The British Government encourages and provides a suitable environment for businesses to thrive. However, starting a business in London can be challenging, especially if you are a foreigner or an expat. Despite the challenges you may face, London has several opportunities for businesses to succeed.

A recent study established that the number of small and medium-sized enterprises in the U.K is more than six million. About 5 million of these establishments do not employ anyone, meaning they are self-employed or partnerships.

Are you Eligible to start a Business in London?

Only members from the European Union or EEA do not require permission to open a business or firm in London except for Bulgaria and Romania nationals. Citizens of other countries and expats require a VISA to open a firm in London.

Successful entrepreneurs may receive favors from the U.K.’s points-based immigration system, but you must adhere to the rules to attain a Tier 1 status.

How will you Start Your Business as an Expat?

If you are a foreigner and wish to start a business in London, you will need to follow the steps below:

1. Confirm Whether you can Legally start the Business

The immigration department offers different types of visas. Ensure that you confirm with them if the nature of your visa allows you to put up a business in the U.K., it is also important to obtain a work permit alongside the visa.

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2. Develop your Business Plan

It would help if you had a business plan to become a London-based entrepreneur. The plan will help you determine whether your business will succeed and become sustainable. When creating the plan, you will need to research the industry and market and develop several budget forecasts.

The business plan templates and cash flow forecasts are available on the Government Website.

3. Draft your Business Structure

You will need to decide on the structure that represents the layout of your business.

4. Find a Business Name and Address

If you are opening a business as a sole trader, you can use your name. You will need a valid address for registering the enterprise for tax purposes.

When opening a limited company, you will have to register the name. You can also register it as a trademark to prevent another person from using the same name. In addition, you will need to appoint directors and a company secretary and draft a memorandum together with articles of association.

Other requirements include opening a business bank account and registering for corporation tax.

5. Register with the H.M. Revenue and Customs

Since your business is located in the U.K., you will need to register it with the HMRC for tax purposes.

6. Research on any Additional Rules for your Business

Different types of businesses have varying requirements. Some of the additional requirements include:

Licenses or permits

Guidelines to adhere to while operating or purchasing products abroad


Final Verdict on starting a Business in London

Most foreigners fear investing in the U.K. due to many reasons. Apart from the lengthy application process for a visa and working permit, seeking accommodation in London while following the whole process can be stressful. However, has made it easy to find the best properties for your stay.

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