A certificate of incorporation is a legal document or license with some relevance to the formation of a company or corporation. The exact meaning of the term differs depending on the legal system in which it is being referenced.

 

  • In the U.S. and Canada, a Company Certificate of Incorporation is usually another description of a corporation’s Articles of Incorporation, otherwise simple “the Articles.” The certificate or articles of incorporation are components of the official documents of the corporation, mainly describing the relative roles of shareholders and directors.
  • In English and most Commonwealth legal systems, a certificate of incorporation is just that – a certificate issued by the relevant government registry that confirms the company’s date of incorporation and valid existence. Its basic meaning is that the company is allowed to trade. The company registration certificate is conclusive evidence of the formation of a company, regardless of what has occurred during the formation of the company.

How can I get a certificate of incorporation?

This depends on the jurisdiction in which the company was established. In the USA, there is no such thing as a “certificate of incorporation”. The term refers to the company’s Articles of Incorporation. In the United Kingdom and most other Commonwealth countries, the certificate of incorporation is an official document issued by the government acknowledging the registration of a company. Read more about company share certificate

 

Is Certificate of Incorporation the same as articles of incorporation?

Outside of the USA, the certificate of incorporation has no connection to the Articles of Incorporation. It is a certificate issued by a government body that states that the company exists and is allowed to trade. In the USA, the two terms are used interchangeably.

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