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Set up and register a limited company (private or public)

Before your business can begin operating as a limited company, it has to be registered with the Registrar of Companies at Companies House. Incorporation is the process by which a new or existing business is formed as a company.

This guide will help you understand the registration process and looks at the requirements that different types of companies must meet. It focuses mainly on private companies limited by shares, but will also highlight some of the specific requirements for private companies limited by guarantee and public companies.

You can incorporate the company yourself, but should seek professional advice before you do so to ensure that incorporation is right for you. A company formation agent, solicitor, accountant or chartered secretary can, for a fee, carry out the process for you and offer you advice.

You can incorporate your limited company online with Companies House using the web incorporation service, for incorporating a private company, limited by shares, with model articles of association.

Subjects covered in this guide




Starting up

Business structures


Set up and register a limited company (private or public)


Current section



Registration documents and forms


The company's officers


Types of limited company


Requirements for public limited companies


Where to register your company and get help


Tax matters of a limited company


Checklist: setting up and registering a limited company (private or public)


Right to manage companies and commonhold associations