Starting A Business in The UK as A Foreigner

Starting A Business in The UK as A Foreigner

The United Kingdom is one of the few countries with an enormous economy and excellent quality of living. If you’re into entrepreneurship and starting your own business, this is a great place to be. Fortunately, it is open to all residents and non-residents for business.

However, starting a business in the UK as a foreigner might be a little more complicated. To help make things easier, here are what you should know about, do, and consider when planning to start a business in the UK as a foreigner:

●       Checking Your Legality

As mentioned, anybody can start a business in the UK. However, for foreigners, there is a need to be legally qualified before proceeding. One of those legal requirements is a working visa.

Even though you don’t have a working visa, you can still start your business, but you cannot manage or operate on UK soil. You can do either of the following: trade goods under your company name or hire people (residents and foreigners with visas) to work on your behalf.

●       Creating A Business Plan

Now that you are aware of your legal status, it is time to create the business itself. Like all other businesses, plans and models are basic requirements to proceed further. If you lack ideas on making one due to being unfamiliar with the UK’s business environment, you can seek help.

There are downloadable plans and templates from official websites of the UK government. Good research can very much save your time in obtaining the necessary information for moving forward.

●       Deciding The Business Structure

Suppose you decide to run a business on your own. In that case, that is already considered as self-employment, and technically, a working visa is required. If you want a corporation without the need to secure a working visa, hiring people is inevitable.

Whatever business structure you decide, it will depend on your legal status to work in the UK and also your capability to pay the corresponding taxes. Again, you can always ask for help in business matters.

●       Choosing A Company Name and Address

If you want to operate as a sole trader, any business name is possible. For medium to large-scale companies, only those that are limited can register, and fewer can request a trademark due to the many documentations needed.

While it was mentioned that any non-resident could conduct business in the UK, the establishment, however, needs to be registered. The move is not totally business-related, but for being accountable for whatever happens in that location. The registered address can be owned or rented.

Aside from submitting a company name and address records, other documents are necessary like the following:

  • Director Information
  • Shareholders’ Details (if the company is registered for public trading)
  • Memorandum of Association & Articles Of Association

●       Registering with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

Anything that creates an income will be subjected to taxing. Your future business is not excluded, even if you are a foreigner. Although there is no need to get a business bank account, your business needs to be registered with HMRC.

Self-employed will pay taxes similar to that of an employee, while companies are required to register for corporation tax. Furthermore, all businesses are required to register for VAT if the annual turnover is greater than £83,000.

●       Compliance to Other Requirements

Aside from visa and business-related documentation, there are other hurdles you need to overcome. Depending on the nature of your business, you need to secure the appropriate licenses or permits. Also, insurance is definitely needed for almost every aspect of your business (establishment, employee, etc.).


You may have observed that starting a business as a foreigner in the UK has almost no difference compared to starting as a resident. If you want to be recognized as a legitimate business, you need to fulfill all those requirements before proceeding with your operations.

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