What is a Certificate of Incorporation and How Can one be Obtained? 2024 Guide

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how to obtain certificate of incorporation

A certificate of incorporation is a legal document that verifies the existence of a company or limited liability partnership (LLP). 

Think of it as a birth certificate, a proof of your existence. A certificate of incorporation is a piece of evidence that the company complied with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006.

Let’s explore how to obtain a certificate of incorporation and its purpose.

What information is contained in a certificate of incorporation?

Information contained in the certificate of incorporation includes:

  • Name of the company
  • Date of incorporation
  • Company structure (Whether it is a public or a private company)
  • Registered address (Whether it is situated in England and Wales, Scotland, Wales, or North Ireland)
  • Company registration number
  • Incorporating Registrar

The certificate is always signed by the incorporating registrar or validated by the registrar’s official seal.

UK Ltd Company Formation

What is the purpose of the certificate of incorporation?

A certificate of incorporation proves that your company legally exists. The business will remain unaffected by the death or withdrawal of the owner.

It also helps in opening a bank account or buying company properties. You must prove that your company is set up according to Companies House legal requirements. Without the certificate of incorporation, you will not be able to access these services.

A certificate of incorporation will be required when applying for:

  • A business loan, applying
  • For business grants, licences, and permits
  • Opening accounts with suppliers and service providers
  • Seeking investment from third parties
  • Restructuring or selling your company

It creates a separate legal entity protecting the business owner from losing personal assets if the company is sued.

Is the certificate of incorporation the same as the memorandum of association?

No, it is not. A memorandum of association is a legal document that all shareholders or guarantors of the company must sign to agree to:

  • Become members of the company
  • Form a company under the Companies Act
  • Take at least one share in the company, that is if it’s limited by shares.

How can I obtain a certificate of incorporation?

In the UK, you can obtain a Certificate of Incorporation from Companies House through:

Ordering online:

Use the find and update company information service on the Companies House website.

Search for your company and order the certificate from the “More” tab.

Choose between standard dispatch (costing £15) or express dispatch (costing £50).

Standard dispatch orders are sent within 10 working days, while express dispatch orders are sent the same day if placed before 11 am.

You can request to include additional certified facts on the certificate, such as directors’ names, registered office addresses, and a summary statement indicating the company’s continuous existence.

The summary statement is issued only if the company is up to date with its filings.

You can also download the Certificate of Incorporation (IN01) from the filing history.

Once you purchase a UK limited company package with BusinAssist, we will send you a certificate of incorporation for free to your email.

Where to keep your certificate of incorporation?

A certificate of incorporation is an important document that may be required if your company’s statutory registers are ever inspected. You should keep it safe with your company registers and records at your registered office and have backed-up digital copies.

What should I do if I lose my certificate of incorporation?

If you’ve lost your Certificate of Incorporation, here are some steps you can take to obtain a replacement:

Through your company formation agent:

If you registered your company through an online company formation agent, check with them. Many agents allow you to download a digital copy of your lost certificate of incorporation from their online portal.

Search your emails using keywords like “Certificate of Incorporation,” “Companies House,” or your company formation agent’s name.

Companies House service:

Visit the Companies House service website and enter your company name in the search bar.

Select your company from the search results and go to the “filing history” tab.

Scroll down to the oldest entry (usually listed as “Incorporation”) and click “view PDF.” The first page of this PDF document will be the file copy of your certificate of incorporation.

Order a certified copy from Companies House:

You can directly request a certified copy from Companies House for £15.00. Call their contact center at +44 (0)303 1234 500 to make the request.

A certificate of incorporation is a very crucial document from the moment you register your company is successfully incorporated.

Incorporate your company with BusinAssist and after Companies House approves your application, we will send you a certificate of incorporation for free by email. If you have any questions about the certificate of incorporation or require help, feel free to reach us at info@BusinAssist.com.

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