Registering your business

Registering your business

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There are so many reasons to relocate to the Cayman Islands. Perhaps you're seeking world-class service providers, need to be in an international finance centre, or just want to strike that work-life balance. Whatever the pull, Cayman's approach to supporting and growing new and existing businesses is second to none.

Here are just some of the reasons you'll love doing business in Cayman:

  • Incorporation is quick and easy

  • Companies Law is based on English law - but with more flexibility and less red tape than UK legislation

  • No tax on income or gains and, indeed, no direct taxation at all

  • No exchange controls

  • Incredible infrastructure, including world-renowned banks, trust companies, law firms, accountancy firms, company management firms, and IT service providers

  • Stable political regime due to a democratically elected local government and status as a British Overseas Territory

 

Work with a lawyer
The requirements for each new business are different. But many laws and regulations address Trade and Business Licences, Local Companies Law Licences, Business Staffing Plans; Work Permits, Residency Certificates, Labour; Pensions; Economic Substance, and Beneficial Ownership.

It's always best to ensure due process is followed by consulting a Cayman Islands-based lawyer when setting up a business here.


Incorporation and licensing
When incorporating and registering companies in the Cayman Islands, a distinction is made between resident companies that carry on business within the Islands (often referred to as "Local Companies") and exempted companies, which mainly do business outside the jurisdiction.

Subject to a few exceptions, a Trade & Business Licence (T&B Licence) is enough to get a local business up and running. Where there is foreign ownership or control, the provisions of The Local Companies Law (LCCL) may be applicable unless at least 60% of the shares are owned by Caymanians, and at least 60% of the directors are Caymanian. If not, Local Companies must also apply for and obtain an LCCL Licence.

Depending on the type of business, applicants may need to submit various licence and registration applications to the relevant boards in healthcare, tourism, music and dancing, and liquor.

 

What are the licensing requirements for Cayman real estate owners?
Under the Trade & Business Licencing Directions, you won't need a T&B licence to rent out fewer than two properties. This includes beneficial ownership but does not include the house you live in.

Regardless of status or citizenship, everyone exceeding the two property limit will need a T&B Licence. And non-Caymanian owners (or beneficial owners) exceeding the limit will also need an LCCL Licence, whether they manage their properties or not.


Requirements for incorporating and licensing a company
You'll need to submit your T&B and LCCL licence requests to the Trade & Business Licensing Board. Be sure to include all the various forms and due diligence documentation for your company, directors and shareholders. Documents will differ depending on your immigration status and existing connection to the Islands. It’s worth getting a local lawyer to help you navigate this.

Applying for an LCCL Licence is a bit more complex. The LCCL is after a tailored approach that the board must consider when deciding on your application. All approvals of LCCL Licences are at the board's discretion.

For more information on incorporating, licencing, and registering a company in the Cayman Islands, you can contact Daniel Altneu.

Registering a business
Setting up a banking and securities account
By Dan L. Peterson
Senior Advisor & Portfolio Manager | Private Wealth Management & Investment Advice CIBC FirstCaribbean

Banks that operate in the Cayman Islands must comply with due diligence and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations governed under Cayman Islands law.

When opening an account, you'll be expected to provide full details on the nature of your business - including anticipated money in and money out, who these payments will be made to and received from, and what these payments will represent. This information is usually provided with the paperwork when you open a bank account.

You'll need to support your anticipated transactions and expected activity volumes with brochures, financial statements, company structure charts, business plans, contracts, agreements, and invoices.

When establishing a banking and securities account for your corporate entity in the Cayman Islands, you'll need several forms of original, certified documentation:

Dan Peterson

Required documentation

  • Certificate of Incorporation and any Certificate of Change of Name (if applicable)
  • Certificate of Good Standing (if established over 12 months ago)
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Register of Directors and Officers
  • Register of Members and Shareholders
  • Personal documentation for all authorised signatories
  • Personal documentation for a minimum of two directors
  • Personal documentation for all voting/management shareholders with holdings of 10% or more.

Connected entities
Any directors or shareholders with a stake of 10% or more will need to provide original certified copies of the above company documentation. You'll need to share original certified copies of personal documentation for a minimum of two directors and all voting and management shareholders with holdings of 10% or more.

Personal documentation

  • Two forms of certified ID. We'd recommend your passport plus your driver's licence or national ID card.
  • One form of residential address confirmation. A utility bill, bank or credit card statement dated in the last three months will do the trick.
  • A bank reference. Addressed to the bank, confirming your full name, date of birth, residential address, length of relationship and conduct of the account. Bank references should establish a relationship of at least two years and can be faxed or emailed initially. The original will need to follow in the post and must include the reference provider's email address.
  • A professional reference. Addressed to the bank confirming your full name and the length of the relationship. References can be faxed or emailed to us initially; however, the original must follow in the mail.

Anyone certifying address and identification documents outside of the Cayman Islands must also complete an Identity Verification Form.

Suitable Certifiers: Notary Public; Member of Judiciary; Foreign Embassy Consular; Senior Civil Servant; Lawyer; Banker; Accountant and authorised signatory of CIMA licenced service provider.

For further information, please contact: