How to start a business in the UK as a non-resident


Are you thinking of starting a business in the UK? You may be wondering if you are able to do this as a non-UK citizen. It may surprise you to find out someone can start a business in the UK. And there is a quantity of Opportunities for non-residents to realize their business dreams.

When you decide to start a business in the UK you are not alone. Britain has one of the largest economies in the world, and many non-residents have taken the opportunity to start their own UK based business.

But before you can get your business off the ground, there are many things to consider. Fortunately, we have put together this handy guide that will show you everything you need to do to start a business in the UK as a non-resident.

Step 1: company name and plan

Before you can think of anything else, your company needs a name. You might already have some ideas for your company name, but if not, there are a few things to consider to get the ball rolling:

  • What is your company doing?
  • What do you offer your customers?
  • Can you describe in one word what you are doing?

After going through these questions, you should be able to find a few different options. Write them down and ask your team or friends and family for their opinion. Pay close attention as they may come up with something perfect.

If you’re struggling to develop a company name, you can work backwards from your business plan. Your business plan gives an overview of what your company will do and how it will be successful. Your business plan should contain information on the following points:

  • The need for your business
  • Your business model
  • Market and competition analysis
  • Financial forecasts.

When creating your business plan, be as detailed and critical as possible as it is a roadmap for the success (or failure) of your company. When you’ve finished your research, you may be on to that Perfect Company name. If you’re still having trouble, you can give it a try Company name generator for inspiration.

Step 2: business address

To Starting a business in the UK as a non-resident, you need a UK address to register your business. This may sound daunting unless you are planning on moving to the UK to start your business, but it’s nowhere near as complicated as it initially seems.

While you will need access to the address, there are ways to work around the problem. One of the easiest ways is to register your business with a family member or friend’s address if you have one in the UK (check with them first). Another possibility is to get a virtual office space with a postal address in someone else’s building. Companies that offer virtual offices forward all incoming correspondence, so you can be sure that you will receive all of your company’s mail.

Step 3: legal structure of the company

One of the most important considerations when starting a business in the UK is the legal structure of your business. Whether you plan to run your business in the UK or another country, the legal form of your business will determine how your business will function. There are several forms of corporate structure to choose from:

  • Partnership – Two or more people start a business and share responsibility and profit.
  • Private Limited Company – A separate legal entity from owners that requires a shareholder and director.
  • Public Company (PLC) – Stocks are publicly available, and PLCs require two directors and a company secretary.
  • Unlimited Company – An unusual form of business in which shareholders are jointly and severally liable for all business debts.
  • Social Enterprise – All profits go to charitable organizations or causes.
  • Unregistered Associations – Usually unregistered non-profit organizations such as community groups.

Although there are several types to choose from, most new businesses choose to become a limited company.

Step 4: Registration with Companies House and HMRC

The process of business registration at Company house as a non-UK resident is no different from that of a UK resident. You must provide the same information and there are no registration fees. You need to provide Companies House with the following information:

  • Company name
  • Business address
  • Shareholder information
  • Founding documents
  • Information about the director

After your registration you have to register for tax purposes with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who will issue you a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). To ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax, you need to keep a record of all of your sales and expenses. If your annual taxable turnover is more than £ 85,000 you will also need to register for Value Added Tax (VAT).

Step 5: other things to consider before starting a UK business

At this stage, you are set up and ready to start trading as a company. However, there are a few other things that you might want to consider before you begin, such as:

  • A UK commercial bank account or a virtual bank account
  • Visa for travel or work in the UK
  • Data protection registrations
  • All the licenses your company needs

These are worth taking the time to consider as they can lead to significant problems later on. Certain industries have specific needs for businesses, so it is always worth researching exactly what you need before starting your business.

Once you have completed all of the above, you are ready to get your business off the ground and make your entrepreneurial dreams come true.


About Nina Snider

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