How to Start a Business in The UK If You are Not a British

Start a Business in The

The UK is one of the largest economies in the world. UK is the sixth wealthiest country in terms of GDP and one of the highest wealth per capita among all the economic superpowers. The United Kingdom has been a desired country to start a business for citizens and immigrants in the past and the present.

Nowadays, opening a business in the UK has become a challenge for foreigners. Nevertheless, foreigners also can own a business in the United Kingdom with a well-executed plan. As a non-resident, setting up your business in the UK can offer the opportunity to reach more than 500 million potential customers across Europe, which will build a path to global success.

Business culture in the United Kingdom:

The United Kingdom is one of the world’s largest and most competitive markets. It is a global Centre of excellence in various business sectors and a world leader in higher education. The city of London, along with New York, endures dominating international finance.

The fundamental business culture principles in the UK are politeness, courtesy, discipline, and punctuality. The business culture is less hierarchical than in other European countries; the managers maintain a marginal power distance. However, hierarchies still influence the decision-making process.

The British are used to communicating through emails and then involved in other direct communication such as face-to-face meetings and conference calls. Punctuality and time management are very much crucial in the UK. It is essential to arrive on time or slightly early.

Handshakes are very common in the UK for both genders. Gift-giving is not a part of business culture in the United Kingdom. Formal business attire is the accepted dress code for men and women in the UK. They make an appointment a few days before and indicate their objective beforehand. They always give an impression that everything is under control and well-managed. Business cards are interchanged during an informal introduction.

Who can establish a business in the UK?

Anyone of any nationality can establish a business in the United Kingdom. To start a business in The United Kingdom you don’t need to have been living in that country. The only requirement is that the company be registered to a UK address. As it stands, EU and EEA nationals don’t need special permission to set up a business in the UK. There are some restrictions for Bulgaria and Romania. Except for these, you may need Visa. Any foreigner can start a business in the UK, but some mandatory steps need to be followed:

  • You should have to choose a type of UK Company that fits the demand activities.
  • Register the Company Name: you can search online for the names of the existing companies.
  • Your desired company name ensures the name doesn’t already exist in the UK market.
  • Register a UK office address: you have to choose an official UK address for your company, which will be recorded publicly on the online register.
  • Register a Director: You should appoint a person above 16 as a company director, who can be a UK resident or a foreigner.
  • It would help if you went through UK’s obligations, taxation policies, and other legal procedures.

Legal structures for business in the United Kingdom

There are numerous business types in the UK; you must select one of them that suits to structure of your company:

Sole Trader:

You can become a sole trader if you run your business as a self-employed person

In the UK. As a sole proprietor, you will be responsible for paying the income tax and National Insurance. All business debts will be liable to you. However, you can gain all your business profits.

General Partnership:

this business type involves two or more individuals or companies forming a partnership and accessing accountability equally. Jointly liable for Taxes, Insurance, Debts, Profits, and Loses.

Limited Partnership:

Similar to a General Partnership, this type of business should have at least one general partner who runs the business and will be liable for all the financial and legal procedures.

Limited Liability Partnership:

This partnership agreement specifies that neither person would be liable for debts if the business cannot pay. This partnership requires a written agreement and must be registered with Company’s House in the UK’s company register.

Private Limited Company:

Limited Companies are formed by registering with Company’s House, and the requirement in this type is must have at least one director and one shareholder.

Public Limited Company:

Public limited companies differ from limited companies as their shares can be publicly traded. You must have a share of the capital of 50000 and be paid 25%in advance.

Unlimited Company:

This business structure is very uncommon in the UK. It involves shareholders having unlimited joint liabilities for business debts, which means they may cover their assets if the business fails to meet its debts.

Start a business as a foreigner; you must complete the following steps:

Before starting a business in the United Kingdom, you should consider the following factors:


You might need to apply for a VISA before starting a business. The government’s website contains information regarding this.

Consider which VISAs you need

Working VISAs that may be required to start a business in the UK depends on your nationality. The UK has several VISAs depending on your circumstances; including options for investors, entrepreneurs, graduate entrepreneurs, representatives of overseas businesses, and general work Visas.

Your company’s legal structure

Once you are eligible to live and work in the UK, the next step is to define your company’s structure. There are several structures available for foreigners to start a business in the UK, including Private limited company, public limited company, and branch of a foreign company or limited liability partnership.

Register your business

Before registration of your business, you should decide on a company name that should reflect your products or brands. After that, if you want an online presence for your business, you must purchase a domain with your brand name.

Register for Tax

Every business in the UK should have to register for tax. You can register through HMRC online or over the phone.

Now your business is to be finalized and rolled out into the market.

How can you make money through your UK Limited company without a work VISA?

Self-sponsorship is an innovative idea that can be the perfect solution for entrepreneurs hampered from accepting the well-known routes to international expansion in the UK. If you have a simple idea to run a business in the UK, you can follow this route. It is open to anyone with experience in this area, a desire to run a business, and enough money to fund its expansions. It is an easy three-stage formula.

Stage 1: is to establish a UK company, and then you have to apply for a sponsor license which allows that company to sponsor a foreign worker on a skilled worker visa. The skilled worker will be you. That means you are sponsoring yourself to come and work in your own company.

Stage 2: is to create and provide your UK Company with the necessary policy and procedures to sponsor you as a skilled worker.

Stage 3: is that after the approval of your UK Company sponsor license, you will need a certificate of Sponsorship.


Can a foreigner start a business in the United Kingdom?

Ans: yes, anyone from any nationality can start a business in the UK. You don’t need to live in the UK to start a business.

Can a non-resident form a business in the UK?

Ans: Yes, a non-resident can form a business in the UK. You only need a UK registered office address for a UK company.

Does a non-resident need a Visa to start a business?

Ans:  There is no need to have a Visa while setting up a UK business. You are not required to prove that you can work.

How much do you need to start a small business in the UK?

Ans: In the UK, most microbusiness costs start around 3000, while most home-based franchises cost 2000 to 5000. Different types of businesses have their own financial needs.

What is the most profitable business in the UK?

Ans: Some profitable businesses in the UK are: Search engines in the UK, management consultants in the UK, Computer consultants in the UK, commercial real estate agents in the UK, legal activities in the UK, etc.


The United Kingdom offers numerous opportunities for young minds to set up and run a successful business. You can get help and support from various schemes specializing in different parts, including help with finance, taxation, and other legal formalities. The cost to set up a UK business depends on various factors, but there are several support sources in UK business allowances and loans.

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