Any foreign investor who intends to engage in commercial activity within the Cayman Islands must obtain one or more licenses depending on the nature of the proposed business activity. As regulations vary by industry, it's very important to understand the licensing rules that apply to your business category.
General Business Licenses
There are a number of Business permits administered and processed through the Department of Commerce & Investment, including Trade and Business, Tobacco, Liquor Licensing, Local Company (Control) Licenses (LCCL) and Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA). The fees for application and annual renewal depend on the nature of the business, service and/or profession. Certain types of business premises, such as restaurants & beauty salons, also require inspection by the Department of Environmental Health. Watersports operations and Land Transport businesses required specific certifications/approvals by related Government Authorities/Departments.
Foreign-owned or controlled companies doing business in the Cayman Islands must obtain a licence under the Local Companies (Control) Law. A company is considered foreign owned if less than 60 per cent of the equity is owned by Caymanians or if less than 60 per cent of the board of directors is Caymanian. This licence has a maximum duration of 12 years, but a longer period may be approved by the Governor. For more details, visit the Trade and Business Licensing section of this site.
Financial Services License
Companies operating in the financial services industry must apply for the license relevant to its industry from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA). CIMA is responsible for processing applications, regulation and supervision of:
- Banks and Trust Companies
- Insurance Companies
- Fiduciary Services (Companies Management, Corporate Services, Trust Companies in of companies without a banking licence)
- Investment & Securities Services (Mutual Funds, Mutual Fund Administrators, Securities Investments Businesses)
For more details, please visit the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority website.
Hotels seeking to operate in the Cayman Islands must apply for a hotel licence from the Hotel Licensing Board. This process is administered through the Department of Tourism. A Trade and Business Licence is not required, but a LCCL is required if the level of Caymanian participation does not meet the threshold stated in law.
Telecommunications and Radio Licenses
The Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) is an independent statutory Authority which is responsible for the regulation and licensing of Telecommunications, Broadcasting, and all forms of radio which includes ship, aircraft, mobile and amateur radio. The ICTA conducts the administration and management of the .ky domain.
A Trade and Business Licence is not required for a business licensed by the ICTA, but a Local Companies (Control) Licence is required if the level of Caymanian participation does not meet the threshold stated in law.
For more details, please visit the Information and Communications Technology Authority website.