European companies in the UK: registration and administration

The main features of the European Company or 'Societas Europaea' (SE).

This publication was withdrawn on

The Brexit transition came to an end on 31 December 2020.

See UK societas which replaces this guidance.



This publication explains the main features of the European Company or ‘Societas Europaea’ (SE). It has been possible to set up this type of legal entity in Great Britain (GB) since 8 October 2004.

The guidance in this publication applies only to European Companies (SEs) registered (or to be registered) in UK.

UK leaving the EU

The UK formally left the EU on 31 January 2020.

Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU a transition period started on 1 February 2020 and continues until 31 December 2020.

Read our guidance for information on changes to company registration from 1 January 2021.

During the transition period, the UK is no longer a member state of the EU, but market access will continue on current terms. To give businesses and citizens certainty, common rules remain in place until 31 December 2020.

The legal form of a SE is an EU specific entity, established under EU law. The withdrawal agreement means that the UK remains part of the SE framework during the transition period.

It is expected that the UK will no longer be able to participate in the SE framework after the end of the transition period. So our guidance on changes to company registration will apply for SEs from 1 January 2021.

Published 1 November 2014
Last updated 31 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Guidance added for changes from 1 January 2021.

  2. Statement added to landing page.

  3. New version relating to changes brought in by the The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act.

  4. First published.