Setting up a UK establishment

An overseas company will have a UK establishment or branch if it is trading in Northern Ireland and has a physical presence in Northern Ireland, such as a place of business or a branch, through which it carries on business.

Within one month of opening a UK establishment an overseas company must register with Companies House. Filing requirements for a company’s first UK establishment include copies of constitutional documents (certified) and its latest set of accounts.

An overseas company with a UK establishment is usually required to file some form of accounting documents at Companies House. It will take longer to register a UK branch because the foreign registering company must submit additional documents and information to Companies House. The review process for this can take up to 4 weeks.

The format depends on whether the company is required to prepare and disclose accounting documents under its parent law and if it is an EEA company (a company governed by the law of a country or territory in the European Economic Area).

Changes to the original information supplied to Companies House should be notified, including changes to directors, secretaries, the corporate or alternative name registered in the UK and constitution.

If a company is not required to file accounts under its parent law it is still under a duty to prepare, sign and deliver accounts to Companies House.

An overseas company with a UK establishment must state on all business letters, order forms and websites that are used to carry on business in the UK:

  • the company’s name;
  • where the establishment is registered; and
  • its registered number.

The characters must be visible to the naked eye and additional information is required for companies registered outside the EEA.

Overseas companies with a UK establishment must file accounts with HMRC