Can a non-UK resident open business in London?


Hi to all. Can you tell me whether I, a non-UK resident, can open a company business is London? I do not yet know the company type for which I seek, but just generally I am wanting to know. Thanks to you now.



Hi there,

Yes, you can set up a UK limited company as a non-UK resident. You can complete the registration application online through Companies House or a formation agent, so there is no need to actually travel to the UK or sign any paperwork in person.

You can manage your company from anywhere in the world but you and your company will be subject to UK taxation. If you want to reside in the UK to run your business you will need to apply for a business visa.

Starting a UK business as a non-resident is a complex situation so I would suggest speaking to an experienced accountant or lawyer before making any decisions.

2 years ago

You can establish a limited company in the UK quite easily, but as for non-resident, everything else will be very complicated. HMRC will most probably refuse your application for the VAT but without VAT you cannot do certain things, for example you cannot trade online with other EU countries since at least you will need VAT MOSS registration. HMRC sees no contradiction in this requirement combined with their paranoid approach to VAT registrations. For comparison, in The Netherlands you are automatically registered for VAT as you establish a limited company. Another trap is the UK banks that combine being paranoid about anything that does not fit their template, and poorest customer service of all. Even the UK government authorities are better at customers service than the UK banks. Being non-resident, you will either end up paying big bucks to someone who helps you to open a business account (I have seen offers of £500 and I know they really do it), or you spend lots of time and effort yourself but be prepared to get rejections from everyone.

a year ago

Hi Rachel,

We're Swiss and are considering your services to open a limited.

You wrote "[..] but you and your company will be subject to UK taxation.". Can we however activate double taxation agreements the avoid the latter if we operate from another country(e.g. Swiss-UK)? In the same vein, can we activate UK MOSS while operating from abroad (e.g. Switzerland)?

Finally, you answered that we could set up a limited from abroad. Can you confirm you can open up the UK address that is required as part of the formation?

Many thanks in advance!

2 years ago

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