What is a certificate of incorporation?


I’ve been looking into starting up a company so I’ve been doing lots of research on various websites to see how to do it. I’ve noticed they all mention the certificate of incorporation, which you apparently receive when your company has been registered. What is this certificate and why do I get one?



A certificate of incorporation is a document issued by Companies House (the UK registrar of companies) to proves that your company is officially registered and exists as a legal entity. It will state the following information:

  • Registered name of the company
  • Registration number
  • Date of incorporation
  • Country of incorporation (England and Wales, Wales only, Scotland, or Northern Ireland)
  • Legal structure of company - limited by shares, limited by guarantee, limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • Incorporating legislation - i.e. the Companies Act 2006, the LLP Act 2000
  • Issuing Registrar - Companies House Cardiff, Edinburgh or Belfast
  • Companies House official seal

Certificate of Incorporation

You will receive a PDF certificate if you register your company online. A paper certificate will be posted to you if you set up your company using Companies House paper incorporation form IN01.

You may have to produce this certificate when you apply for a business bank account or loan, if you want to see shares in the company or if you wish to sell the business. Please keep it safe. If you lose it, you can access a scanned copy through Companies House beta service.

a year ago

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