In order to conduct business in the Cayman Islands, a Sole trader or an entity not licenced or regulated under any other Cayman Islands law requires a Trade and Business Licence. The Trade and Business License, if granted, is renewable annually by submitting a renewal form and the requisite fee to the Trade and Business Licensing Board and there are stringent fines and penalties for operating without a valid Trade and Business Licence.

A Sole Trader can apply for and obtain a Trade and Business Licence if he is Caymanian. Applications, made to the Trade & Business Licensing Board (the "Board"), are made in the prescribed form and accompanied by an explanation of the applicant's business, due diligence documentation with the $75 filing fee and the requisite licence fee which depend on the type of business the applicant wishes to carry on in the Islands. Should an individual desire to operate his business out of his home, further approval should be sought from the Department of Planning for a nominal fee. Planning approval is also required for certain other activities even if they are proposed to take place on commercial premises.

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A non-Caymanian Sole Trader would need to apply for a Local Companies Control Licence ("LCCL") in addition to the Trade and Business Licence in order to carry on a business in Cayman, however LCCLs are only granted to individuals if the business is found to be in the best interests of the public.

To apply for a Trade and Business Licence, the applicant should submit the following:

  • Completed application form and fees;

  • Proof of Caymanian Status (eg. Birth certificate, Caymanian Status certificate, acknowledgement or confirmation); and

  • Cover letter detailing the nature of the proposed business.

Companies and other entities wishing to carry on business in the Cayman Islands must be at least 60% Caymanian-owned and controlled. They will also need to demonstrate their good standing to the Board and submit the following:

  • Application form and applicable fees;

  • Certificate of Incorporation

  • Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company;

  • An outline of the nature of the business the company proposes to conduct;

  • A copy of the Return of Shareholding;

  • A copy of the company's Register of Directors; and

  • Proof of Caymanian Status of Caymanian Directors and Shareholders (eg. Birth certificate, Caymanian Status certificate, acknowledgement or confirmation).

Those that do not satisfy this requirement must apply for a LCCL as well. The following documentation should be furnished to the Local Companies Control Licensing Board (the "LCCL Board"):

  • Application form and applicable fees;

  • Certificate of Incorporation

  • Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company;

  • An outline of the nature of the business the company proposes to conduct;

  • Proof that the company was unsuccessful at attracting Caymanian investors- in the form of copies of advertisements in the local press seeking Caymanian participation;

  • Bank and character references for owners and directors,

  • A copy of the Return of Shareholding; and

  • A copy of the company's Register of Directors.

The Boards may request further information in support any of the applications.

Every business' application is different and our local licensing team can advise you on the specific approvals and supporting documents that are required for your circumstances. The foregoing is for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. You can also find out more about the considerations taken into account by the LCCL Board in assessing an application by visiting the Department of Commerce and Investment's website. www.investcayman.gov.ky.

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