International company registration

Companies expanding their operations across state lines may be subject to the new state’s registration or “foreign qualification” requirements. Business owners, managers, and advisors need to understand this requirement because there are penalties if the company doesn’t comply. Registering your company in a country is compulsory to have the right or privilege to operate or run that business. The registration process of a company will depend on the type of company or requirements of the Company Registry.

Issues related to International company registration

What is International company registration?

International company registration involves the process of registering a business entity in a foreign country. It raises various legal issues, such as compliance with the foreign country’s laws and regulations. It requires proper research and understanding of the legal framework of the country where the company plans to register. The company must also comply with international laws and regulations that govern business operations across borders, such as trade and investment laws, tax laws, and labor laws. Failure to comply with these laws can lead to legal disputes and penalties, including fines and imprisonment.


Companies expanding their operations across state lines may be subject to the new state’s registration or “foreign qualification” requirements. Business owners, managers, and advisors need to understand this requirement because there are penalties if the company doesn’t comply. Registering your company in a country is compulsory to have the right or privilege to operate or run that business. The registration process of a company will depend on the type of company or requirements of the Company Registry.

What are the penalties for not registering your business?

If a company transacts business in a state without registration, it can be penalised by the state. Often, a fine is imposed. In addition, under some state statutes, the people doing business on behalf of the non-complying company can be fined too. In addition, the state can prevent the company from bringing a suit or proceeding in the state’s courts until it qualifies. This is called the “door closing” provision. The states close the courthouse doors because they don’t think a foreign company should benefit from the aid of a state’s courts in enforcing its rights when it is (a) violating state law and (b) not paying its fair share. The requirements stated below are not a restricted or complete list of a particular jurisdiction but are the most general trading company (or new company incorporation) requirements. They include: Registered address certificate; Directors’ certificate; Shareholders’ certificate; Secretary’s certificate; Passport copies of the shareholders (must be notarised); Apostille copies of constitutive documents; The Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company (must be notarized); Excerpts from the first Meeting of the board of directors; Company’s chosen name with approval from the Company Registry; Bank statement indicating the deposit of the share capital of the business; The use of nominee service is allowed.

How much does it cost to register a company?

The registration cost depends on the company’s form and the country’s requirements. However, the total cost usually starts at $400 (depending on the jurisdiction); it includes the preparation of legal documents, company registration, payment of all taxes and fees at the registration time, and the company’s legal address for (one) year.

What is a company registration number?

A company registration number is a unique number issued when the Company Registry of that jurisdiction incorporates a limited company or limited liability partnership. A company registration number (CRN) is issued by the relevant Company Registry of a particular country after the company’s incorporation. 

Famous countries for international business registration:

International businesses set up are popular in international trade. Usually, international businesses would like to set up their company in Uk, China, Us, and South Africa:

Company registration in the UK

It may come as a surprise, but anyone of any nationality can start a business in the UK. You don’t need residential status or living in the country. The only stipulation is that the company must be registered to a UK address. Incorporation costs in Year 1 amount to £1,450, and annual company costs in Year 2 and after that amount to £600. The average fee per UK company registration engagement amounts to £8,990, which includes company incorporation, opening a local corporate bank account, and all government fees. In addition, you’ll need at least three pieces of personal information about yourself and your shareholders or guarantors, for example, the town of birth/ mother’s maiden name/ father’s first name/ telephone number/ national insurance number/ passport number.

  • Check if setting up a limited company is right for you,
  • Step2: Choose a name,
  • Step3: Choose directors and a company secretary,
  • Step4: Decide who the shareholders or guarantors are, and Identify people with significant control (PSC) over your company,
  • Step5: Prepare documents agreeing on how to run your company,
  • Step6: Check what records you’ll need to keep,
  • Step7: Register your company,


You’ll need to register an official address and choose a SIC code, which identifies your company’s activities.

  • Check the rules for company addresses
  • Check what your SIC code is
  • Register your company with Companies House
  • Most people can register for Corporation Tax at the same time as registering with Companies House.
  • If you cannot, register separately with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after registering your company with Companies House.
  • Register with HMRC for Corporation Tax

Company registration in the Us

The cost of registering a company in the USA ranges from $600 to $1400, depending on the state. Generally, there are no restrictions on foreign ownership of a company formed in the United States. The procedure for a foreign citizen to start a company in the US is the same as for a US resident. It is not necessary to be a US citizen or to have a green card to own a corporation or LLC. The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows investors and entrepreneurs to live in the US and operate a US business. Benefits of the E2 visa: It will enable you, your spouse, and your unmarried children under 21 years old to live in the US. Decide what type of business organisation is right for you:

  • Decide where you should form your LLC (Limited Liability Company).
  • Find a local registered agent.
  • If applicable, register your LLC or S-corporation.
  • Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number).
  • If necessary, get a US mailing address.
  • Open a bank account in the US.
  • Open a merchant account so that you can accept payments from customers.
  • Purchase business insurance.
  • Get a local US phone number for your new business.
  • Research what your tax liability is going to be.
  • Be sure you are keeping your business and personal accounts separate.
  • Pay annual fees and any other required fees.
  • Make sure you comply with city, county, state, and federal requirements.

Consult a US business lawyer licensed to practice in the state where your business is located in the US.

Company registration in South Africa

Company registration is R125 for private and non-profit companies registered without members. A private company must have at least one (1) director, and a non-profit company must have a minimum of three (3) directors. You can register your company online on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website or on the website, a platform created by the CIPC that offers company registration and related services. You can also register your company via a bank, including Nedbank and First National Bank. Company registration can take anything from about five days to about five weeks depending upon the type of company and the ability of the client to provide all of the necessary information and signatures. By far, the simplest and quickest is a (Pty) Ltd. This is the one that usually takes about five days.

Company registration in China

  1. Choose an agency to help you with the registration

While the administration put a lot of effort into supporting businesses, registering a company takes work. This should be fine with your resolve to expand to China. Agencies are run by professionals who have helped other investors with China company registration. So they know the best steps you should follow and the mistakes. 

  1. Select the preferred company scope

In China, the government has categorised its sectors and emphasised areas with the potential to grow the economy faster. So, for example, if you are in manufacturing, the administration will significantly support the business venture. This is why Chinese manufacturing has exploded in a way never seen anywhere in the recent past.

  1. Prepare the required documents

To get authorised to start operating your company, you must prepare an assortment of papers and submit them for approval. Here are the documents that you need:

The company name. You should seek permission from the Administration of Industry and Commerce to get the company name. This is very important to ensure that your name does not conflict with others already in operation. Note that this approval can take two to fifteen days, depending on where you want to open the business.

The list of controlling partners. These are the shareholders who hold most of the company you are incorporating. To avoid getting into trouble later, it is advisable to confirm that the business partners are allowed to have shares in China.

The managerial structure. This complete business operational profile includes the board of directors, supervisors, general manager, and legal representative. Copies of the directors’ passports should accompany this structure.

The legal address. This is the company’s official headquarters, where the authorities can seek answers to any issue about the company. The address should include details such as the phone number and email of the house or landowner.

Articles of association. This is another crucial document during the China company registration process. It contains essential information on the business description. You outline the core details of the business, including the managerial structure and the methods to be used for returning profits.

Registered capital and total investment. The registered capital denotes the resources dedicated to meeting the company’s expenses. Total investment is the sum of registered money and future loans from investors. It can also be from third parties like banks.

A feasibility study. To prove to the authorities beyond any reasonable doubt that the company is feasible, you need to provide a comprehensive business plan and a budget. Here, you need to demonstrate the registered capital can finance the operations. If the authorities are not convinced of the feasibility study, your company registration will not be approved. So, work with a professional agency to craft a convincing feasibility study document.

  1. Apply for an approval Certificate

You must deal with two entities to get an approval certificate and operating license. One, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC). These authorities will review your application and notify you if the certificate has been approved or declined.


  1. Apply for a business license

Once issued with a business certificate, you will need additional license/s depending on the niche you are operating in. For example, in China, businesses in manufacturing, food, beverages, construction, and telecoms require additional licenses.

  1. Register with the Public Security Bureau (PSB)

This registration helps you to get the company chops. In China, company chops are equivalent to the value of a signature in western countries. Therefore, it is only possible to validate any contract if you have a chop.

  1. Open a bank account

For your business to start operating, it must have a bank account. A Chinese bank account allows the company to get paid and be able to pay bills. The bank account will also come in handy when filing returns.

  1. Register at the Tax Bureau

In China, all companies, including wholly foreign-owned enterprises, must comply with the Tax regulations. Therefore, you should first register the business’s basic financial and operating info, such as CFO verification and category. When still at this, you need to note different taxes obligation. They include:

Corporate income tax: This is a tax on profits of 25%. However, if you are in the “encouraged sectors”, you can enjoy lower corporate income taxes.

Transaction Tax: This tax is also known as turnover tax, which is 3-5% of the business sales.

Custom duties: These are charged on goods that are exported from or imported to China.

VAT (Value added tax): There are different tax rates in China: 3%, 6%, 9%, and 13% in terms of industries. Check China VAT reform in 2019 to learn more about VAT in China.

Individual income tax: This tax is imposed on dividends that company partners and staff salary levy.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    In the United Kingdom, you need to provide a company name, registered address, details of directors and their consent, a statement of capital and initial shareholdings, articles of association, and registration fee.


    Yes, foreign entrepreneurs in China need to invest significant amounts of capital, and the incorporation process may take longer. They must also obtain a Certificate of Approval and a Business Licence.