Limited Company SAIL Address Explained

A SAIL is an alternate address to that of a company’s registered office where certain important company records and registers can be kept and publicly made available for inspection. For limited companies, it may be easier and more convenient to use a SAIL address for the purposes of record storage than their main registered office location. In this article, we will discuss the purpose of a SAIL address, the advantages of using a SAIL address, the rules for using a SAIL address, the records that can be stored at a SAIL address, and how to register a SAIL address.

What is a company SAIL address?

A SAIL, or Single Alternative Inspection Location, is an address used by a company as an alternative storage location for certain company records which must, by law, be made publicly available for inspection. A SAIL address serves as a location for the storage, maintenance, and inspection of statutory company records.

A registered office address, on the other hand, is used as a location where company mail is sent, including HMRC and government agency correspondence.

It is important to note that companies are not required to have a SAIL address; its use is entirely optional. They can use their registered address for the purpose of statutory document storage, maintenance and inspection.

Once registered with Companies House, the SAIL address is placed on the public register of companies.

Why use a SAIL address?

All limited companies in the UK are legally required to make their statutory registers available for inspection by members of the public at their registered office or SAIL address every working day between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Alternatively, companies can keep information on the public register at Companies House. A SAIL address is normally used if it is not feasible to use the registered address for document storage and inspection. Some examples of why you might use a SAIL address include if:

  • The storage space at the registered address is insufficient or unsuitable
  • The company is run from a residential address
  • The registered address is in a hard-to-find location
  • The registered address is being renovated or under construction
  • The registered address may not have a person in attendance in readiness for an inspection of records
  • The maintenance and storage of statutory company registers are handled by an external entity (e.g. an accountant or outsourced to a professional services company).
  • The company’s registered office address is not close enough to the director or company secretary to easily facilitate public inspections

Should a member of the public wish to inspect a company’s statutory records, a written request must be made to the company. The request should include the preferred date and time that the requester wishes to visit and inspect records at the registered office or SAIL address.

What are the requirements for a company SAIL address?

If you are considering registering a SAIL address on behalf of your company, you will need to adhere to the Companies House requirements as follows:

  • The SAIL address must be in the UK and in the same part of the UK as the registered office address (i.e. the country in which the company was incorporated) – England & Wales, Wales only, Scotland, or Northern Ireland
  • A limited company can only have one SAIL address on record with Companies House at a time
  • A SAIL address cannot be a PO Box number. It must be an address of physical premises.
  • The location of statutory records cannot be mixed between the registered office and the SAIL address. They must all be held in one location or the other.
  • Companies House must in informed as soon as possible if a SAIL address is being used or if statutory records are being moved from a registered address to the SAIL address (or vice versa).
  • If the SAIL address changes, Companies House must be notified of the new location
  • If a SAIL address is no longer used, Companies House must be notified.

As part of the SAIL address registration process, you will be required to tell Companies House which records and registers are stored there.

Which documents are stored at a SAIL address?

A company’s SAIL address can be used for the storage, maintenance, and inspection of a range of statutory records and registers, including the following:

  • Register of people with significant control.
  • Register of members.
  • Register of directors.
  • Directors’ service contracts.
  • Directors’ indemnities.
  • Register of secretaries.
  • Records of resolutions etc.
  • Contracts relating to purchase of own shares.
  • Documents relating to redemption or purchase of own share out of capital by a private company.
  • Register of debenture holders.
  • Report to members of outcome of investigation by public company intointerests in its shares.
  • Register of interests in shares disclosed to public company.
  • Instruments creating charges and register of charges: England and Wales or Northern Ireland.
  • Instruments creating charges and register of charges: Scotland.
  • Historic register of people with significant control.
  • Historic register of members.

As explained above, the above documents should be made available for public inspection if a formal written request has been made to the company.

How do I register a SAIL address?

There are two main ways to register a SAIL address; by using the online Companies House WebFiling service or by completing and submitting forms AD002 and AD003. Form AD002 “Notification of single alternative inspection location (SAIL)” is used to register your SAIL address with Companies House. Form AD003 “Move your company’s records to the single alternative inspection location” is used to tell Companies House exactly which documents are being moved to your SAIL address. If you are registering a SAIL address for a limited liability partnership (LLP), you should use forms LL AD02 and LL AD03.

When completing form AD002, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Company number and name
  • Full SAIL address
  • A signature of a Director, Company Secretary, or another Person authorised

It is important to check that the company name and number you provide exactly match those held on the public register. If these are not correct, your application may be rejected.

When completing form AD003, you will need to tick all of the documents and registers listed above that will be transferred to and stored for inspection at the new SAIL address.

Once completed and checked, paper-based applications should be sent to the relevant Companies House address to ensure they are processed as promptly as possible:

  • For companies registered in England and Wales:
    The Registrar of Companies, Companies House,
    Crown Way, Cardiff, Wales, CF14 3UZ.
    DX 33050 Cardiff.

  • For companies registered in Scotland:
    The Registrar of Companies, Companies House,
    Fourth floor, Edinburgh Quay 2,
    139 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH3 9FF.
    DX ED235 Edinburgh 1

  • For companies registered in Northern Ireland:
    The Registrar of Companies, Companies House,
    Second Floor, The Linenhall, 32-38 Linenhall Street,
    Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT2 8BG.
    DX 481 NR Belfast 1.

How do I change my company’s SAIL address?

If your SAIL address changes to an alternative location, you will need to inform Companies House as soon as possible to ensure they update the public register of companies. To do this, you will need to complete and submit forms AD002 and AD003 as used to register your SAIL address in the first place. When completing form AD003, you do not need to include any documents or registers that you have previously included. 

How do I stop using a SAIL address?

If you decide to stop using a SAIL address, perhaps if you move to new premises which are suitable for the storage, maintenance and inspection of your company documents, you will need to inform Companies House. To stop using a SAIL address, you will need to complete and submit form AD04 “Move your company’s records to the registered office (AD04)” (or for an LLP, form LL AD04), to Companies House within 14 days. Again, this can be done electronically by using the Companies House Webfiling service. When completing form AD004, you will simply need to provide your company number and name and tick all of the documents now held at the company’s registered office address.

Wrapping up

We hope this article has provided you with all of the information necessary to decide whether to use a SAIL address for your limited company or LLP and to complete the registration process. SAIL addresses provide benefits compared to using a registered company address, including greater control over how your statutory documents are stored, maintained, and made available for public inspection. If you have any questions about whether using a SAIL address is right for you, the requirements, or any other aspect of company registration, speak to a member of our team who will be glad to help you.

Uniwide Formations is a leading professional services provider based in London. As specialists in company formation, we can deal with all aspects of your limited company or LLP registration. We would be happy to discuss the various aspects of setting up your company and company address services, such as a registered office address.

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