Starting a business
You can set up business in Scotland, however rules differ for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and those from outwith this area.
Whatever your immigration status, if you're self-employed in the UK you must register with HM Revenue and Customs for tax purposes.
If you are looking to start up a business in Scotland and have a lot of questions about tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses the HMRC "Starting Your Own Business” e-learning course is for you.
Visit the Business Gateway website for full business start up support services including help with finance, taxes, employing people, sales and marketing.
Nationals from these countries do not require formal permission to come to the UK to set up a business
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria*, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania*, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden.
Although Switzerland is not part of the EEA, Swiss nationals can set up a business without formal permission from the UK Border Agency.
Are you a Bulgarian or Romanian national?
*Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are advised to obtain a registration certificate, on form BR1, to confirm their right to be self-employed.
Visit the UK Border Agency website for more help if you're a Bulgarian or Romanian national
If you're from outwith the EEA you can still start up a business in Scotland but you'll require one of the following visas
Tier 1 visas
- Entrepreneur – you would need access to £200,000 to invest in your business
- Post study work – after you complete your studies in the UK
- General – if you score enough points for this 'highly skilled' visa
- Investor – if you're investing at least £1 million
Visit the UK Border Agency website for more on all Tier 1 visa schemes
The above visas are part of the UK Border Agency's Points Based System for immigration.
You need to score sufficient points to obtain one of these.
UK Ancestry visa
You can also start up a business if you have a UK Ancestry visa.
Commonwealth citizens aged 17 and over, who can provide proof that one of their grandparents was born in the UK may be able to apply for this visa.
Visit the UK Border Agency website for more on UK Ancestry visas
This is a visitor visa which gives prospective entrepreneurs the opportunity to come to the UK to secure funding and make arrangements for starting their business - you can consider switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur.
You can enter the UK on a Prospective Entrepreneur visa while visiting to find out more about setting up your business in Scotland.
Business visitor Visa
This visa is for you if you will be attending meetings, negotiating trade agreements, undertaking fact finding missions etc. Please note you cannot conduct actual business on this visa.
Find out more about the Business visitor visa
Need more help?
Find out about our Relocation Advisory Service
The service is free of charge.