Set Up UK Operations

How to establish your uK presence.

Set Up UK Operations

Valued at over $3.44 trillion, the UK economy offers exceptional potential for entrepreneurs looking to start up, expand and grow their businesses within a highly developed and globally-focused market.

If you are looking to launch your own business in Britain, you will need to look at both the immigration and company requirements for you to become a part of the UK economy.

There are also a range of incentives to help foreign businesses set up and expand in the UK, making Britain an attractive place to do business.

Visa to start a business in the UK

To start a business in the UK, you need to have the right to work here. This means your immigration status must permit you to live in the UK and to set up and run a UK-based business.

Visa to start a business in the UK

There are two primary routes for foreign nationals to come to the UK to set up a business.

The Start Up route is for individuals coming to the UK to open their first UK-based operation, while the Innovator route has been designed for more experienced business owners.

For both routes, you will first need to secure endorsement from an authorised UK body, whose role it is to assess the quality and viability of the business idea and of the applicant. You will need to draw up a business plan and cash flow forecast to showcase your idea, its credibility and scalability.

If successful in being endorsed, you then apply to the Home Office for your visa and permission to travel to Britain.

Setting up UK-based operations

Opening a business in the UK is relatively straightforward, but there a number of factors to consider and steps you’ll need to follow, from choosing the type of business structure, to finding premises and deciding whether you will need to hire people to help.

Sole traders
It is more straightforward to set up as a sole trader, but you will be personally responsible for the business’s debts. You also have some accounting responsibilities.

Limited companies
If you are setting up as a limited company you will need to appoint directors and a company secretary, work out your shares and shareholders, write your memorandum and articles of association, open a separate bank account and register for corporation tax.

You will need to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax purposes.

Additional rules
Check if there are any additional licences, insurance or other rules for your type of business in the UK. There are also rules you must follow if you sell goods online, buy goods from abroad or sell goods abroad and store or use personal information.

Will you employ people, or take on agency workers or freelancers? You will need to understand your legal duties under UK employment law.

Where you work will also determine responsibilities, such as whether you run your business from home, rent or buy premises, and whether you are liable for business rate.

Will you need to register the trade mark in the UK to stop anyone else from trading under the name?

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