A certificate of incorporation is a document that is issued to all entities registered with Companies House. The certificate confirms the entity’s existence, as well as some important information about the company such as the date of incorporation, registration number, and more.
- Where and when do I get a certificate of incorporation?
- What information does a certificate of incorporation state?
- I have lost my certificate of incorporation – how do I get a replacement?
- When will I need to use this certificate?
- Do I need a new certificate of incorporation if I change my company name?
Where and when do I get a certificate of incorporation?
Companies House will issue a certificate as soon as your company registration application has been approved. If you register your company online through a company formation agent, you will receive this certificate in digital (PDF) format via email as soon as your registration is approved, which is typically within 3 to 6 working hours of submission.
If you register using a postal application, your certificate 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
- Company Form (limited by shares, limited by guarantee etc.)
- Issuing Registrar (Cardiff, Edinburgh or Belfast)
- Legislation the incorporation has been formed under
- 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 through the ‘Shop’. All you need to do is login 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
- 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 company registration number 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 this certificate?
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, sell shares to new investors, and more. 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.