Resources & Information
Upon the non-resident’s arrival to the island, an immigration officer may permit him to enter and to remain in Saint Lucia for a period not exceeding 3 months for purposes of a temporary nature (as a visitor, for employment or for trade or business for example). This initial stay granted may be extended to a year from the date of entry on an application to the Chief Immigration officer.
An individual who has been permitted to enter Saint Lucia who is in employment with a local or regional government entity or who has successfully established himself in Saint Lucia in a profession, trade, business or agricultural enterprise or who is likely to establish himself successfully in Saint Lucia and has sufficient means to support himself and his dependants in Saint Lucia until he has so established himself, may apply for immigrant status or permanent residence status.
An individual who has resided in Saint Lucia for at least 5 years may be entitled to be registered as a permanent resident.
The following documents are submitted along with application for residency:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Passport photo certified by a notary or justice of the peace
- Income tax certificate (where applicable)
Generally, a person who is born in Saint Lucia is a citizen of Saint Lucia.
A person born outside of Saint Lucia shall become a citizen if at the date of birth his or her mother or father is a citizen of Saint Lucia. However, this automatic right of citizenship is not afforded where the parents obtain their citizenship in a similar manner.
The following individuals on application to the relevant Minister are entitled to be registered as citizens of Saint Lucia:
- a woman who is married to a citizen or has been married to a person who at any time during the period of her marriage was a citizen
- a man who is married to a citizen or who has been married to a person who at any time during the period of the marriage was a citizen
- a person who being a Commonwealth citizen has been for a period of 7 years prior to his or her application ordinarily resident in Saint Lucia (in special circumstances a period short than 7 years may be accepted)
- a person under the age of 21 years who is a step-child or adopted child of a person entitled to be registered as a citizen
The documents which must accompany the application vary but include:
- Birth Certificates of the applicant, parent or spouse where applicable;
- Marriage Certificate of parents or spouse where applicable;
- Passport size photos certified by a notary or justice of the peace
- Certificate of character or police record from home country and Saint Lucia
- Income Tax certificate (if working in Saint Lucia)
Investors may apply for concessions and incentives under various legislations:
- Special Development Areas Act – to encourage investment in certain districts in Saint Lucia (e.g. Soufriere, Vieux Fort, Choiseul and Canaries);
- Tourism Incentive Act – for investments in tourism products including hotels, guest houses, touring companies, restaurants etc.;
- Fiscal Incentive Act – for investments in manufacturing and assembly;
- Development Incentive Act – available for….
The concessions available include tax holidays for up to 15 years; duty free exemptions on raw materials, construction material and equipment, and vehicles; and exemption from paying stamp duties. It is possible to make applications under more than one Act for the same project.
Trading under a Business Name
A person who wishes to carry on business under a name which does not consist of his or her true surname without any addition other than his or her true Christian names or the initials must register as a business name.
There are advantages to carrying on business as a sole trader including low cost of set up, few statutory requirements and low capital requirement. However, the sole trader is personally responsible to for debts and liabilities of the business – unlimited liability means that the business owner’s personal assets are at risk.
A firm having a place of business in Saint Lucia and which carries on business under a name which does not consist of the true surname of all partners who are individuals and the corporate names of all partners who are corporations without any addition other than the true Christian names of individual partners or initials of such Christian names must register as a business name.
There are no restrictions as to the maximum number of partners in a firm.
Like a sole trader business the cost of set up is low and statutory requirements are minimal however except where the partners agree all partners are personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business.
Information required for registering a Business Name (Sole trader or Partnership):
- Approved name
- General nature of business
- Name(s) and address(es) of individual(s) forming the business
- Place of business
- Date of commencement of business
A business name may be registered between 7 to 10 working days
Limited Liability Companies
The cost of incorporating a company is comparatively higher than that of registering a business name or setting up a partnership. Additionally, the statutory requirements are greater e.g. companies must file annual returns. However, due to the legal nature of corporations there are several advantages to operating business through this type of organisation. As a corporation is a separate legal person – i.e. separate from its shareholders and directors which carry on business for the benefit of the company – it may sue or be sued in its own right. Consequently, one of the main advantages of carrying on business through a corporation is its limited liability – that is to say, the liability of the owners of the company (its shareholders) is limited to the money invested into the company, through the purchase of shares.
Information required to incorporate a company:
- Approved name
- Company’s registered office
- Company’s mailing address
- Names, addresses and occupation of the directors of the company
After a company is incorporated the directors are responsible for issuing bye-laws, appointing a corporate secretary and issuing of shares.
International Business Companies (Offshore Companies)
Saint Lucia has been an International Financial Offshore Centre since 2000. Legislation exists under which International Business Companies (“IBCs”) may be incorporated. These companies are not permitted to carrying on business with Saint Lucian residents or to own real property (land) in Saint Lucia. However, IBCs are not prohibited from owning shares, debt obligations or other security in local companies and may be useful entities in a group structure.
Some of the advantages in operating a business through an IBC include exemption from income tax and other government imposed taxes and stamp duties and confidentiality.
An IBC may be incorporated within 48 hours provided that the relevant documents are supplied. These documents include two forms of identification, reference letters from a bank and an attorney or accountant, and proof of address (utility bill or statement).
Companies or firms registered outside Saint Lucia may do business in Saint Lucia. However, prior to commencing any business these companies or firms must register with the Companies Registry as external companies.
The following persons may not engage in trade in Saint Lucia without having first obtained a trade license:
- Non-CARICOM nationals;
- companies incorporated in jurisdictions other than Saint Lucia;
- companies incorporated in Saint Lucia if:
- 50% or more in number of its directors are aliens; or
- 50% or more of the votes exercisable at a meeting of the shareholder or which would be exercisable if a meeting of the shareholders was held, are vested in aliens; or
- if the amount paid or payable in any period of twelve months as dividend to those members of the company who are aliens exceed 50% or more of the total amount paid or payable by the Company as dividends in the same period.’
certain areas of economic activity are reserved for business enterprises owned by nationals of Member States of CARICOM
It is worth noting that a licence could be awarded to non-national companies or persons in cases where local investment has not sufficiently been forthcoming or where the appropriate technology and capacity is not available locally.
- Real Estate (Aliens License)
Agreement for Sale:
An Agreement for Sale is executed along the terms as agreed between the Intended Purchaser and Intended Vendor. A deposit of ten (10) percent of the purchase price is usually paid at this stage and the agreement stipulates the period in which the sale will be completed amongst other things. This agreement is usually registered against the property to ensure that the intended purchaser’s interests are secured until completion of the sale.
In order for a non-national or an Alien Company to hold property in St. Lucia, he or she must obtain an Alien’s Licence. The Alien’s (Licensing) Act (2002) deals with the regulation of the holding of land by aliens and alien companies.
A company is considered to be an alien if:
(a) fifty percent or more in number of its directors are aliens; or
(b) fifty percent or more of the votes exercisable at a meeting of the shareholder or which would be exercisable if a meeting of the shareholders was held, are vested in aliens; or
(c) the amount paid or payable in any period of twelve months as dividend to those members of the company who are aliens exceed fifty percent or more of the total amount paid or payable by the Company as dividends in the same period.
To apply for this licence the Intended Purchaser will be required to submit the following:
o Completed application form (prescribed form)
o Four (4) Passport size photographs
o Statutory Declaration attesting to the Applicant’s lack of criminal records (prescribed form)
o Copy of Passport Photopage
o Two (2) Personal References
o Banker’s Reference
o Undertaking in writing to provide capital from external sources only.
o Set of fingerprints
o Police Certificate of Good Character
o Valuation of the property
o Land Register extract
o Copy of Map Sheet
o Plan of Survey
o Location Plan
These documents along with the application are submitted to our Cabinet of Ministers for consideration and approval of the licence. This process usually takes three (3) months to complete and the licence is normally granted subject to specific conditions as imposed by the Cabinet of Ministers. Upon approval a formal licence is prepared and registered and at this time the Applicant may proceed to complete the purchase of the property.
Please note that Government fees for an Alien’s Licence are pro-rated depending on the size of the property being purchased:
(1) up to 1 acre of land : $ 5,000.00
(2) over 1 acre and up to 10 acres: $10,000.00
(3) over 10 acres and up to 20 acres: $20,000.00
(4) over 20 and up to 50 acres: $30,000.00
(5) over 50 up to 100: $40,000.00
(6) over 100 acres: $50,000.00
Deed of Sale:
The Deed of Sale is a document which transfers title of the property from the vendor to the purchaser. At this stage the balance of the purchase price is paid to the Vendor. This document is registered in our Land Registry and the effect of the registration is that the purchaser is recorded as the owner of the property.
Government & Professional Fees:
The fees with respect to the above-mentioned processes are determinable on the price and size of the property being purchased and thus can only be calculated once this information is available.
- Taxes (PAYE, Double taxation Treaties, VAT, withholding Taxes, stamp duties)
Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide profits that is profits derived directly or indirectly from all sources whether in or out of Saint Lucia. Non-resident companies which carry on business through a permanent establishment are taxable only ons profits derived from source situated within Saint Lucia.
For income tax purposes a resident company is a company incorporated in Saint Lucia (not including an IBC) or a company incorporated outside Saint Lucia which is managed and control from Saint Lucia.
The corporation tax is 33 1/3%. However, the income of a non-resident company which is derived from a source other than from the carrying on business through a permanent establishment is subject to a withholding tax at 25%, on the gross amount.
All income received by resident individuals whether received in or outside of Saint Lucia is subject to tax. Non-resident individuals are taxed on income derived in Saint Lucia. Individuals who are resident but not ordinarily resident are taxed on income derived from sources outside Saint Lucia to the extent that such income is received in Saint Lucia.
An individual is deemed to be resident if he or she is physically present in Saint Lucia for at least 183 days in a calendar year or 183 consecutive days in two consecutive years.
The tax rates on the chargeable income (gross income minus allowances and deductions):
On the first $10,000 and under 10%
On the next $10,000; 10,001 – 20,000 15%
On the next $10,000; 20,001 – 30,000 20%
On the remainder 30%
Income paid to non-resident individual from sources in Saint Lucia is subject to a withholding tax of 25%.
Interest paid to non-residents is also subject to a withholding tax of 15%.
Double Taxation treaties
The Saint Lucia government has signed Double taxation relief agreements with United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, United States of America and Switzerland.
Generally a person (including a company) taxed in one CARICOM Member State is not subject to tax in another.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
VAT has not been implemented in Saint Lucia. However, the government of Saint Lucia has proposed to introduce the VAT system and has set up a regulatory body to assist with the implementation.
The rate of stamp duty varies according to the transaction e.g. deeds of sale, mortgages, transfer of share.