ESTABLISHING A BUSINESS

Steps to setup or incorporate a business

The time required to complete the incorporation and to obtain the necessary licenses varies. Depending on the complexity of the legal form of the entity, an NV or BV can be incorporated in one day while the necessary licenses can be obtained within a few weeks. Certain formal steps must be taken in order to set up your business in Curaçao.

  • A corporation is established by the execution of a notarial deed, including Limited Liability Companies (NV or BV), Foundations and Private Foundations.
  • The founders of the legal entity must sign the articles of association before the notary (it is possible to use a power of attorney). At least one founder is required to form the corporation, either an individual or a legal entity. Nonresidents can establish a BV or NV by proxy.
  • The notary must register the legal entity at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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Licenses

The most important licenses required are the following:

  • Business license from the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao permitting the corporation to act on the island;
  • Director’s license for each managing director (the law does not limit the number of managing directors); in addition, managing directors need a residence and a working permit to work in Curaçao. This requirement applies to all expatriates. Expatriates with a Dutch passport do not need a working permit.

In specific cases, a foreign exchange license can be obtained, which exempts the corporation from foreign exchange controls. This license is issued by the Central Bank. General requirements for opening a Business Account for legal entities established in Curaçao For opening a business account these are the most common documents you need.

  • Articles of Association;
  • A recent and original Chamber of Commerce excerpt;
  • A certified copy of Shareholder’s register or original excerpt shareholder register executed by the Managing Director;
  • Valid identification document of the Ultimate Beneficial Owner(s), directors, authorized signatories and shareholders;
  • One original bank reference;
  • A copy of the license to establish a business (vestigingsvergunning);
  • If applicable: a board resolution to open and operate the account.

Entry and Immigration requirements

Generally, visitors holding a valid passport may enter Curaçao without a written permit and remain with us for a period of 14 to 30 days. However, permits can be given to investors who fulfill the requirements, who own a boat or buy a property for an admission period of 6 months per the calendar year. Foreign nationals require a residence and a work permit to legally reside in Curaçao.

  • Residence permit: to obtain admission it is necessary to provide information on how the applicant will support himself and accompanying dependents. When eligible for a residence permit the applicant must pay a security deposit which varies depending on the country of origin. Upon final departure, the applicant receives the deposit back.
  • Work permit: will be granted if no suitable local qualified persons are available. A work permit is not necessary for expatriates with a Dutch passport (European Dutch individuals).
  • The National Ordinance on Labor by Foreigners (Landsverordening Arbeid Vreemdelingen, “LAV”) provides for information regarding rules for granting of work permits. A (temporary) work permit can be denied for the protection of the local labor market.
  • During the application period for a resident/work permit, the applicant must remain outside Curaçao. The local authorities must decide within 4 months about the outcome of the application process.
  • A work permit is granted for a definite period or for the duration of a project.
  • In some cases a working permit is not necessary:
  • Persons having admission by right (e.g. Dutch nationals);
  • Foreign nationals originating from countries in respect of whom a work permit cannot be requested pursuant to international treaties or according to international law;
  • Spouses or partners who are married to or have concluded a cohabitation contract before a Dutch civil law notary with a Dutch citizen, persons having a residence permit for an indefinite period;
  • Persons who have a residence permit granted by the Minister of Justice without prohibition for working. Visitors traveling to Curaçao must be in possession of – A valid passport; – A valid return- or onward ticket; – The necessary documents for returning to the country of origin or to a country that one has the right to enter, for example, a valid residence permit (temporary or permanent), a re-entry permit or an (entry) visa; – Sufficient funds.

Visa

Several nationalities (e.g. Cuba, Haiti, and Peru) must present a tourist visa as part of the entry requirements. A visa should be applied for at least one month in advance at any representation of the Netherlands (in the concerning country). Countries that do not need a visa are: All Member states of the European Union, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong (holders of British National Overseas Passport or holders of Special Administrative Region Passport), Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Macao (holders of Special Administrative Region Passport), Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, St. Christopher (St. Kitts) & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Vatican City, United States of America (USA).


Labor regulations

Actual wages paid are often higher than the minimum. The standard legal working hours are normally 8 per day and 40 per week. At least 15 working days’ annual vacation must be given with pay, and 10 paid public holidays are also granted.

Labor legislation

labor_tablelabor_round_info Collective labor agreements usually cover a period of two to three years, after which new terms are agreed upon for a similar period of time. The reliability provided by these contracts benefits both the employer and employee. In most cases, there is a clause which provides for no strikes or lockouts during the contract period. All labor disputes where parties do not reach an agreement must be subjected to mediation. Parties may request intervention, or the mediator can ex-officio compel parties to accept mediation. The government has the authority to impose a ‘cooling off period. AOV and AWW premiums are due until the age of 65. In the case of income other than from employment, the rates are 16% for AOV and AWW, 12% for BVZ and 2% for AVBZ. The implementation of the social security insurances is entrusted to the Social Insurance Bank (SVB) However, payment of the AOV, AWW, BVZ and AVBZ must be made at the Tax Collector’s office, and for information with regard to the assessment, one should contact the Inspectorate of Taxes. Most people in Curaçao are insured based on the Basic Health Care Insurance which was introduced in 2013. The insurance covers medical expenses in Curaçao. For medical expenses that occur while traveling abroad, it is advisable to obtain separate private insurance.

Organizations

Employers’ organizations

Several organizations serve the interest of local businesses, such as Curaçao Chamber of Commerce and Industry ;

  • Curaçao Trade and Industry Association (Vereniging Bedrijfsleven Curaçao or VBC) for trade and industry ;
  • Curaçao Hotel and Tourism Association (CHATA) .
  • Antillean Contractors Association (A.A.V.)