24 August, 2022

How to Get a Company Registration Number in the UK

Launching your business requires navigating various formalities, and obtaining your unique Company Registration Number in the UK is crucial. But what exactly is CRN, and how do you secure this essential identifier? Here, we will demystify everything you need to know about your CRN, from its format to the simple steps to acquiring it.

Getting a business registration number

What’s a Business Registration Number?

Starting your own business, you have probably asked yourself the question, “What is a company registration number in the UK?” Your CRN serves as your company’s official identification number within the UK. Once your business is formed and registered with Companies House, you will be assigned an eight-character single business registration number. This confirms your business incorporation and registration with Companies House.

A computer automatically generates company registration numbers. You cannot choose your own, nor can they be modified.

Format of the Company Registration Number

UK CRNs follow a specific format: they are always 8 characters long. These can be either 8 digits or 2 letters followed by 6 digits:

Furthermore, we have valuable information about regional variations:

  • English and Welsh companies: 8 digits, starting with 0 or 1;
  • Scottish companies: “SC” + 6 digits;
  • Scottish LLPs: “SO” + 6 digits;
  • Northern Irish companies: “NI” + 6 digits;
  • Northern Irish LLPs: “NC” + 6 digits;
  • Less common types (Royal Charter, etc.): specific prefixes followed by 6 digits.

Who Needs a Business Registration Number?

Not all businesses require business number registration to operate. In fact, only organisations and companies that are incorporated at Companies House are assigned one. 

Examples of types of companies that are given a Companies House registration number include:

  • Companies owned by shareholders;
  • Non-profit companies;
  • Public limited companies;
  • Limited liability partnerships;
  • Limited partnerships.

Do Sole Traders Need a Company Registration Number?

Some businesses do not need a registration number. These businesses are those that are not required to incorporate with Companies House in the first place. Partnerships and sole traders are examples of two such business models.

Unlike companies that do require registration through Companies House, business models like these aren’t considered separate legal entities from their owners. Rather than incorporating with Companies House, sole traders and partnerships instead register with HMRC. These types of businesses are taxed through Self Assessment.

What Do You Use Your Registration Number For?

You will need to use your company registration number for a wide variety of purposes. For one thing, all communications with Companies House will require your registration number, whether you’re filing company reports, managing shares, or just updating company information.

However, you’ll need to use your registration number for far more than just contacting Companies House. You will also need it to deal with HMRC:

  • Registering for PAYE, VAT, and other business taxes.
  • Filing tax returns and managing statutory records.
  • Paying business taxes.

Finally, you will need your registration number for day-to-day administrative duties, including: 

  • Setting up a bank account for your company;
  • Filling out application forms for loans, leases, and credit accounts;
  • Designing stationery for your business.

How to Get a Company Registration Number in the UK

Now that we’ve explained what a business registration number is and what it’s used for, we’ll cover how to get a business registration number in the UK. These numbers are automatically assigned to you when you register with Companies House. You can set up an LTD company online, but there are other methods, too:

  • Online. This process costs £12 and can be paid using a card. You will be expected to provide a few personal details, as well as information about your shareholders. Examples of such information include your town of birth, National Insurance Number, and Passport Number. Through this method, your business should be registered within twenty-four hours.
  • Via post. Costing £40, this option is somewhat more expensive. It also takes longer for postal applications to be processed, usually between eight and ten days. This method is mandatory if you do not wish to include “limited” in your business name.
  • Through a UK company formation service. Depending on what agent you go through, price and processing time may vary. However, this can be a handy option for those who are new to running a business — or even for more experienced entrepreneurs, as it can help save time.

When registering with Companies House, you will be required to submit several documents. These include Form IN01, Memorandum of Association, and Articles of Association. You will also be required to have decided on a company name in order to register.

Once you’ve successfully registered your business, you will be given a registration number. As noted earlier, these are randomly generated numbers, so you cannot choose your own or modify them.

Where Should I Display My Business Registration Number?

By law, businesses are required to clearly display their company registration number on all official correspondence and advertisements. You should make sure to include it in the following:

  • Stationery, emails, and faxes.
  • Order forms.
  • Leaflets, catalogues, and adverts. 
  • All online materials, including your company website.

Your registration number doesn’t have to be included on every page of a website or document, but it does have to be clear and easy to spot. If you fail to include it, or if you do not make it clear, you run the risk of your company being fined.

How to Check Your Business Registration Number 

If you misplace the registration number for your business and can’t remember it, don’t worry! There are a few different places you can find it. Check one of the following:

  • Your business’ certification of incorporation, issued by Companies House at the time of registration.
  • If you used a company formation service, check your previous correspondence with them. You will be able to find your registration number on the documents they sent when forming your business.
  • The public register contains the business registration number of every company incorporated with Companies House. You can use this resource to find your number.
  • Check any correspondence with Companies House itself, whether via post or email.

All of these resources are free and allow you to quickly retrieve a lost business registration number.

Starting a new business? Make sure your company name stands out and is legally compliant. Check out this handy guide on company name checks by Hoxton Mix for helpful tips.

Do I Need a Company Registration Number?

Whether you need a CRN depends on your chosen business structure:

  • Limited company: Absolutely! Every limited company operating in the UK must have a CRN.
  • Sole trader: Technically, a company registration number for sole trader isn’t required. However, having one offers several benefits, like simplifying tax filing and opening business bank accounts.

How to Check Your Business Registration Number

Misplaced your certificate? No worries! You can easily retrieve your CRN through various channels:

  • Companies House website: Search for your company name or registered number on the Companies House website. Your CRN will be displayed alongside other company details.
  • Official documents: Check any official documents related to your business, such as tax returns or bank statements, which often include your CRN.
  • Contact Companies House: If all else fails, you can directly contact Companies House for — assistance in retrieving your CRN.

Misconceptions about CRN Numbers

When starting or managing a business, it’s crucial to understand various identifying codes and numbers, each serving a distinct purpose. Avoid confusing your CRN number (Company Registration Number) with other identifying codes, such as:

  • VAT number: While both are unique identifiers, a VAT number is only required for businesses exceeding a specific turnover threshold.
  • Company tax reference number: This identifies your company for tax purposes and is separate from your CRN.
  • UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference): This identifies individuals for tax purposes and is not related to your company’s CRN.

How The Hoxton Mix Can Help

Whether you are a native to the UK or are looking to open a business in London as a foreigner from outside the country, the Hoxton Mix can be of help. We are a virtual office rental service that enables businesses from across the nation and beyond to benefit from a premier London business address, all for an affordable price.

On top of this service, we also help limited companies register with Companies House. Our company formation services are founded on years of experience and knowledge, meaning you can trust our experts to see every step in the process with careful scrupulousness. Furthermore, we’ll make sure that whatever paperwork you need for your registration is in order, saving you time and stress.

So, if you require help forming your business and acquiring a company registration number, look no further! Our team of professionals will be happy to lend you their assistance. Get in touch today for a free quote for our services.

Final Thoughts

A business registration number is absolutely vital for any company registered through Companies House. This identifying code, randomly generated when your business is incorporated, is essential for legally identifying you. Company business registration numbers are thus a legal requirement. 

This article has explained in detail what an example of a business registration number is, where it is used, and how you can get one. The process is relatively simple — but if you want to save valuable time and make sure you do it right, why not hire our services to get the job done?


What occurs if my business registration number is misplaced?

Losing track of your CRN can be a hassle, but it’s not the end of the world. Here’s how you can retrieve it. Look at Your Certificate of Incorporation: This document, given when your company was registered, contains your CRN. Use the Companies House Service: Search your company’s full name on their database to locate your CRN. Contact Your Accountant or Legal Advisor: If you have delegated your financial or legal responsibilities, these experts should have your CRN on file.

If I alter the name of my company, will I receive a new registration number?

No, your CRN remains permanently linked to your company, even if you change its name. However, you’ll need to update your company details with Companies House, reflecting the new name. By understanding your UK company registration number and navigating its acquisition process, you’ll be well-equipped to operate your business seamlessly.

Virtual Office Plans

Prime London business address with 10 Minute Setup + NO Postage Fees!

Not a Virtual Office customer? Why not sign-up today.

41p per day + VAT

Virtual Office London

Get a Prime London business address
10 Minute Setup + NO Postage Fees!

Virtual Office Plans icon

Our meeting rooms are located at our Paul Street office,
and it’s just a few minutes walk from Old Street tube station…

Our Address

3rd Floor, 86-90 Paul Street,London,EC2A 4NEDirections

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 9am - 18.00pm

Our Address iconOur Address icon