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How To Get a Certificate of Incorporation

Author Osome Content TeamOsome Content Team

4 min read

When you decide to start a business, whether online or a bricks-and-mortar location, you need to register with Companies House to obtain a Certificate of Incorporation. This is your guide on how to get that done.

How To Get a Certificate of Incorporation

It's pretty simple – without company registration, you can’t do business. Whether you're an ecommerce trader or operating in-store, you need to register with Companies House to obtain a Certificate of Incorporation.

Here, we break down the process kick-starting your entrepreneurship journey and getting a Certificate of Incorporation. Or, if that sounds like a lot of fuss, let us do it for you — we’ll get your business registered (plus sorted with a business bank account) from £12.

What Is a Certificate of Incorporation?

You receive the document when you complete your company registration with Companies House.

The document proves you’ve legally registered a business. You need it to apply for permits and grants, open a business bank account or get a loan, file taxes and recruit staff.

Process of Obtaining a Certificate of Incorporation

Now you know why you need one and what it’s for, how do you get a Certificate of Incorporation?

How to apply?

You can apply either directly with Companies House or through an online company formation agent. You’ll need to provide information about your business and pay a fee.

What information do you need to provide?

The information you need to provide includes:

  • Company name and address
  • Details of directors and secretary
  • Details of intended business activities (with a Standard Industrial Classification code)
  • A statement of capital and initial shareholdings or a statement of guarantee

Have you complied with the Companies Act 2006?

As part of your application, you’ll be expected to confirm that your business complies with the Companies Act 2006, which covers legislation on everything from business decision making to raising share capital and transparency.

So, how much does it cost?

Registering a new business with Companies House costs £12 online, £10 via software and £40 via post. If you’re applying via an online company formation agent, the cost can vary.

Digital or Paper Certificate of Incorporation?

If you incorporate through Companies House, you’ll receive a digital version by email within 48 hours if you apply online or a paper one within 10 days if you apply by post. Applying via a formation agent? You’ll get a digital copy within 6 hours.

Where and When Do You Need to Use a Certificate?

You’ll need the document in the following situations:

  • Opening a bank account;
  • Applying for a loan;
  • Buying or leasing property;
  • Applying for permits, licences and grants;
  • Opening accounts with suppliers;
  • Seeking investment;
  • Restructuring or selling.

What Information Does a Certificate of Incorporation Contain?

It contains useful information about your business, including your company registration number (CRN), date and the location in which it’s registered (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland).

Where To Keep Your Copy?

The document is really important. Keep it somewhere safe - such as at your registered office address. It’s sensible to have backed up digital copies, which are also useful for sending to banks, clients and investors.

What to Do If You Lose Your Original Certificate of Incorporation?

Lost your original copy? Here’s what to do to request a replacement.

  1. Companies Registered through an agent

You can easily get a replacement from your formation agent. Usually you can download a digital copy for free, or purchase a paper copy for a small fee.

  1. Companies House Service

Companies House Service gives you free online access to your company details. Search for your business name, select your company, head to Filing History and open the Incorporation file to download a copy of your original document.

  1. Certified copy from Companies House

If you need a certified copy of your Incorporation Certificate, head to Companies House Service online where you can place an order or call the contact centre on 0303 1234 500. The standard service costs £15, while the same-day service costs £50.


What is included in the Certificate of Incorporation?

Your business’s name and company registration number (CRN), as well as where it’s located in the UK, any regulations it’s established under and the Registrar of Companies’ seal.

What is the purpose of a Certificate?

It is a legal document that outlines key information about your business. It confirms that your business legally exists and is permitted to trade.

Be prepared

In this article, we’ll walk you through the most common documents you’ll need to prepare to get your company up and running.

Why do you need a Certificate of Incorporation?

It is one of the documents you need to prepare to start a business. Without one, you can’t operate as a limited company.

Who issues a Certificate of Incorporation of a company?

Companies House issues you with the document.

How long will it take me to get my copy?

If you apply online via Companies House, you could have it within 48 hours. If you apply via a formation agent, it could take as little as 6 hours to receive a digital version.

Can I get a Certificate of Incorporation online?

Yes. You can apply via the Companies House Service online. You’ll need to provide some information and pay a fee.

How much does it cost to file for incorporation?

It costs £12 online, £10 via software and £40 via post to file for incorporation with Companies House. If you apply via an online company formation agent, the cost can vary.

Let Osome take care of your Certificate of Incorporation

To register a UK company with Osome is simple. Osome manages the registration online, and we guide you on every step. Integrate your sales platform, bank info and registration documents into the same place — simple.

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