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#208728 - 10/31/02 11:52 AM Setting up a business, info please  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 104
BelizeWater Offline
BelizeWater  Offline
Can anyone register a business name? Or do you need to be a resident? Do you apply for a work permit as a business owner first or register the company name? For business licensing, do you do it in the place you plan to operate, ie, AC or Caye Caulker if you plan to open the business there? Is it hard to obtain a business license as a foreigner? Are there any cons opening a business without residency besides the work permit fee/application???


#208729 - 10/31/02 12:12 PM Re: Setting up a business, info please  
Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,157
silkpainter Offline
silkpainter  Offline
You need a business owner's work permit or residency first to register your business name in Belize City. Many businesses in San Pedro don't register their names in Belize City, they just get a San Pedro trade license. The flaw in that, is that someone on the mainland or on Caye Caulker can take your name. The fee for a San Pedro trade license is some obcure formula based on your rent (I think).
My business is on Caye Caulker, so I registered the name in Belize City (25 bz), and they asked me for a copy of my residency card, and a copy of the first page in my passport. Caye Caulker doesnt have business name registration, its all done in the city. Once I had the business name registration papers, I took them to the bank and opened a commercial checking account. I already had a personal savings account though, and had had one for more than a year, so I had an existing account.
I wouldn't even try to operate a business without the proper papers. If caught, Immigration can dump you over the border into Mexico and stamp your passport OTL (Ordered To Leave). Its been done, and it will happen to you, especially if you're competing IN ANY WAY with a Belizean or a resident.
On Caye Caulker, the Tax and Social Security officers come out to the island once a month, drive thru the island and visit new businesses checking papers.
Another note of caution, when I first opened the gallery I was searched by the fisheries department for black coral (no problem there, because I dont sell it, dont want to, dont like it) You have to have a license to work with it or to sell it.
Sales tax registration - for my business, we were tax exempt because everything is made in Belize and we import no art from Mexico, Guatemala or Cuba.
Plan on a $1000 bz deposit on each phone line, if you dont have existing service, and $1000 bzd deposit on electric service also. Also, plan on waiting 6 months to get a merchant account, or putting a $5,000 bzd deposit on the account for a year. Its just the cost of doing business, and establishing yourself. Bring lots of money.
But, if Wendy is your sister, she should know all of this.

#208730 - 10/31/02 10:21 PM Re: Setting up a business, info please  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 104
BelizeWater Offline
BelizeWater  Offline
Thanks Silk...I'm an engineer so I always want to make sure that I've got all my i's dotted and my t's crossed with everything and since Wendy had residency first, our route would be a little different. I really appreciate the info thanks

#208731 - 11/01/02 10:45 PM Re: Setting up a business, info please  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 713
susangg Offline
susangg  Offline
You do not need a "work permit" to own rental real estate and to make money renting it. If you are renting to tourists, you must be registered with the BTB and pay the tourist tax, as well as income tax (a percentage of gross income from the rentals, plus property taxes, etc.). If you are renting your home or apartments or whatever long term outside of the tourist market, I don't know what kind of business license you need, if any. But you do not need any particular kind of visa, you don't even have to live in Belize; and if you are living in Belize as a tourist and periodically leaving to renew your visa, it is perfectly legal. Of course, that is an investment, you need $$ to buy the real estate and probably not an option for people who are talking about "jobs."

Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email:
#208732 - 11/04/02 08:21 PM Re: Setting up a business, info please  
Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,157
silkpainter Offline
silkpainter  Offline
I think that the question was about opening a business like a shop. The rules are different for rental properties, good information though Susan.

#208733 - 11/04/02 09:55 PM Re: Setting up a business, info please  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 104
BelizeWater Offline
BelizeWater  Offline
Yes, thanks for the info on rental properties but I am interested in a shop or store. I guess I'll have to wait until our next visit to check on availability and rental rates for shops. Location, Location, location wink

#208734 - 11/05/02 08:25 PM Re: Setting up a business, info please  
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 5
SMance Offline
SMance  Offline
BelizeWater - your info caught my eye as I own a water and wastewater treatment operations company in NY. Have always been intrigued by operating facilities on the islands. How did you get started in Belize & the Cayman's. NY gets awlfull cold in the Winter! We operate 85 treatment facilities in the Hudson Valley of NY - check out our web site at

#208735 - 11/05/02 09:40 PM Re: Setting up a business, info please  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 104
BelizeWater Offline
BelizeWater  Offline
I'm a civil engineer from Canada. While finishing my last year at McGill University I took a break and visited my sister who had moved to Cayman. Loved it so much I headed back here to look for a "temp job". Never planned on staying but I met my "now husband" and landed a great job at Cayman Water Company Ltd., which is now Consolidated Water Co and I got in at a great time. Company was expanding quickly and started looking overseas. Now 9 years later, a husband and two kids we are looking at AC as the next move as the same sister that was here moved on to Caye Caulker and raves about it. laugh

Consolidated Water deals with R.O plants and distribution systems. In AC our plant produces water and sells it in bulk to BWSL who then distributes it..slightly different operation there.

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