How to opening a branch of a foreign business in the UK: the current British Government has stressed repeatedly that it welcomes foreign businesses to open branches, its main marketing strategy being Chancellor George Osborne's tag line that "Britain is open for business".
Despite this assurance, there are many regulations to comply with. For financial institutions, particularly, the rules surrounding opening a branch can be complicated. Taxation and insolvency issues even more so. It is therefore best to hire professional legal advice in the UK, from expert companies such as Coddan, to navigate the red tape.
The primary requirement for foreign companies planning to open a UK branch – defined as a physical presence – is registration with Companies House.
A registration application must be made within a month of opening a UK business establishment in the UK. You must complete Form OS IN01, available from Companies House, and pay a registration fee.
Various documents are required for registration, such as a certified copy of your current company's constitutional documents (in verified translated English).
The form and required documents should be submitted to any Companies House Office – it does not matter where in the UK your branch is situated; any office can deal with it.
The name of the foreign company registered in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Irelandis an important factor. The original corporate name can be used, or an alternative specified for the British branch, but be aware that the choice of name carries some restrictions. The name must not, for example, contain words deemed offensive in the United Kingdom, or be similar or the same as existing companies on the Companies House index. This is one of the aspects that requires expert insight and knowledge.