St Lucia Real Estate Blog

How to Start a Business in St Lucia

How to Start a Business in St Lucia

The incorporation and registration of a company must be done through an
attorney registered and operating in St. Lucia. There are official forms to be
completed during the process. The following procedure applies:
A foreign investor seeking to start up a business in St. Lucia must:

1. Prepare the incorporation documents1.
• An attorney prepares the articles of incorporation documents,
which include:
i. The articles of incorporation.
ii. The notice of directors.
iii. The notice of the company’s registered office.

• Bylaws are not essential for forming the company but are highly
recommended. They are usually filed together with other
documents in this procedure and are included in the company
formation fee.

2. Register with the Commercial Registry.
• When registering the company with the commercial registry, the
attorney pays an administrative fee when presenting the
documents for registration.
• The registry issues a certificate of incorporation and the registration
process is finalized.

3. Obtain a tax payer identification number.
• Obtain and complete a registration form with the Inland Revenue
• The completed registration form is signed by a director and the
company secretary. It must accompany the certificate of
incorporation with a list of employees, their National Insurance
numbers and dates of employment with the company.

4. Register as an employer with a social security institute.
• The competent authority is the National Insurance Corporation

On approval the Articles of Incorporation, Notice of Directors, Notice of Address
and Statutory Declaration must be submitted to the Registrar, along with the
Approved Request for Name Search form. A $2.50 stamp is required for the

A prescribed Fee of $850.00 is to be paid to the Registrar for Incorporation of
Companies (profit).

A prescribed fee of $3,125.00 is to be paid to the Registrar for the Registering of
Foreign Companies

A prescribed fee of $125.00 is to be paid to the Registrar for the Registering of
Business Name.

A prescribed fee of $250.00 is to be paid to the Registrar for the Incorporation of
Companies (non-profit).

All forms must be collected at the Registry of Companies and Intellectual
Property of St. Lucia.

Trade License

All foreign individuals and companies, intending to conduct business in St Lucia,
and own more than 49% of the company’s shares, are required to have a Trade
License. The Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and
Consumer Affairs issues Trade Licenses.

The procedure for obtaining a Trade License is as follows:-

1. Three copies of the Trade License Application Form can be obtained
from the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment
and Consumer Affairs or Invest St. Lucia.

2. The application form must be completed and returned to the Ministry
or Invest St. Lucia.

3. The application is considered by the Trade License Advisory Board.
The Board makes recommendations to the Minister, who then grants
the final approval.

4. The Application takes approximately 6-8 weeks (from the date
submitted) to process. The license is issued annually and expires on 31
December of the year in which it is granted.

A fee of EC $1,000 is payable for a Trade License.

Where the license is to be held by a person or company involved in selling goods
where average stock does not exceed EC $10,000, the fee is EC $500.

At the completion of registration and granting of a trade license, an
investor/business may then apply for fiscal incentives, if applicable.

Work Permits

Under the Foreign National and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment)
Regulation, all non-nationals wanting to conduct a business or be gainfully
employed in St. Lucia must apply for a work permit. Applications can be
obtained from the Labour Department of the Ministry of Education, Human
Resource Development and Labour.

1. Provide a police record from last place of residence.
2. Provide certified copies of educational certificates/qualifications.
3. Provide valid copy of Trade License (for foreign companies applying
on behalf of foreign employees).

Applying for a work permit in St. Lucia

1) Collect a completed ‘A’ Form from the Work Permit Officer at the
Department of Labour.
• Pay a non-refundable fee of (EC$100.00) to the Accountant
General at the Government Treasury located in Castries.
i. The completed ‘A’ form must be presented at the time the
payment is made.
• The treasury receipt which you will receive is required is addressed
to the Work Permit Officer, who will then issue the Work Permit

2) Submit the Work Permit application form.
• Take the Treasury receipt back to the Work Permit Officer at the
Department of Labour who will then provide you with a Work Permit
• Complete the Work Permit application form and ensure that the
following documents are attached before it is submitted to the
Work Permit Officer:
i. A police record from the country where the applicant last
ii. Certified documentary proof of qualifications.

iii. Trade Licence (where applicable).
iv. Copies of advertisements for the posts.
v. Evidence that income tax has been paid.
vi. Two (2) passport size photograph.
vii. Letter From Employer (Former or Current)

3. Collection of Approves Work Permits.
• The Work permit officer will notify you of the status of your
• If approval is granted, a fee of EC (based on your current
nationality) must be paid to the Government Treasury (see below).
• Present the Treasury Receipt to the Work Permit Officer who will

Completed “A” Forms to facilitate payment of the appropriate Work Permit fee
into the Treasury are sent to the applicant. The fees are based on the following

a. Caribbean Commonwealth

EC $2000.00 for each desired year
of employment.
b. Other Commonwealth

EC $7500.00 for each desired year
of employment.
c. Foreign Nationals

EC $7500.00 for each desired year
of employment.
d. Citizens or persons belonging to
any Country at (a), (b) and (c)
above for a period not exceeding
one month for which the permit is

EC $400.00
e. Unskilled persons under
categories (a), (b) and (c) above
for every period of 12 months or
part thereof for which the permit is

EC $200.00
f. Commercial Sales
Personnel/professionals per entry

EC $300.00

This procedure is repeated every year until the applicant becomes a citizen of St.
Lucia. A person that has gained resident status is NOT EXEMPT from a Work Permit
and is required to apply according to the above procedures.

All applications should be submitted to the Work Permit Officer at least two (2)
months prior to the date that you propose or plan to be employed or engaged.
While the Application is in process, the applicant should NOT engage in any kind
of employment.

Other Permits

Land Development

An investor, who is desirous of developing land, must apply for permission
from the Planning Department of the Ministry of Planning, Development,
Environment and Housing. The application must be made in triplicate and
should be accompanied by maps and plans. Failure by the authorities to
give a decision for development approval within ninety (90) days may be
deemed a refusal. The applicant however, has the right to appeal.

Environmental Impact Assessment

In cases where the proposed development may have environmental
implications, the Ministry of Planning, would authorize an Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) to be conducted, the results of which would
determine approval.

Health and Safety Permit

In the case of food operations, a permit is required from the Division of
Public Health of the Ministry of Health. These permits are granted on an
annual basis.

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