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Open a UK Branch Office and Obtain a UK Citizenship

Opening a branch abroad, especially in the United Kingdom, is an effective way for many entrepreneurs to enter the European or international market. In this article, Vasily Kluev, Imperial & Legal account manager and regulated immigration advisor, will explain the advantages of having a UK branch.

UK Representative Office vs UK Branch: What Is the Difference?

In 2009, the Home Office introduced a single term “representative office”, instead of the terms “branch” and “place of business” that were used before. A representative office performs auxiliary functions that are secondary to the key functions of the company. These usually include representation, marketing and other non-commercial operations. For example, it can liaise with foreign partners on behalf of the company. In most cases, there is no difference between a representative office and a branch, so in this article, the terms will be used as synonyms.

You can open a UK representative office in two ways: a parent company registers a branch in the Companies House or sets up a subsidiary (for example, a private limited company, Ltd).

Objectives and Advantages of Opening a UK Branch

A UK branch offers an economically efficient way for overseas companies to be present in the UK. Why is it beneficial? Large British, European and American enterprises, especially IT and construction companies, choose their partners carefully and check where they are based. A UK branch can be a lifesaver since it allows operations on the international market easily and without any problems.

There are many other advantages of having a UK branch. For example, streamlined foreign exchange transactions with low interest rates, zero regulatory control and access to all international payment systems. The UK, with its transparent and reliable financial system, offers a solid base and reputation for your company.

How Can I Obtain a UK Citizenship By Opening a UK Branch?

A UK representative office is not only a great opportunity to expand your business. It is a springboard for getting a UK Sole Representative visa that can then lead to British citizenship. A UK Sole Representative visa is issued for three years and can be extended for two years. After five years, a sole representative can apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain and, a year after that, for British citizenship.

A UK Sole Representative visa allows you to live in the UK with your family with access to education and healthcare services. It is an ideal solution for entrepreneurs and CEOs who look to live in a stress-free and safe environment and enjoy the benefits offered to businesspeople in the UK.

Imperial & Legal can help you build the right immigration strategy and obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain and UK citizenship.

How Can I Open a UK Branch?

An overseas company that wants to open a UK branch must submit an application and all the necessary information to the Companies House.

Anyone can register a company in the UK. However, a branch can only be registered by those companies that were registered overseas in full compliance with incorporation rules. Non-incorporated entities, for example, sole traders, cannot register a UK branch.

To conduct financial, especially foreign exchange, transactions, which is the main objective of opening a UK branch, you need to open a bank account in the UK. This can be done only by a UK resident or British national.

To open a UK bank account without residency or citizenship and register a UK branch in no time, contact Imperial & Legal and ask for our Imperial package. It is tailored to business visa applications (UK Start-up visa, UK Innovator visa and UK Sole Representative visa) and includes services for company registration, UK bank account opening, VAT registration, business address, business consultations with Imperial & Legal advisors, and visa support. It comes at an affordable price: £3,800 for the first year and £2,500 for each subsequent year. Besides, the package includes help with preparing for the company registration in the Companies House, opening a physical office in the UK, etc.

Another solution would be to open a bank account in the EU – the requirements are less strict than in the UK and a foreign national can apply for it.

Unlike its competitors on the market, Imperial & Legal has an overarching approach when it comes to opening a UK company and helping clients with running a business in the UK. We give all the options and open all the doors. Let’s take a common scenario: an overseas company wants to do market research for its products or services in the UK, and so, needs to employ someone based in the UK to do the job. The company is not present in the UK and is only considering opening a UK branch. Our solution: Imperial & Legal provides the company with a European registered address and a unique name, registers it in the Companies House and the HMRC, makes national insurance contributions and fully manages the company.

As a result, you get the following:

  • A unique company name that was verified in European and British databases.
  • European registered address – it is mandatory to register a company in the UK and receive two types of correspondence: letters from the Companies House and letters from the HMRC about the corporation and other taxes.
  • Incorporation documents for sole traders and legal entities: Articles and Memorandum of Association that are available after registration and come as standard documents or can be customized to reflect the individual needs of the company.

Can I Start a Business in the UK?

Say, you have finished researching the market and decided to start a real business in the UK or EU. You as a business person need an active company that will operate transparently and can be easily checked by any regulatory bodies. OK, how would you go about opening a UK branch?

Imperial & Legal offers various options. It is possible to register a new company or use an existing company that already has an office in the UK. Our advisors will go with you through all the advantages, requirements and liabilities in each case and help you find the best solution. Every business is unique, so our experts tailor the services to your needs.

As a rule, foreign entrepreneurs, looking to open a trading UK branch, choose the Imperial incorporation package that includes the following services:

  • Business address that is required to open a bank account and receive official correspondence. It is also necessary for VAT registration and dealing with foreign partners.
  • English-speaking office manager who will answer telephone calls and report to you.

In the end, you will not only get a trading business in the UK but also leave to remain and ultimately, British citizenship for you and your family. We have vast experience in opening UK representative offices and branches. Our advisors are always available to give advice and will be able to help you in resolving local and corporate taxation issues on your behalf. If you want to start a business in the UK, Imperial & Legal offers a full range of services to make your wish come true.

Tired of getting general advice?

We will work with you to find a customised solution for your immigration, second citizenship, business, tax and other needs.