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Legal Must-Haves To Start A Small Business in the UK as an Immigrant

Legal must-haves to start business in the UK as an immigrant


In a world where innovation drives economies forward, the UK is a perfect place for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality. Proving this stance, the US News & World Report’s Best Countries for Entrepreneurs report ranks the UK as the fourth-best country globally for fostering entrepreneurial endeavors. This recognition underscores the nation’s commitment to nurturing innovation and enterprise.

Although the UK provides a rich ground for company development, the process of starting a firm here may be complicated, especially for individuals who are Immigrants. Hence, this article will explain the insights of beginning a company as an immigrant entrepreneur in the UK.

Types of Legal Businesses in the UK

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Firstly, to start a business in the UK, one must ensure that the nature and type of the business must be lawful. The legal business structure will affect many elements of the company, including taxes, personal responsibility, and the amount of administrative labour one must complete. Following are the types of legal business in the UK one can go for:

Sole Trader

The simplest method to establish a company in the UK is to become a sole trader. This legal structure enables you to own the company on your own. This business categorization includes freelancers and self-employed persons in the UK. One needs to register the sole trader business with Companies House. For the same, one needs to have a National Insurance number and HMRC for self-assessment registration.

As a sole proprietor, you must document your income and expenditures, file a self-assessment tax return annually, pay income tax, and pay for national insurance classes 2 and 4.


A partnership is the simplest method for two or more people to do business. The obligations of a partnership business structure are identical to those of a sole trader, with the difference that you have one or more company partners. When you start a partnership, you must have a legal agreement outlining the agreed-upon share of profits, losses, liabilities, and ownership.

You must also register with HMRC, and both parties must participate in the registration process.

Private Limited Company(Ltd)

By establishing this limited business, you separate your business’s legal entity from yourself and the others who administer it. A limited corporation is formed by registering it with Companies House. These limited shares cannot be traded publicly.

Private Limited Company (PLC) 

The distinction between a PLC and a Ltd company is that PLC shares may be traded publicly. A minimum capital share of £50,000 is needed, with at least 25% paid before the company is formed. This company structure provides you with a variety of benefits. A private limited corporation helps you to handle your taxes more efficiently.

For instance, as a director of the company, you can get dividends as a source of income. You may reduce your taxable income by doing this.

To comply with the law and form a Private Limited Company, you must have a board of directors and pay taxes as an employee and a director.

Process to Start a Business in the UK

For foreign individuals aspiring to initiate a business in the UK, the journey entails a series of essential steps to follow:

Legal Status of the Individual

The EU Settlement Scheme may allow EU individuals who lived in the UK before January 1, 2021, to establish a commercial presence in the UK. However, other foreigners and immigrants would need a work visa.

Apply for a Visa

One should apply for the visa if they are not resident UK members who want to start their own business -:

  1. Innovator Visa: Foreign Entrepreneurs wishing to carry out an innovative company concept in the UK must get an innovator visa. The concept must be practical, distinct from anything else on the market, and supported by an authorized agency or institution. A severe criterion for obtaining this visa is that you have access to £50,000 in investment capital with evidence of the source. Before you apply or switch to it, the immigration office asks you to have £1,270 in your account for the previous 28 days to sustain yourself. Another criterion is that you can communicate in English at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  2. Start-up Visa: The Startup Visa has the same conditions as the Innovator Visa; your concept must be original and distinctive in the market. However, there is no need for a minimum investment of money. You must have had a minimum balance of £1,270 in your account over the previous 28 days before applying. You must also attain B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  3. Global Talent Visa: Global talent visas are available to highly qualified or experienced people in the following sectors: academics or research, digitized technology, and arts and culture. It must be approved by the competent authorities to verify one’s expertise or leadership in any of the sectors above. One may stay five years on this visa.

Create a Business Plan

Before establishing your company with Companies House, one must first decide on its legal structure. The Private Company Limited by Shares is the most frequent form entrepreneurs use.

Open a Business Bank Account

Non-British nationals or Foreigners are not required to open a UK business bank account. However, registering for a UK bank account saves money on money movement and local trade taxes. International transfer fees may wipe out profits, so receiving money in your home bank account is inefficient.

Decide Company Name and Address

As a sole trader, one may use your name. The address is needed to register your UK business for tax and company registration. Few firms must register their names, but others might do so as a trademark to prevent others from doing so.

Register with HM Revenue and Customs

Each year, you must register with HMRC to pay corporate tax. A corporation must submit its taxes to HMRC on time. When you register a business, you get a unique tax reference (UTR) number that you may use for tax purposes.

Get Inusrance for the Business

After opening your UK company, get company insurance. Business insurance protects you in volatile UK markets. Insurance gives you peace of mind knowing you’ll be supported if anything goes wrong. Business insurance is optional, but if you’re inexperienced with UK processes, it might be helpful.

How Long Does Registering a Company in the UK as A Foreigner Take?

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Depending on one’s business activities, one may register a corporation within 24 hours. To take advantage of same-day registration, submit an application to the House Companies before 3 p.m. However, if you want to save most of the legal work, you may employ a business formation agency.

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on January 31, 2020, businesses (European entities founded under EU law, UK firms with a cross-border merger, UK companies with an EEA corporate officer, and EEA corporations) may be required to amend their company registration on January 1, 2021.

Benefits Of Starting a Business in the UK As A Foreign National

Access to European Markets

UK businesses have significant access to the European market. Europe is one of the world’s largest marketplaces, with 500 million clients. UK companies export £16 billion to Europe yearly. Starting a company in the UK is a terrific way to access this huge market.

Skilled Workforce

A trained staff is another advantage of conducting business in the UK. UK companies may tap into a large talent pool of over 30 million professionals. Also, UK university graduates have a high employment rate in Europe.

Low Taxes

UK corporate tax rates are also favourable for new businesses. Their 20% company tax rate is lower than many European nations. Companies in Research & development and environmental protection areas get several tax breaks and exemptions. This makes it appealing to tax-avoidant enterprises.


In conclusion, starting a small company in the UK as an immigrant involves legal knowledge and a lot of compliance. Legal must-haves may set the stage for your business’s success and sustainability. Immigrant entrepreneurs may build a strong firm by carefully examining visa type, business structure, registration procedures, tax duties, and employment rules.

Legal compliance guarantees your company runs efficiently and establishes reputation and trust in the community and among prospective consumers. Therefore, following the legal requirements, you may position your small company for development and success in the UK, a rich field for varied skills and ideas.

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