Curaçao is a top choice among companies that want to grow their business across the Pan-American region. It is an excellent place to establish a new business, for various reasons. To get you started, here is a quick checklist of things you should consider and get into place.
- Contact the Curaçao Industrial and International Trade Development Company.
Curinde owns and operates two Free (Economic) Zones, at the airport and seaport, as well as a third Industrial Business Park, all with secure state-of-the-art and readily available multi-purpose facilities. Apply with us to get the facility that best suits your objectives, before you incorporate a company via a public notary.
- Find out if your branch of business is regulated and if it’s permitted in the Free (Economic) Zones.
Curinde can tell you whether your products or services are permitted in the Free Economic Zones, and which legislation and regulations you need to be aware of before you start.
- Check which licenses you need to conduct your type of business in Curaçao.
On the website of the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce you will find a complete list of the licenses needed for various types of businesses, as well as information about legal structures, resident’s permits, trademarks and more: www.curacao-chamber.cw/business
- Or make your life easier and select a local law firm to assist you.
You can incorporate a company directly through a Public Notary, but there are also various firms that specialize in setting up and registering entities on your behalf. Curinde can connect you with one of them.
- Determine which legal structure you need.
The government of Curaçao provides attractive incentives to companies established in the Free (Economic) Zone, through the economic zone law. However, not all legal structures qualify. In order to benefit from tax incentives, your company can only have certain legal structures. Your lawyer or notary will help you select the one that best accommodates your objectives.
- ‘Set up shop’.
Once registered at the Chamber of Commerce and Tax Office and after you acquire the necessary permits, you can occupy your space and contract utilities and services. Ask Curinde for tips and tricks on the best providers and how to cut through the red tape.
When you have these basics in place, there are several other factors to think about. Here are some of the most important:
- Finance & Taxes. TIP: some legal firms also provide accounting services and tax support. It is convenient to select a firm that integrates all these services for a fixed annual fee.
- Employment Law. Contact the Department of Social Development, Labor and Welfare in order to follow the proper rules and regulations for employing local and/or foreign labor.
- Immigration Requirements. Foreign nationals must apply for a residence permit, unless they receive ‘admission by right’ (e.g. Dutch citizens), or qualify as a tourist, in which case they are not allowed to work.
- Intellectual Property. Whether you choose to only trade or also produce in Curaçao, you must take into account local laws, as well as international treaties, as they apply to such things as trademarks, brands, patents, data protection, trade secrets and more.
- Customs, Shipping and Handling. The Curaçao Customs Authority has offices both in the seaport and at the airport. Still, employing a local handling agent is a good idea, both for their internal contacts at Customs, as well as for quick logistic handling of your shipments.