Setting up a business in the UK

Working with you to entering the UK market

International market expansion advice

The UK welcomes entrepreneurs, investors and expanding companies from across the world. If you are a non-UK national looking to set up a business here in the UK, there is plenty of UK Government advice, including specific support for overseas enterprises looking to expand into the UK.

However, it’s important at the outset to consult with lawyers and accountants, to determine your immigration status and identify the most financially efficient and effective foundation for your business.

Currently, most EU citizens do not need permission to start a business in the UK, although this is expected to change after the UK/EU transition period ends in January 2021. To start a business as a non-EU foreign national, you will need a working visa and residence permit. There is a wide range of visas available, so it’s important to get the right advice on which is the most appropriate for you.

If you already have an existing business overseas and are looking to establish a branch in the UK, you will need to register with Companies House.

Once you have confirmed your immigration status and your legal ability to run a business in the UK, there are several steps to take to help your business succeed, including:

  • Write a business plan – research the market, and prepare cash flow and profit projections, to confirm that your business proposition can succeed and is sustainable in the UK market; a business plan should be an essential step for every business.
  • Determine the right business structure – you may be considering opening a branch or representative office of an existing company, looking to launch a private or public limited company, or setting up as a sole trader or partnership; each structure has differing tax and legal implications, so it’s important to identify which will be the most appropriate for your business.
  • Choose your business name, your registered business address, and your ‘company officers’ such as the company directors and company secretary (these officers will have certain legal commitments in relation to the company). You will need to register all this information with Companies House.
  • You will need to register with HM Revenue and Customs regarding payment of taxes such as Corporation Tax and VAT, and to confirm your payroll arrangements.
  • You will also need to consider international tax planning – both for your business, and as an individual.

Our expert team has extensive experience working with overseas individuals and companies looking to establish businesses in the UK.

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