Forming a limited company: Address confusion

When registering a limited company, you will be asked to supply a number of different addresses. Here's a breakdown of what each one means

Forming a UK limited company is a very simple process. That’s not to say that there aren’t some areas that can cause confusion. One such area is the terminology used for the necessary addresses when completing the incorporation documents.

When forming a UK company limited by shares (which you can do with a company formation agent such as Company Formation MadeSimple, Companies House requires a number of addresses:

  • Registered office
  • Director service address
  • Director residential address
  • Secretary service address (the secretary is now an optional appointment)
  • Shareholder address
  • SAIL address (optional)

It’s not surprising that there’s some confusion. So, for clarity, please find below our address breakdown.

Registered office

The official address of the company (mail from HMRC and Companies House will be sent here). This address:

  • Is on the public register
  • Must be based in the UK
  • Does not need to be the trading address for the company
  • Can be a residential address

Director service address

The official address of the company director (mail from HMRC and Companies House will sometimes be sent here). This address:

  • Is on the public register
  • Can be based anywhere in the world
  • Does not need to be the trading address for the company
  • Can be a residential address
  • Can be the same as the registered office (as long as it is based in the UK)

Director residential address

The residential address of the company director. This address:

  • Is not on the public register
  • Can be based anywhere in the world
  • Does not need to be the trading address for the company
  • Can be the same as the registered office (as long as it is based in the UK)
  • Can be the same as the service address

Secretary service address (secretary optional appointment)

The official address of the company secretary (mail from HMRC and Companies House may sometimes be sent here). This address:


Useful link:
Register your company with a formations agent

  • Is on the public register
  • Can be based anywhere in the world
  • Does not need to be the trading address for the company
  • Can be the same as the registered office (as long as it is based in the UK)
  • Can be the same as the director’s service and residential address

Shareholder address

The official address for the company shareholder (although it’s unlikely mail from HMRC and Companies House will be sent here). This address:

  • Is on the public register
  • Can be based anywhere in the world
  • Does not need to be the trading address for the company
  • Can be the same as the registered office (as long as it is based in the UK)
  • Can be the same as the director’s service and residential address and the secretary’s service address

SAIL address (optional)

The ‘single alternative inspection location’ is the location where company registers and records are kept if not at the registered office. This address:

  • Is on the public register
  • Must be based in the UK
  • Does not need to be the trading address for the company
  • Can be the same as any of the aforementioned addresses (as long as they are based in the UK)

How to register your company

We’ve chosen to partner with Company Formation MadeSimple, an approved e-filing partner of Companies House. Company Formation MadeSimple have registered over 400,000 UK limited companies and offer a number of online formation services for first-time formers and serial entrepreneurs alike.

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