Setting up a business in the uK

Everything you need to Know about starting Up in the UK.

Setting up a business in the UK

Valued at over $2.83 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.

A number of new immigration routes have been launched aimed at international business owners as the UK Government looks to grow the country’s skills and asset base across all areas of the economy.

Visa to start a business in the UK: EU citizens

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.

Until 31st December 2020, EU citizens are free to come to the UK without restriction to set up a business. You will, however, need to register under the EU settlement scheme to be able to stay in the UK lawfully after the Brexit transition period ends.

EU citizens coming to the UK after the Brexit transition period ends will need to apply for a visa in the same way as non-EEA nationals.

Visa to start a business in the UK: Non-EU citizens

There are two routes for non-EU citizens 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.

Opening UK operations

As well as securing your visa, you will also need to know what to do to set up your UK-based enterprise.

The UK does not apply any nationality restrictions to owners or managers of UK companies and there are expected to be no significant changes to the process of setting up a company in the UK during the Brexit transition period.

You’ll need to choose a business name and address, and decide which business legal structure is best for your needs, for example, will you register a UK branch of an existing non-UK based company or register a separate legal entity in the UK?

You’ll also need to open a UK business bank account, register with HMRC and you should check if there are additional requirements based on the nature of your UK business, such as licenses, permits or insurance. Any employees you hire must also have the legal right to work in the UK.

How to set up a business in the UK 

To start up you business in Britain, read our comprehensive information, including guidance on which visa is best for circumstances and how to get your UK operations up and running.