What Is A Certificate Of Good Standing In The UK 

A Certificate of Good Standing is an official document that proves that your limited company is in ‘good standing’ with Companies House.

Most of the time, these certificates aren’t needed, but there are a few occasions where they might be required. 

We’ll cover all of this and more in our comprehensive guide to what is a Certificate of Good Standing in the UK. 

So, what is a Certificate of Good Standing in the UK? 

As we briefly outlined, a Certificate of Good Standing is an official document issued by the Companies House that proves that your company: 

  1. Has been in continuous, uninterrupted existence since its incorporation;
  2. Has no action currently being taken against it to strike it off the register. 

In simple terms, this means that your business has been running smoothly since it was registered as a limited company. Good for you! Sometimes, this certificate might be referred to as a ‘Certificate of Authorisation’ or ‘Certificate of Existence’ instead. 

What is included on a certificate of good standing?

A certificate of good standing will look very similar to a certificate of incorporation that you will have received when forming your limited company. However, there are a few bits of extra information on a Certificate of Good Standing. 

So, your certificate of good standing will include: 

  • Your company name and number;
  • The date the company was incorporated (aka your formation data);
  • The names of all company directors;
  • The name of the company secretary (if applicable);
  • The registered office address;
  • Details of any company name changes, if required;
  • Verification that your company is up to date with any filing requirements;
  • A statement from the Companies House that your company has been in continuous and unbroken existence since being incorporated;
  • A statement from the Companies House that no action is being taken to strike off the company or dissolve it;
  • A statement that, as far as the Registrar is aware, the company is not in liquidation or subject to an administration order, and no receiver or manager of the company’s property has been appointed.

That may look like a lot, but in reality, it’s just a few short details with an accompanying statement from the Companies House. It’s just a single A4 certificate, after all. 

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If you’re looking for complete ‘done for you’ service that gives you a trusted Certificate Of Good Standing, we recommend 1st Formations.

You can get your certificate in as little as 24 hours, effectively demonstrating your company is compliant with all statutory requirements.

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Do I need a Certificate of Good Standing?

Not necessarily, no. A Certificate of Good Standing is often only used in very specific circumstances, which we’ll detail below. If your business doesn’t come under those situations, then you don’t need one. 

There’s no penalty for requesting a Certificate of Good Standing (apart from the fees to produce it, of course!). So, technically, nothing is stopping you from obtaining one on the off chance that you might need it.

However, as the certificate only lasts 3 months from the date of issue, we’d recommend saving your money and hassle until the certificate is something that is definitely needed by your business. 

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When would I need a Certificate of Good Standing? 

Now that you know what is a certificate of good standing in the UK, be advised that you might need it if you want to trade overseas.

There are a few different occasions where you might need a Certificate of Good Standing. The two biggest include: 

Opening a business bank account

A Certificate of Good Standing might be needed alongside further documentation that your company is financially sound. This is particularly true if you’re planning to open a bank account overseas or if you’re opening a UK bank account as a non-resident director

Trading overseas

If you plan to trade in another country or set up an office there, a Certificate of Good Standing is often asked for by the country’s own company authorities. 

However, several 3rd parties may also request this document. For example, you may be asked for a Certificate of Good Standing if you were to: 

  • Apply for a business loan;
  • Lease commercial premises;
  • Work with new suppliers or bid on high-value contracts;
  • Apply for trade credit;
  • Seek new business partners or investors.

In these cases, a Certificate of Good Standing is proof that your company meets all its legal obligations and is credible and professional. 

Where can I get a Certificate of Good Standing? 

A Certificate of Good Standing is issued by the Companies House and sent, via post, to your registered office address. You can ask for an electronic version instead, but this will be lacking a signature, so it might not suit the purpose you need it for. 

If you were to request this document manually, you would need to go onto the HMRC website using the find and update company information service. Then, you need to search for your company and order the document from the ‘More’ tab, paying the applicable fees. Or, you could try calling them directly to arrange it.

Alternatively, if you don’t want the hassle of contacting and requesting a certificate from Companies House, you can also use a company formation agency to do this step for you, completely stress-free.

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What are the requirements for a Certificate of Good Standing? 

There are not a lot of requirements stopping you from getting a Certificate of Good Standing, bar the obvious: you must have good standing. 

This means that you need to: 

  • Be fully up to date with your annual accounts and confirmation statement findings.
  • Have been in continuous, uninterrupted existence since you incorporated the company. 
  • Have no action being taken against your company to remove it from the register.

In addition, you need to be a limited company, with at least one director who is a ‘natural person’. This doesn’t mean they’ve avoided plastic surgery – it just means that they are human rather than having a company that’s owned by another company.

If you have a public company, you will need to have at least two directors (one being natural!) and a company secretary. 

Recommended Service – 1st Formations:

Certificate Of Good Standing Service

If you’re looking for complete ‘done for you’ service that gives you a trusted Certificate Of Good Standing, we recommend 1st Formations.

You can get your certificate in as little as 24 hours, effectively demonstrating your company is compliant with all statutory requirements.

Can I use a Certificate of Good Standing abroad?

Now here’s the slightly confusing part. A Certificate of Good Standing is commonly used for overseas trading – but in most cases, the document will need to be legalised before it can be used in a foreign jurisdiction. 

Legalising Certificates of Good Standing is done by using an apostille. This is basically a stamped official certificate issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, which makes the document legally valid in any contracting states of the Apostille Convention.

Luckily, most companies that will acquire this document for you will also offer apostille services at the same time, meaning you can get your legally valid certificate back and ready to use without delay or hassle. 

Need more business advice and tips? 

You’ve come to the right place. Find all the news, tips, advice, and ideas that you could need to start and grow your company here at Business4Beginners.

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Business4Beginners has been advising new businesses owners since 2013. The founder, Paul Bryant, has created, grown and sold several successful businesses and remains the editor and fact-checker of all content published on the site.
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