How long does it take to incorporate a company?
Companies House normally register companies between 9.00am and 5.30pm from Monday to Friday and your company will usually be formed within 3 to 6 working hours. This timescale may be subject to change, however, depending upon the workload at Companies House.
If it is vital that your company be incorporated on the same day or as quickly as possible, however, then we recommend adding the additional Same Day Service to your order on the checkout page (subject to its availability from Companies House). Please note that Same-Day Applications must be submitted before 2.30pm Monday - Friday.
What is a Registered Office Address?
All UK companies are required by law to have a registered office address, which is the official address for all correspondence from government agencies such as Companies House and HMRC.
This address must be a physical postal address, not just a PO Box number. The company's address will be placed on public record and must be displayed on all company stationery and websites.
You may choose as a Registered Office Address either:
What is a Limited Company?
Most people require a standard limited company, since this is suitable for nearly all types of trading.
A limited company is a form of business which is legally separate from its owners (shareholders) and managers (formally called directors). Even if a limited company involves only one person as its sole shareholder and director it remains, in law, a legal entity which is separate and distinct from that person.
The company can enter into contracts, and can also be sued, in its own right. The owner/s of the company is/are protected by “limited liability”, hence it is a “limited” company. Apart from a case of fraud or other serious wrongdoing, the owners are liable for the debts of the business only up to the value of their original investment in the business.
There are three main types of limited company in the UK:
What name can I use for my company?
The name of your company cannot be the same as that of another registered company. Whatever name you choose, however, Companies House requires that a limited company has at the end of its name either “Limited” or, in its abbreviated form, “Ltd.” (there is no difference between the two apart from how they appear on paper).
Some words are never allowed in a company name and other words may be used only if they meet specific criteria or permissions. For example, you may not use the word "charity" without the permission of the Charity Commission. Companies House regulates the use of all sensitive words and your company will not be registered if the requirements are not met.
You can use our name search tool to check whether a company name is available. This links with a government database of registered company names to find whether the limited company name that you would like to use is available at Companies House.
For further information please read our article: What name can I use for my company?
Who is a Director?
Company directors are the people responsible for the day-to-day running of a company. Anyone who is above the age of 16 may be a company director. If the company breaks the law then you, as a director, may be held accountable.
The powers and responsibilities of a director are defined in the company's Articles of Association. Usually, the same person can be both a shareholder and a director of a company.
Who is a Shareholder?
Shareholders are the owners of a company. They own shares in the company which entitle them to receive a percentage of the company’s profits. Most shareholders also have a say in important company issues, such as the appointment of new directors.
A company shareholder can be a person, a group of people, a partnership, another company or any other kind of legal entity or corporate body.
What information must I provide to form my company?
You must provide a company name and personal information about directors, shareholders and PSCs (persons with significant control) such as address, date of birth and nationality. You must also give us your company address.
For further information, please read our Required Information Page.
Do I need to supply proof of ID?
As a company formation agent we must follow “Know Your Customer” (KYC) requirements and obtain our customers’ proof of identity and address.
If you are a UK resident then we will perform a digital check of your ID and address using the information that you have provided in your company order form. In 90% of cases our customers successfully pass our digital ID checks.
If you are not eligible for our digital ID check, or you do not pass our digital ID check, then we will send you by e-mail a special request that you provide the necessary information and documents. For more information, please see our ID requirements.