Special Economic Zones
Because of the Cayman Islands’ recently passed Special Economic Zone Law, international companies looking for business opportunities in the Cayman Islands now have more options.
The law sets areas of specialised economic activity in the Cayman Islands, and firms that meet the criteria for domiciling in these zones benefit from:
- a tax-neutral platform
- easy company formation
- reduced customs and trade certificate fees
- fast-tracked business registration and licensing
- competitive employment certificate fees
The Cayman Islands is now open to considering proposals for SEZs. The first approved SEZ operator is Cayman Enterprise City, targeting companies in the technology; media; biotech research; global commodities and derivatives trading; and education fields.
Special Economic Zone Authority
The Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA) regulates all SEZs in the Cayman Islands. It oversees all licensing, compliance and enforcement activities, and maintains statistical data.
Special Economic Zone Authority Secretariat
The administrative functions of SEZA are handled by the Special Economic Zone Secretariat, which falls under the Cayman Islands Department of Commerce and Investment.
The SEZ application process
- Interested companies must first apply to the zone operator (for example, Cayman Enterprise City) for tenancy space. If approval is granted, the company will receive a provisional letter of acceptance into the SEZ from the zone operator.
- The company then submits a copy of its provisional letter of acceptance to the Cayman Islands General Registry, the government department that incorporates companies. The company also should check with General Registry to determine what additional documentation must be submitted for company incorporation.
- Once application requirements are met, General Registry issues official company registration documents to the company or its service provider. The company provides these documents to the zone operator, which then submits certified copies of these documents to the SEZA Secretariat, along with the following completed forms.
- A SEZA trade certification application (form 1)
- A SEZA customs trader identification number (form 2)
- Personal questionnaire (form 4)
- The SEZA Secretariat reviews the application, conducts the required due diligence, and sends the application to SEZA’s licensing committee for approval.
- If approved, a trade certificate is issued to the company, and the zone operator is notified.
Companies that operate inside the special economic zone must apply for SEZA employment certificates for all non-Caymanian workers they wish to hire. To do so, they must complete the SEZA employment certificate (form 3) and submit it to the zone operator, which will forward it to the SEZA Secretariat along with a letter of support.
Standard processing time for both certificates is five business days.
All questions regarding the process for applications for trade and business certificates, and also for employment certificates, may be directed to:
The SEZA Secretariat
C/o Department of Commerce and Investment
P.O. Box 126
Grand Cayman, KY1-9000
t: 345.945.0943 ext. 2069