favorable tax laws in UK. Some of the most significant benefits of registering as a foreign company, if you are considering opening your business in UK, include the following:

Access new markets

Eg Europe and surrounding countries. The UK serves as a prime gateway. Establishing a presence in UK will allow you to benefit from the UK’s solid ties to significant economies across the world and facilitate trading with European Union nations.

International Appearance for Your Business

Opening a Ltd company in the UK provides an international appearance to your business. You can show that you have a legal corporation in UK while working from anywhere in the world. 

Access new platforms

Opening a Ltd company in the UK paves your path to trade on many new platforms. Access to platforms like Amazon, eBay, and PayPal can be the make and break of your business. If business owners don’t have access to these platforms in their nation, then opening a Ltd company in UK is a perfect fix for their problems.

2) Preparation work needs to be done before opening a company

You must submit an application to register a company in the UK. The procedure is straightforward and identical whether you reside in the UK or are a non-resident. 

Choose the company name.

The selection of the company name and verification that it is available for registration are the first steps to opening a UK company. You can continue the company creation process if the company name is available. If it is already in use, you must change the company name to one that is unique and not in use by anybody else. Certain words are sensitive and cannot be used in the name of your company unless you get prior approval from the relevant body e.g the word Royal cannot be used unless you get consent from the Crown.

Choose Directors

The company must appoint a minimum of one director. You will need to complete the following information for each director:

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth (Must be above the age of 16)
  • Residential address
  • Correspondence address
  • Nationality

Choose Shareholders

One shareholder is the bare minimum requirement to open a UK LTD company. It is typical for shareholders to serve as the directors. It means that by designating oneself as a shareholder and a director, one can independently own and run their business. 

For only £5.99, including VAT, we can form your UK Ltd company for you. 2-minute application process!

Get your ID docs together.

To get your company registered in UK through Icon Offices, we require your ID documents, such as one photo ID and proof of the director’s residential address. To understand more about our ID verification process see here Click here!

3) Can a non-UK Resident be a Director or Shareholder of the company?

Yes, a non-UK resident can be a Director or Shareholder of the company in UK. To establish and manage a Ltd company in UK, one does not need to be a resident or citizen of the country. It is easy for non-residents to complete the entire UK company creation process online without ever having to come to the country.

4) Does at least 1 Director or Shareholder have to be a UK Resident?

No, it is not a requirement for any of the shareholders or directors to be UK Residents. 

5) Application process and turnaround time.

If you have already made the choice of a company name and have all the relevant information ready, filling out the online company formation application will only take a few minutes. Companies House will evaluate and approve the paperwork within 1 working day after we submit it. Even though most applications undergo processing promptly, if Companies House is particularly busy, it may occasionally take longer.

Online Direct company formation at Companies House costs £12. If you make a paper application it costs £40. The application process requires some time, if done by paper. Online applications frequently go through processing within 24 hours. However, the postal application typically takes eight to ten days to process. 

6) Documents that you receive after a company is incorporated

You will obtain numerous important documents for incorporation, including the articles of association and incorporation certificate, among others, as soon as Companies House approves your application to register a new Ltd company in UK. 

Certificate of Incorporation

Companies House will issue a certificate of incorporation shortly after your company is successfully registered. The document includes your unique company registration number with the date of incorporation. Whenever the certificate becomes available, according to the Companies House Act of 2006, it is unmistakable evidence that the company is now legally set up. 

Memorandum of Association

Every subscriber certifies their intention to form a company and join that specific company in this declaration. Every member must agree to take a minimum of one share and be listed on the memorandum of association if the company is limited company by shares. 

Articlea of Association

AOA outlines the law and the ordinance governing how a firm is to function. They outline the rights of shareholders, the procedure for the appointment, dividend payments, dismissal, and authority of corporate executives. 

7) Post company set up

Post the company incorporation process you will receive documents like an Authentication Code, Unique Taxpayer Reference, and activation Code.


Within a few weeks of the company's creation, HMRC will provide a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) for your company. It will be penned at the very top of a letter sent to the address of your business' registered office. The UTR usually comprises of ten digits.

Authentication Code 

Each organisation receives a 6-digit alphanumeric authentication code from Companies House. The code serves as the equivalent of a corporation officer’s signature and serves to authorise information filed online.

8) Disadvantages 

Business bank account for non-UK residents 

To get a business bank account if you are a non-UK resident is a tedious process. All the physical banks do not provide business bank accounts to non-UK residents. Wise and Tide are the only virtual banks to offer business bank accounts to non-UK residents.

Running a business remotely from overseas

Business owners who run businesses remotely from overseas experience vast numbers of problems. Issues like time zone differences, expensive phone calls, language barriers, and posting stock.

Taxation Complications. 

Directors may have to pay tax twice for their company in each accounting year, once in UK and also in their country of residence.

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