Choosing a company name
Are all company names accepted?
Most names are acceptable to Companies House when forming a limited company, but there are a few exceptions. These exceptions fall into the following categories:
1. Your proposed name must be different from that of a company already incorporated.
2. Certain words like "British" or "Royal" must be substantiated by providing evidence of other related companies or companies operating in at least two different countries. You will need to apply for the use of sensitive words.
3. Names containing words likely to cause offence are not allowed.
You can use our company name check system to see whether your chosen name is too alike another existing name already on the Companies House register. Should your chosen name be similar to an existing name, that company could object within 12 months, and you may be forced to change your company's name.
A sensitive word or expression could imply a connection with the UK government, an administration or specified public authority. Words such as King or Queen are sensitive words, and you must request approval to use a sensitive word from the appropriate bodies/persons.
Please note: This website will not form a company with sensitive name. If you have a supporting document for using this name contact our customer service.
Your company name must be unique and can't be exactly or similar to the name of another registered company's name. You can search on Companies House register to see if a name's been taken. If the name is too similar, the company would be rejected.
For the extensive list of words/expressions take a look here.
If you already owned XYZ Ltd and wanted to form XYZ GB Ltd this would be possible. You would just need to create a supporting document detailing your ownership or directorship of the original company.
Please note: This website will not form a company with similar name. If you have a supporting document for using this name contact our customer service.
Companies House will accept the following punctuation, signs and symbols marks:
- 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9
- full stop (.) or hyphen (-)
Sole trader business names
Sole traders must not use 'LTD' or 'Limited', 'PLC', 'LLP' etc., for their business name. Read the rules for naming your business.
You can trade using a different name to your registered name. This is known as a trading or business name. Trading names must not use 'LTD', 'Limited', 'LLP', etc. You'll need to register the name as a trade mark to stop others from trading under your name. The name must not contain sensitive words or be similar to existing trading names.
Please note: You cannot use another company's trade mark as your business name.