How to Start a Business in the UK if You Are a Foreigner
Foreign nationals living in the UK on temporary visas are entitled to certain rights depending mainly on their visa type. A few decade ago, starting a business in the UK as a foreigner was easy and straight forward. However, today a lot of restrictions have been imposed on these nationals making it more difficult for them to start their own business. There are a series of steps to be followed for foreigners if they are considering starting a business in the UK. Let’s consider these steps and to determine if you are allowed to do business in the UK and if not, what are the requirements that you need to fulfil.
Step 1: Study your current visa status. You may become entitled to becoming an entrepreneur in the UK depending on your nationality with a few additional permissions. You will have to file an application for that and wait for a certain time before your application gets approved.
Step 2: The UK immigration system is a points-based system divided into different tiers. Tier 1 is known as Entrepreneur and it is meant for those who want to invest in the UK for starting a new business or buying a property. You can apply for this visa while already staying in the UK or from outside UK by showing a certain amount of money in your bank account. These applications are usually processed within three weeks and you can start your own business as soon as your application is approved.
Step 3: You will also need to consider the legal structure of your business. You cannot start a business in the UK unless you’re legally cleared. It is possible to decide your own legal course and structure for your business especially if you already know what you want to do. You may also hire a legal advisor or attorney to complete this step in order to avoid legal troubles later on.
Step 4: If you are planning to start a company, get it registered with Companies Home before starting operations. This is part of the legal process but it can be achieved easily.
Step 5: Once you complete all the above-mentioned steps, the last step is to register for tax. This is the most important step and requires a little homework. Get registered for Corporation Tax if you are incorporated. Even if you plan on starting a business from home, you will be required to register as a self-employed taxpayer with HMRC.
Nationals from member countries of the European Union (EU) do not need special permissions or additional visa requirements to start a business in the UK with the exception of Bulgaria and Romania. This is the current situation, which may change over the period of time depending on how and when the UK government decides to change their visa policies again. For all other foreign nationals who wish to start their own business in the UK, the above-mentioned steps would be followed.