Incorporation and names

Sets out the main requirements for incorporating a company in the UK.



This guide includes information and advice about:

  • how to incorporate a limited company
  • the type of company you wish to incorporate
  • the company’s officers
  • choosing a company name including controls and restrictions
  • disclosure of company name and other information

If you use your home address as your service address or the company’s registered office, it will be available to the public.

See our guidance on what information we make publicly available.

Updates to this page

Published 1 June 2013
Last updated 15 July 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added guidance on the definition of an appropriate address and the process if a company does not provide an appropriate address.

  2. Fees updated.

  3. Guidance updated for new measures under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act.

  4. Guidance for registered office address updated in line with Trading Standards recommendations and section 86 of the Companies Act 2006. If you choose to engage a third party agent to handle your mail, you must ensure that the arrangements provide for all mail to be forwarded to you regardless of its source.

  5. Updates to Annex A, Annex B and Annex C.

  6. Removed 'Pharmaceutical' from Annex C.

  7. Added 'Senedd Cymru' to Annex A.

  8. Added 'Comisiwn y Senedd', 'Welsh Parliament' and 'Senedd Commission' to Annex A: Sensitive words and expressions specified in regulations that require the prior approval of the Secretary of State to use in a company or business name.

  9. Removed duplicate sensitive words from Annex B: CSV file

  10. Guidance added to set up a CIC online.

  11. Guidance on the use of Friendly Society updated.

  12. Guidance on use of 'chartered surveyor' updated.

  13. Added home address warning and link to guidance on public information.

  14. Sensitive words annexes uploaded as CSV files.

  15. Amendment to polytechnic and university

  16. Amendment to email contact for approval for the sensitive words Accredit / Accreditation / Accredited / Accrediting

  17. Text added to guidance about who can incorporate.

  18. Annexes A to C updated.

  19. Foundation section updated.

  20. Welsh HTML added.

  21. Annexes A, B and C converted to HTML.

  22. English HTML version added. Annexes seperated.

  23. Version 6.1 uploaded. Minor amendment to include link to PSC guidance.

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

  25. Version 5.5

  26. Latest version of the guidance uploaded (v5.4)

  27. Welsh booklet added to Welsh translation

  28. Version 5.2 replaced with Version 5.3

  29. Welsh translation added

  30. Version 5.2 added

  31. Welsh translation added

  32. First published.

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