How to set up a company in Scotland

When setting up a business in Scotland, you need to register as a private limited company or a UK branch of your foreign company. Find out how to do this.


Setting up your company in Scotland is quick and efficient. But the type of legal entity you need to set up for your business depends on your commercial aims.

To register (incorporate) your company in Scotland, you’ll need to register as a private limited company – also known as a subsidiary company. This process is straightforward and normally can be completed online in just 24 hours. By registering as a private limited company in Scotland, you’re also registered for the rest of the UK.

Alternatively, you can register a Scottish branch of your existing company in up to four weeks. This is known as ‘registering a UK establishment of an overseas company’. The review process takes longer because you need to submit additional documents and information.

Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Department of International Trade (DIT) provide advice and information about what to consider when setting up your business or branch in Scotland. You may also want to consult a solicitor for further legal guidance.