A certificate of incorporation is a document that is issued to all limited companies, LLPs, and other business entities registered at Companies House. It confirms the existence of the new company and contains important details such as the date of incorporation, the company registration number, and more.
Where and when do I get a certificate of incorporation?
Companies House will issue a certificate of incorporation as soon as your company registration application has been approved.
If you register a company online direct with Companies House or through a company formation agent, you will receive the certificate of incorporation in digital (PDF) format via email as soon as it is issued. This is typically within 3 to 6 working hours of submitting an application.
If you set up a company using a postal application, your certificate of incorporation will arrive by post a few days after Companies House approves your application. Postal applications take around 8 – 10 days to process, so it’s beneficial to register online.
What information does a certificate of incorporation state?
A certificate of incorporation will show the following details:
- registered company name
- Company Registration Number (CRN)
- where the company is registered (England and Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland)
- date of incorporation
- type of company (limited by shares, limited by guarantee, LLP, Public Limited Company, etc)
- Issuing Registrar (Cardiff, Edinburgh, or Belfast)
- legislation the incorporation has been formed under (e.g. Companies Act 2006, LLP Act 2000)
- official seal of the Registrar of Companies (Companies House)
- Royal Coat of Arms
I have lost my certificate of incorporation – how do I get a replacement?
1. Companies registered through 1st Formations
If you formed your company via 1st Formations, you can download a copy of your certificate of incorporation by logging into your account on our website and clicking on ‘My Companies’ > Select your company from the list > Click on the ‘Documents’ tab. You’ll then be able to download your PDF copy of the certificate.
You can also purchase a hard copy of your certificate of incorporation through our ‘Shop’. All you need to do is log in to your account > ‘My Companies’ > Select your company from the list > click on the ‘Shop’ tab’ > Add the ‘Printed Certificate of Incorporation’ to your basket for just £10.00.
2. Companies House Service
You can download the file copy of your certificate of incorporation through Companies House Service (formerly known as Companies House BETA). To find this, simply:
- Go to Companies House Service
- Enter your company name into the search box
- In the search results, click on your company name
- Select ‘Filing history’
- Scroll down to the bottom and select ‘View PDF’ next to Incorporation (you may need to navigate to the older pages to find this)
- You’ll find the certificate of incorporation on page one of the PDF
3. Certified copy from Companies House
You can order a certified copy of your certificate of incorporation from Companies House by calling the contact centre on +44 (0)303 1234 500 and quoting the CRN of the company whose certificate you want. The standard service costs £15.00 and will be issued within 4 working days. A same-day service is also available at a cost of £50.00 (orders need to be received by 2pm).
When will I need to use the certificate of incorporation?
There are many scenarios where you might need your certificate of incorporation. For example, you will be required to provide it to open a business bank account, apply for any kind of loan, and sell shares to new investors. It is, therefore, crucial that you keep your certificate safe and accessible at all times.
Do I need a new certificate of incorporation if I change my company name?
If you change your company name, Companies House will provide you with a ‘certificate of incorporation on change of name’. Aside from the company name, all other details stated on the new certificate will be exactly the same as the original, including the company registration number and date of incorporation. You should keep copies of both the old and new certificate at your company’s registered office address.