Companies House list of Countries/Variations

Hello all,

I wasn’t too sure how to go about this, so I thought I’d see what the forum has to say.

We are looking at enabling our users to look-up the Overseas Entity ID number for overseas companies registered at Companies House (on the new Register of Overseas Entities).

We are going to be adding a CompanyLookup widget, which when ticked will enable Foreign Company lookup. Is it possible to obtain a list of all countries/variations that can be specified in an address drop down?

For example, we have ‘British Virgin Islands’, they have ‘Virgin Islands, British’, which doesn’t match.

I hope someone will be able to help me with this so thanks in advance. Please get in touch if you need me to clarify further.


Unfortunately you may have some work to do.
At least as far as the API goes all the fields in the corporate entity beneficial owner object are marked “optional” in the documentation. I haven’t checked through exactly what you are required to register but the normal way of things with Companies House is you might get in trouble if you don’t submit a form. However there is almost no checking and validation of the contents of any form. Indeed I believe by law Companies House are bound to record things but not to police them!

So a) you may find that information has not been supplied, and b) in general there is no validation in the dataset for most fields. Certainly this seems to be the case for some other country fields. So it’s possible that you will find someone has written “BVI”, “Virgin Islands, British”, “islands; BRITISH; virgin” or indeed anything at all … Again for most fields I’m not aware that Companies House will do anything other than record what has been submitted in their databases.

I would get hold of the bulk data and just see what’s there. Or issue some test queries and see what you get back.

We deal with this by attempting to parse address / country / nationality text into something standard - if that’s possible.

Some of this difficulty presumably is the need to cope with a dataset which spans over 100 years. Many current countries didn’t exist then. Additionally countries have changed shape and some have come and gone!

There is a list of countries for company filings - I assume that is the “preferred” list. This is at:

Also of foreign registries here:

Hope this helps.

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@adammander16 Building on what @voracityemail says above, my team at Open Ownership did some work a couple of weeks ago looking at the Register of Overseas Entities data using bulk data rather than the streaming API:

There seems to be an issue with the data where nationalities are reported twice - once without a comma and once with a comma afterwards. We understand this is an issue relating to how dual nationalities are captured and have been informed by the Companies House team that the issue has been looked at/resolved already.

We haven’t yet published more about our work here but plan on writing something up to publish on in the near future.

My email is in case you have any questions about the work we did.