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The Ultimate Expat Guide on How to Start a New Business in the UK


The UK is one of the most vital global economies and is suitable to start an expat business. With millions of self-employed business owners, freelancers, and sole traders, the United Kingdom encourages and promotes entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, setting up an enterprise is a complex procedure, especially if you are not from the European Union.

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Guide on How to Start a Business in the UK as an Expat

To work or start a business as an expat in the UK, you will need a specific visa. EU citizens were previously allowed to work and live in the UK. However, due to BREXIT, all European Union citizens are subjected to similar rules as non-EU citizens. The good news is that it is possible to set up a business as an expat in the UK.

Determine whether you need a UK visa

European Union citizens residing in the UK before January 1ST, 2021, are allowed to apply for an EU settlement scheme. However, if you are from outside the EU, you will need a work visa. Get the help of an Immigration law firm when applying for a work visa.

Get the appropriate visa

Ensure that you apply for your visa before time. Visas for entrepreneurs can either be innovator visa or start-up visa.

Innovator visas are for knowledgeable businesspersons trying to establish an enterprise in the UK. To qualify for this type of visa, you must be viable, scalable, and innovative. You will also be required to present a unique business idea.

Qualify for a visa

Suppose you are an experienced business person and want to set up a new business or partner and invest money in an existing business. In that case, the best visa will be the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. And to qualify for this visa, you must prove that you have enough funds to support your business.

Have a business plan

If you are going to start a business in the UK, you will need a business plan. The business plan will help you determine whether you have any chances of succeeding. Ensure that you research the market and formulate a budget projection. Cash flow forecasts and business plans are available on the UK government website.

Choose a business structure

The business structure that you pick must best represent your enterprise. Once you have qualified to start a business in the United Kingdom as an expat, you can now continue to decide on a legal structure.

Pick a business name

You can use your name for your business if you want. You will also need an address for registering your business. The address will be used for tax purposes.

Ensure that the business name you choose is unique. To be entirely sure that your business name is distinct, search the company name database.

Register your business

Registering your UK business with the HMRC is essential for tax purposes. To register your business as an expat in the UK, you will need to have a:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Director information
  • Documents of establishment and shareholders

Summing Up

These are just an overview of what you need to know if you want to start a business in the UK as an expat. There are other things you need to start a business in the UK as an expat. You need to get insurance, license, and permits and follow some rules when buying or selling goods overseas. Apart from following the above steps, ensure that you track costs to guarantee the success of your business in the UK.

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