Guide

Locate your business in the UK

Registering an overseas company in the UK

You must register an overseas company in the UK and register certain documents with Companies House if it:

  • sets up a place of business in the UK
  • usually carries out business from a physical location in the UK

You should be aware that certain types of company cannot register as an overseas company in the UK. These include partnerships and unincorporated bodies.

An overseas company registering in the UK must register its corporate details and the details of any UK establishments that it has set up.

How to register

All overseas companies who want to operate in the UK can register as a 'UK establishment'.

Within one month of opening, you must provide Companies House with:

If you are registering the company's first UK establishment, you should also deliver to Companies House:

  • A certified copy of the company's constitutional documents - eg charter, statute, memorandum and articles of association - with a certified translation in English if the original is in a language other than English.
  • A copy of the company's latest set of accounts - with a certified translation in English if the original is in a language other than English - if they are required to be filed under parent law. There are different accounting requirements depending on whether the company was registered in a European Economic Area (EEA) or non-EEA state.

If you are registering a further UK establishment of an overseas company, you should complete and submit to Companies House form OS IN01. However, you don't need to resubmit the additional documents detailed above. It may instead state in the return that they have been delivered in respect of another UK establishment, giving the registered number of that establishment.

Naming your company

Naming restrictions for overseas businesses depend on whether:

  • you are registering under the overseas business' corporate name - ie its name under the law of the country it is incorporated in - or an alternative name
  • the overseas company is in the EEA

An EEA company may register its corporate name provided that the name is only made up of permitted characters.

However, you should check the index of company names maintained at Companies House if you want to avoid registering one which is the same as an existing company.

EEA companies registering under alternative names and all non-EEA companies, are subject to a range of name controls and restrictions. Find out more about choosing and registering a company name.