British Virgin Islands company registration

The Virgin Islands in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico is one of the prominent offshore regions. The country’s territory is formed by 16 inhabited islands (furthermore, there are 20 inhabitant islands). The largest and most famous is Tortola. The administrative center is Road Town. The former British colony gained independence from the British crown in 1967.
As a legacy of the monarchy, the Anglo-Saxon system of law, with English as the state language, has been preserved. The money is the US dollar. The jurisdiction is tax-free; non-native companies that operate outside the land pay no tax on income. The judiciary is independent, but the UK is liable for defense and foreign policy matters.
It is no coincidence that the land has a reputation for being offshore – more than 40% of the world’s offshore establishments are registered here. The provisions of The International Business Act regulate foreign corporations. It is easy to open a firm – it only takes a few days.​​
BVI company registration is attractive in terms of taxation (0% for non-residents) and privacy. Also, the business is not mandated to keep accounting archives, which greatly simplifies the management of the company. There is no need to pay the authorized capital. Shareholders and beneficiaries can keep their privacy.
Fintech Harbor Consulting | Company registration in B.V.I.

Business company in the BVI

Opening a new business here implies the entry of data into the British Virgin Islands company register. This is the official registry of all local and non-native firms. An extract from the record (Certificate) is the main paper of the organization.
BVI company formation procedure, in principle, is not much different from the incorporation procedures in other jurisdictions. You ought to come up with a unique name that captures the essence of the business or any unique title you like. Then this label, along with a box of papers, must be submitted to the state clerk.
All documents must be translated into English and certified by a notary. Registration can be performed remotely based on a power of attorney. A personal visit to the territory is not necessary. Typically, the customer authorizes a lawyer working on the islands to represent his interests before the governmental and taxation administrations.

Advantages of a firm set up in the British Virgin Islands

Local enterprises have many advantages and are actively used for tax-optimization structures around the globe. In an era where banking secrecy and privacy are virtually over, business owners need to be able to protect their assets. This is especially true for people from countries with turbulent regimes. In BVI, company formation is attractive because the government provides high confidentiality to business owners. There are no bilateral international documents on cooperation in the exchange of data.
Additionally, the country has a stable economy. And the official currency – the US dollar – protects your assets from depreciation. Foreign exchange control is not demanded, which means that dollars can be freely transformed into any currency.
Offshore units (non-residents who conduct business outside the territory) do not pay taxes, they do not need to undergo a yearly audit and submit any reports to the tax administrations. But this does not mean that you can not do bookkeeping at all. Primary documents (contracts and invoices) should still be in order. They must be stored for at least 5 years to the requirements of the Mutual legal assistance act (2012). Documents may be stored in paper or electronic form. The penalty for not keeping documents is rather big. The fine is USD 50,000.
A legal entity can be used for export, as a principal in compound agency schemes, for savings and investments, and the preservation of assets anywhere in the globe, as well as the transfer of acquisitions by inheritance.

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Fintech Harbor Consulting | Company registration in B.V.I.

Characteristics of the BVI corporate law

In 2014 the Commercial Companies Act was decreed, which regulates the business firm activities of firms enlisted in the islands. All lawful entities are recorded in the BVI registry.
The enterprise can be founded by any person, both a native of the homeland and an outsider. The establishment of a business by foreign legal entities is also allowed. Subsequently, you can re-register the enterprise to any other territorial dominion.
All types of activities that are permitted by other governments work well in the British Virgin Islands too. If you don’t need a license, you can open an enterprise in just a week. But sometimes you ought to get a license for certain activities. Check with Fintecharbor lawyers about the kinds of actions.
The legislation does not provide for a minimal authorized capital, so the founder can determine its size and deposit it into the enterprise’s account. As mentioned above, the income tax rate is zero. Therefore, all the money earned can be left for business development or disposed of at your discretion.
As for the founders and beneficiaries, complete confidentiality is guaranteed in this matter. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the statute law is changing. The conditions for investors have been tightened recently. Now the beneficiary must supply bank reports with other banks. In addition, the authorities began to demand additional information about the founders (copies of legal documents and addresses).

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How much does it cost to form an offshore company?

The cost of registering an offshore company in the BVI varies depending on its type. For a standard company, the cost may be about $1,500, including mandatory fees.
Looking for BVI enterprise registration? Visit our website to set up a firm in the Virgin Islands. We keep our finger on the pulse of updates in lawmaking and act exclusively in the lawful field.
We will help you collect a complete package of documents for the quick setup of your business. Our team of consultants will be happy to advise you on all issues regarding the choice of the optimal jurisdiction, the statutory form of the enterprise, and the tax regime. By contacting the lawyers of our firm, you will receive competent advice.

Requirements for formation a company for BVI

You can register a company in BVI if you have at least one director and one shareholder. As for the other requirements, the list is not long:
  • unique company name;
  • the seal of the institution to be registered;
  • company documents;
  • certificate book with signatures of the founders (at least two corporate directors);
  • registered agent;
  • the company’s assigned address of incorporation.
These general requirements apply to registering offshore and other companies on the islands.

Required Documents

The necessary package of documents required by BVI law for company formations includes:
  • a completed application form for business registration;
  • original passports of shareholders and directors of the business or scanned and notarized copies of IDs;
  • documents confirming the residence address of the shareholders and directors;
  • minutes of appointment of the first director/directors;
  • originals of certificates of the position held;
  • copies of share certificates;
  • three copies of the Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AoA);
  • official seal of the company.
The owner of the company, who is not familiar with the legislation of the British Virgin Islands, will need a lot of time to collect all the necessary documents. Therefore, the services of professional licensed lawyers are quite in demand when it comes to preparing for the registration of a company abroad.

Types of Companies

In the Virgin Islands, business owners can register various types of companies, including commercial ones:
  • with restricted shares;
  • with authorization to issue shares;
  • with limited warranties without authority to issue shares;
  • authorized to issue shares, but with limited liability;
  • without authority to issue shares.
Company formation in BVI opens up great opportunities for business expansion and competent distribution of the corporate budget because the islands have a zero tax rate. In addition, a high level of confidentiality is ensured here, which makes starting a company of any type even more attractive.

Company name

According to the legal requirements of the BVI, you cannot use the following words in the company name:
  • Bank;
  • Chartered;
  • Assurance;
  • Chamber of Commerce;
  • Imperial;
  • Cooperative;
  • Insurance;
  • Municipal;
  • Building Society;
  • Trust;
  • Royal and others, which may imply the patronage of the authorities of the British Virgin Islands or the Royal Family.
As for the rest, the general recommendations are that the name should be unique and appropriate to the company’s activity.

Incorporate and open a bank account in BVI

British Virgin Islands company formation is completed by opening a bank account. After you receive the details, your institution can begin operations. You will need the following documents to register a bank account:
  • a completed application form to open an account;
  • bank statements;
  • letter of recommendation from your bank;
  • notarized copies of passports of directors/shareholders;
  • utility or telephone bills proving the residence address of directors/shareholders;
  • invoices or other documents evidencing business dealings.
Please note that the list of requirements for the package of documents may vary depending on the selected bank. Also, the financial institution reserves the right to require additional business papers.

Economic substance

The British Virgin Islands is an important offshore jurisdiction, so to prevent fraud, the BVI passed the Economic Substance Act of 2018. According to its requirements, a registered business must prove its economic substance, i.e., demonstrate that it:
  • conducts income-generating activities;
  • has physical offices or premises;
  • has expenditures appropriate to the maintenance of the company.
Thus, in the British Virgin Islands, company registration is somewhat complicated by the need to provide proof of economic substance. Experienced Fintecharbor lawyers are ready to answer all your questions and help you collect the package of documents for opening a company on the islands quickly.

Annual reports and expenses

In BVI, company registration is available for any sphere of business. According to the established rules, it does not require a mandatory annual audit of accounts and their filing with the state authorities. However, there are legal forms of doing business to which this rule does not apply. For example, private and public foundations, as well as licensed organizations, must prepare and submit financial statements every year.
Other businesses may also need an audit to conduct a pre-sale valuation of the company or to open a bank account. In such a case, it is better to contact qualified lawyers to get a full audit of the accounting data.


Many service providers on the Internet can set up a BVI company. Unfortunately, we had a negative experience of cooperation with some agents. We contacted Fintecharbor and did not regret it. The lawyers are very competent and efficient, and I highly recommend them.
I registered a holding enterprise to protect my international business from raider takeovers and dishonest actions by competitors. Fintecharbor consultants prepared all the necessary documents very quickly and were ready to advise me on all issues.
We are very pleased with the cooperation with this company. We were looking for a suitable jurisdiction to open an international business. We were recommended a BVI and explained all the advantages and features of working with this jurisdiction. Our management team received comprehensive information before making a decision.
I would like to thank Fintecharcbor lawyers and tax advisors for detailed and clear advice on such sensitive and confidential issues as tax optimization and registration of a holding. We received high-quality legal support for an adequate price. In the future, we will work only with this law firm.

Recent legal updates

In past years, several changes have been introduced to the civil law of the islands. For illustration, the BOSS system. Since 2017, the law has obliged state registrars to upload data on beneficiaries who own 25% of shares or more into a special secure registry. Access to the database is public, which means that competent bodies can search for information about beneficiaries if necessary.
In addition, businesses are now also required to comply with KYC (know your customer) under the Anti-Money Laundering Law. These procedures apply to all individuals who control more than 10% of the firm’s shares. It will not work to hide the beneficiary. By law, data on any natural or legal person who has become the beneficial owner must be submitted no later than 15 days after the appointment.
In recent years, substance requirements have extended to tax-free and offshore jurisdictions. This is a requirement of real presence in the territory of registration. The goal of this event is to counter tax abuse and recognize organizations that violate double taxation treaties and do not pay taxes in any country. Substance rules prescribe having a real office with local employees (director and secretary) in the land where the firm is registered. At the BVI, these directions came into power on Jan. 1, 2019.
It is worth commenting that these increased substance requirements do not apply to all types of activities but only to some, including finance, insurance, banking services, and shipping. Also, if you plan to establish a holding or a fund manager, you will have to comply with these rules and open a real office on the isles.
If you are interested in the BVI company set up, you should study the most current information and new legislation carefully.

Bilateral doubled tax agreements

The Virgin Islands ratified a double tax pact with the UK, Switzerland, and Japan. In 2009 the country also entered into bilateral information exchange with seven states — Denmark, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, the Republic of Finland, Sweden, and Iceland.
At present, the state has one double tax contract with the Swiss Confederation and 22 data interchange contracts with different lands: Australia, India, the UK, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, the United States of America, the Faroe Islands, and Japan. Furthermore, there are agreements with several EU member countries (Sweden, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands, the Island of Guernsey, Greenland, Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands Attila, Republic of Poland, Finland, French, and Czech Republic).

How do we register your business in BVI?

We set up a company in the British Virgin Islands under all the provisions of the current civil law. At the first consultation, our lawyers will study your corporation requests and recommend the appropriate jurisdiction and statutory form of the firm that best suits your goals.
After we make sure that both parties understand the objectives and further plan of action, we will start collecting documents. In the beginning, we will help you come up with or choose a unique establishment name. We will also ask for information about the director or directors and all stockholders. At the request of the law, these data must be submitted to the state register.
Our lawyers will draw up the Memorandum of Association, describing how the shares in the authorized capital are distributed among the shareholders. We will help you translate all documents into English and carry out a notarization.
After the package of papers is formed, we will submit the necessary applications to the state clerk and in a few working days, you will have all the certificates confirming the ownership of the enterprise in your hands.
Although in BVI company formation procedure is standard, it is necessary to consult with lawyers to ensure that all documents are completed correctly. Then all applications will be approved the first time, and you will not have to send them again and pay state fees.

Why do you need Fintech Harbor Consulting for registering your company in the BVI

To open a company abroad, you have to study the legal framework, get acquainted with the requirements, and collect numerous documents. All this takes a lot of time and effort. Save your resources to develop and organize your business. We will handle all the legal issues of setting up a company abroad.
With us, company registration in BVI will be simple and easy because we ensure you:
  • Fast registration process. Our lawyers will assemble a full package of documents quickly because they are well acquainted with the requirements and legislation of the BVI.
  • No hidden fees. We charge for our work strictly the amount specified in the contract.
  • Security of the process. We provide reliable protection of the confidential data of our clients.


Earlier on the islands, it was achievable to set up the type of business – IBC (International Business Company). But in 2019, there have been changes. And now the sort of business is BC (Business Company). The difference between them is that IBC is a purely offshore organization that could only operate outside the country. And now you can register a BC – a firm that has the right to carry out commercial actions not only outside the territory but also within it. The firm name in the BVI corporate registry must end in Ltd, Corp, Inc, Limited, S.A., and derivatives from these words (for example, Corp = Corporation = CORP, etc.).
BCs in the Virgin Islands are tax-free despite the origin of revenue. The sole taxation that subsists is payroll tax for institutions hiring regional workers: the present rate is 8%, and salaries lower than $10,000 are tax-exempt. The BVI establishment has to bear a yearly contribution to the state based on the maximal volume of stakes and the particular date of registration of the firm. For companies with a share capital of up to $50,000 – $350 per twelvemonth. For firms with shares worth surpassing $50,000, the taxation tariff is $1,100. There is another tax on realty dealings – a stamp duty. It is set at a rate of 12% for foreign-born nationals and inhabitants of the country – 4%.
The assistance in enlisting a new firm in the Virgin Islands consists of the registration of the institution itself, payment of the administration signup fee, the services of a regional vendor, the provision of a legal address, and DHL delivery of papers anywhere in the globe. The fee of registering a business depends on every specific case. Please note that this fee does not contain a translation of papers into English and apostille. Also, obtaining licenses for certain sorts of activities is a different service that is supplied for a separate fee. Opening a bank account is also an additional service that is not included in the cost of the establishment.
In most chances, the BVI offshore company formation takes up to five days. It also takes about 10-14 days to prepare the documents. Express delivery of papers using DHL takes 2-3 days. If you need to obtain specific licenses for banking or insurance activities, it will take a little longer. A separate period for opening a corporate bank account. Depending on the chosen jurisdiction and bank, the terms can differ, starting from one month to several months. It all depends on how strict the due diligence requirements are in a particular bank. But you can also buy a ready-made enterprise if you urgently need to get a new legal entity. You can buy a ready-made firm in 1-5 days.

The provisions for a new firm are not much dissimilar from other countries. In BVI company registration is available for both a citizen of the state and a foreign resident. A legal entity can also be a founder. By jurisprudence, you will provide personal information about the creators and stockholders.

It is worth considering that new rules for economic presence have been in power in the land since 2019. Now for particular sorts of activities, you need to keep a registered business office on the islands.

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