Doing Business in Cayman
It is possible to do business in the Cayman Islands via an Ordinary Resident Company, a Partnership or as a Sole Trader. Please see our Cayman Companies section for details about setting up a Company or Partnership.
In order to trade in Cayman, each of the above mentioned business types requires a Trade and Business License, issued pursuant to the Trade and Business Licensing Law (Revised). A business intending to trade locally must first satisfy the requirement of having at least 60% Caymanian ownership and control pursuant to the Local Companies (Control) Law (Revised). Where a business cannot meet that requirement, an application must be made to the Trade & Business Licensing Board for the grant of a Local Companies Control Licence ("LCCL"). This application is also made in the prescribed form, accompanied by due diligence and the requisite fee.
All employers carrying on business in the Cayman Islands must hold work permits in respect of all its expatriate employees who work in the Islands. Work Permits are issued, where appropriate, by the relevant Boards of the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration. Our Work Permits section discusses the process of applying for a work permit.
Cayman offers world class banking and financial services as well as state of the art technological facilities. The ease and speed of registering a Company makes Cayman a very attractive place to do business.
The Special Economic Zone
The Special Economic Zones Law, 2011 (the "SEZ Law") came into force in the Cayman Islands on 21 November 2011. The SEZ Law provides for the creation and operation of Special Economic Zones ("SEZ"), such as the established Cayman Enterprise City which boasts 6 innovative business parks.
To conduct business within an SEZ, applicants must first engage the services of a local law firm or other corporate service provider to incorporate a Cayman Islands Exempted Special Economic Zone Company ("SEZ Company") or convert an existing Exempted Company into an SEZ Company. Once the SEZ Company is incorporated, an application is made to the SEZA for a Zone Trade Certificate which will enable the SEZ Company to begin conducting business.
Though established in the Cayman Islands, an SEZ is deemed to be outside the Cayman Islands for the purposes of the SEZ Law, the Companies Law (2011 Revision) and the Exempted Limited Partnership Law (2010 Revision) which each expressly prohibit Exempted Companies and Exempted Limited Partnerships from carrying on business within the Cayman Islands. SEZ Companies may not carry on business locally, but, they may contract with local companies for the provision of services to the SEZ Company, which are considered ancillary to or for the furtherance of the business within the SEZ.
Under the SEZ Law, SEZ Companies are exempt from the Trade and Business Licensing Law (2007 Revision), the Local Companies (Control) Law (2007 Revision), the Electronic Transactions Law (2003 Revision) and the Land Acquisition Law (1995 Revision). SEZ Companies are also exempt from liability or obligation to pay direct or indirect taxes, import or other duties, or fees, whether currently levied or levied in the future by the Government, for 50 years from the commencement of the SEZ Law.
The Cayman Islands
Department of Commerce and Investment ("DCI")
The Cayman Islands Department of Commerce and Investment ("DCI") is Cayman's equivalent of the Small Business Administration, found in the United States. The DCI provides resources for potential investors, entrepreneurs and developers interested in doing business in Cayman.
The DCI offers essential guidance in several areas such as starting up a business in Cayman, whether by use of a Company or Partnership, and licensing procedures, depending on the type of business to be carried on whether it be general trading, financial services, a hotel or telecommunications and radio activities. The DCI also advises on planning requirements where new construction, renovation or reconstruction of premises is being considered by an investor, entrepreneur or developer. Employment and Industrial Relations is another important area where the DCI can assist investors and entrepreneurs who need a comprehensive understanding of the procedures and requirements the Department of Immigration and the Employment Relations Department set down in respect of human capital.
The Investor Support Services unit of the DCI handles inquiries from potential investors about the local business atmosphere and local investment opportunities in the Islands. The Small Business Development Unit provides guidance for entrepreneurs considering embarking on a small business and support for existing small businesses operating in the Islands. This unit provides a dynamic training unit to ensure entrepreneurs have access to the skills to help them maximize their earning potential and continue to thrive in Cayman's business environment. The DCI partners with organisations such as the Cayman Islands Development Bank, various commercial lending institutions and professional groups, the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Cayman Angel Investor Network in order to provide these invaluable services to investors, entrepreneurs and developers looking to do business in the Cayman Islands.