How to set up a limited company

Updated April 17, 2017

Establishing a new limited company in the UK involves registering your company with Companies House. This is the official governmental record of companies and requires a nominal fee to turn a business plan into a fully registered limited business. You must complete three main documents to apply for this service, and once the fee has been paid your company will be operating within eight to ten days–with the option of using a premium same-day service.

Download and print the IN01 form titled “Application to register a company” from the Companies House website at The forms are also available from any of the Companies House Information Centres in Cardiff, London, Edinburgh and Belfast, and there are full directions for each centre at

Complete all parts of the IN01 form that are applicable to your company. Parts 1 (Company details), 2 (Proposed officers) and 5 (Statement of compliance) are required for all companies. Parts 3 (Statement of capital) and 4 (Statement of guarantee) are optional and will not apply to your company if it does not share capital and is not covered by guarantors. In Part 2 (Proposed officers), if you are setting up a private company you may choose whether or not to appoint a secretary. However, at least one director must be noted. Public companies must appoint at least one secretary and two directors.

Download the form titled “Pro Forma of CA 2006 Memorandum for a company with share capital” if your company completed Part 3 of the form in step 2 and the “Memorandum for a company without share capital” if your company did not. The forms are available online at Assemble the subscribers listed in form IN01 who wish to form the company and ensure each provide their name and signature. If the company is limited by shares, ensure each subscriber commits to take at least one share each.

Produce valid Articles of Association for inclusion in your application. This document must give details of the company’s internal management affairs, the way the company is intended to be run and the company’s liability. Model documents are available on the Companies House website at, which should help you draft your own version. There is a separate model for private companies limited by shares, private companies limited by guarantee and public companies.

Send your three completed documents to Companies House. Depending on where you company is based, you can send it to one of four offices. Addresses for the London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast offices are listed at and should be preceded by “New Companies Section”. Enclose the standard fee with your application, which is £20, or £50 (as of June 2010) for the premium same-day service. Same-day applications must be marked with “SAME DAY INCORPORATION” in bold letters.


For advice and queries about filling in any forms, application status and general questions at any point in your application, email Companies House at

Additional continuation sheets for various sections of the IN01 form are available for download from


Ensure any of your proposed directors are not on the Disqualified Directors Register as this will cause your application to be unsuccessful. You can check this register at

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