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UK Company Formation for Overseas Residents - Information

If you would like to have a trading company with Limited Liability in the United Kingdom but you are not a UK resident, Small Firms Services Limited can provide you with all the support and assistance you require.

How can we help?

SFS have developed a number of specialist packages for non-UK residents based on our years of experience working with overseas clients.

We can assist you with your company formation based on your personal circumstances. Our formation service includes all the documents that you will require to start your limited liability company and includes all costs to Companies House, printing costs and VAT where applicable. There are no hidden charges and we ensure we make the formation process as simple as possible for you.

Meeting UK requirements

In general there are very few legal requirements for overseas clients when forming a limited company. However, you will need to have the following -

UK registered office. This must be an actual address in the UK, not a PO box or similar. We can provide you with a registered office facility in the UK which includes forwarding of all official government mail overseas.

It is a legal requirement for all UK registered companies to have at least two company officers. We appreciate that if you are based overseas and operating your new limited company independently then it may be difficult to arrange for someone else to get involved with the company as they will no doubt be unsure of UK rules and regulations and their personal responsibilities. SFS can help by providing a nominee company secretary which has added benefits.

With SFS acting as nominee company secretary we can take away some of the administrative burden of running your company. We will deal with Companies House on your behalf and file the Company's Annual Return, the cost of which is included in the annual fee. We will also be on hand to offer business advice throughout the year in our role as Nominee Company Secretary.

Legalisation- Apostille of company documents

For UK company documents to be recognised outside of the UK they must be issued with an Apostille certificate. This certificate verifies the UK documents to be legal and removes the need for further proof of authenticity. We provide the service to obtain an Apostille certificate for any document produced in the UK .

We strongly advise you consider ordering this service from SFS at the time of incorporation of your new limited liability company. We offer an exceptional discount on this service if arranged at the same time that your company is formed.

The Apostille can be arranged at a later date but we would normally charge our standard prices. If your company documents do not include an apostille you may experience problems with non-UK authorities in the future. For example non-UK banks or courts will require legalised documents before recognising your company as a legitimate UK entity. This could potentially cause problems and delays that could be damaging to your business.

Delivery of documents

SFS aim to ensure that your company documents reach you in the condition that they leave our offices and in good time. Within most of Europe we use a recorded delivery service that takes 3-5 working days. For Eastern Europe and the rest of the world we recommend DHL delivery is used to ensure delivery within 2-4 days. DHL can also be used to ensure a quick delivery within Europe.


You will receive the following documents -

  • Laminated Certificate of Incorporation, which states your company name, company number, and date of registration.
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association - 4 sets (one sent to Companies House). This is the constitution of the company and states what your company will do and how it will operate. We will provide you with a general commercial trading company allowing you to operate in most types of business.
  • £1000 authorised share capital. We can provide a standard share capital or adjust this to meet your individual needs. Euro share capitals can also be arranged upon request.
  • Bound Register of Members, Directors and Secretaries, Directors Interests, Company charges. This will be completed for you to include the subscribers of the company. Any future changes to officers and members of the company need to be recorded in this.

Where necessary we will also provide the following documents-

  • Form 288a to appoint new director and secretary
  • Form 225 to change the accounting reference date
  • Certificate of Good Standing and first minutes
  • Share transfer forms and 4 share certificates

Our packages have been designed to ensure you receive all the documents you need. You will not need to purchase any further documents or pay any additional charges.

UK Business Bank Accounts

It is recommended all limited companies have their own business bank accounts. It is possible for non-UK residents to open a bank account in the UK but can take longer than it would for a UK resident.

An alternative to opening an account in the UK is to open an account in your own country as it is not a legal requirement for a UK company to have a UK bank account. Many Overseas banks have UK branches in London which may be able to offer banking from a UK branch which can be arranged via your local branch. Some of the larger banks such as Barclays and HSBC operate international banking centre's across the world and are both popular banks in the UK. If you have one of these international banks local to you it may be worth approaching them for assistance.

The success of your application for a business bank account will depend on the company's directors, shareholders and authorised personnel. They must be of good standing with a good financial history that can be verified by the bank. Your country of permanent residence will also be a factor as well as the type of business activity the new company will be involved in.

SFS are not able to arrange bank accounts on behalf of our clients.

Additional services for non-UK residents

Duplicate or re-issue of any official company document - We can arrange for certified copies of documents such as certificates of incorporation or memorandum and articles of association.

Certificates of Good Standing - Overseas authorities may request a current certificate of fact that states your limited company is legitimate and not in liquidation. This certificate can also include details of the company officers, shareholders and registered address.

Dormant accounts - if your UK Limited Company is non-trading and dormant then SFS can prepare the accounts and also process your Annual Return for considerably less than an accountant or tax advisor will charge. Contact us for details.

If you require a service not detailed on this website please send us an email as we may be able to help.

Company Formation Packages

SFS have designed a number of packages to suit everyone's requirements. Please click here to go to our formation costs for non-uk residents. The packages are available to Overseas clients wanting to form a company Limited by Shares, a company Limited by Guarantee or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).

Further information

Please contact us if you have any questions.

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