Offshore company registration: a review of the most important aspects

You have a wide choice of options if you would like to register a foreign/ offshore company. Each option will have its own pluses and minuses. What is more, each option will have many aspects to consider when deliberating the opportunity to set up an offshore company. Below we discuss where you can register a foreign company, how much time the registration process takes, how much it costs to set up an offshore company, what documents are required to apply for company registration, and other related issues.

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Offshore registration

What country should you choose for your offshore company?

The answer to this question depends on your business goals and personal preferences. What business sphere are you engaged in? What are your main purpose(s) of setting up an offshore company? Who are your business partners? These and other suchlike questions will determine the choice of the country where you should register an offshore company. If your main goal is saving on taxes, you should consider the following options in the first place:

1. Zero-tax jurisdictions

Registering or buying an offshore company in such jurisdictions as Belize, the BVI, Nevis, the Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu will free you from taxes (or at least, you will be able to pay taxes at low rates). The world’s financial regulating authorities are fighting against zero-tax jurisdictions trying to make them levy higher taxes and putting them on various black lists. But the abovementioned small island states have scarce natural resources and they have to offer something out of the ordinary to attract foreign investors. Therefore, they are fighting back and making some lucrative offers to international entrepreneurs. In particular, they impose extremely mild reporting requirements.

2. Free economic zones in the UAE

Registering an offshore company in a Free Economic Zone in the United Arab Emirates will allow saving on taxes significantly. Some payments will be due but they are almost negligible. Besides, setting up a company in a Free Economic Zone in the UAE will serve as legal grounds to apply for a residence permit in the country.

3. Low-tax jurisdictions

The country does not have to have reputational issues to offer attractive tax conditions. Such reputable jurisdictions as Cyprus, Malta, and Great Britain allow paying less in taxes if you register a foreign company there. In addition, a business company domiciled in any of these countries will have easy access to the European and the world markets.

4. Countries in the Southeast Asia

If you register an offshore company in this region, you would not have to pay the corporate tax on your global income. The most popular and prestigious jurisdictions in Southeast Asia are Singapore and Hong Kong but Thailand, Vietnam, and Labuan also deserve attention.

Should you register a new offshore company or purchase an existing one?

This is a different kind of choice that you have to make: set up a new offshore company or buy a shelf company instead. The main advantage of the latter option is the speed of company acquisition. Buying a foreign company that has already been registered with the authorities can take as little as one day (usually, a couple of days are required though). However, purchasing a readymade company also has some disadvantages:

  1. The company may have debts that were concealed when you were buying it. You will be unpleasantly surprised when this fact comes out.
  2. The company will have a name that you may not be able to ever change.
  3. The company may have no bank account, which will entail spending additional time and money on opening one. If the company does have a bank account, it may be not with the best bank but you will have to stick to it anyway.

To compare, let us consider what advantages registering a new offshore company will bring:

  1. If you would like to use your offshore company to expand your business operations and enter the international market, you can register the company under the name that is consonant with the brand name of your product or service.
  2. It is possible to register a new offshore company remotely without paying a visit to the country of its domiciliation. Some turnkey solutions are available.
  3. When setting up a new offshore company, you can choose any bank that you like to open a corporate account there.
  4. A new offshore company will obviously have no debts nor any reputational issues.
  5. If you register a new company, you can use nominee services in case you are concerned about your confidentiality as the company owner.

What does purchasing an existing company make sense? When you have to strike a business deal urgently and you have no time to waste. Another reason for buying a shelf company may be the wish to have a business venture with a history of operations, which may be desirable in some situations. However, if these are not your priorities, you would be better off registering a new offshore company rather than buying an existing one.  

What are the timeframes of offshore company registration?

If somebody tells you that an offshore company can be registered within a day or two, it is a blatant lie. Realistically, an offshore company can be set up within one to four weeks. The registration timeframes will depend on several of factors:

  • The jurisdiction and its legislation;
  • The type of the offshore company and its business sphere;
  • The kind of bank account that the company should have. 

We believe that in most cases, the timeframe of the offshore company registration is not the central factor to consider provided that it does not take forever. Factors that are much more important include the following ones: the reliability of the jurisdiction, the confidentiality protection, and the corporate account with the right bank. InternationalWealth portal experts will gladly help you make the optimal choice.

What is the cost of registering an offshore company?

There is no uniform price of registering an offshore company. The cost of the registration will depend, again, on the jurisdiction where your company has to be domiciled, and the form of ownership that it is going to have. The type of the corporate bank account will also have a bearing here. Below please find approximate costs of registering offshore companies in various jurisdictions. 

  1. Seychelles – from 5,949 EUR
  2. The Marshall Islands – from 3,285 EUR
  3. The British Virgin Islands – from 5,399 EUR
  4. Belize (IBC or LLC)  – from 1,750 EUR
  5. Hong Kong – from 2,640 EUR
  6. Singapore – from 4,600 EUR
  7. Cyprus – from 3,250 EUR
  8. Panama – from 1,965 EUR
  9. Great Britain (LP) – from 1,220 EUR
  10. Nevis – from 4,699 EUR

We will also be happy to offer you some additional services that we will discuss with each client individually:

  • Payment of state duties;
  • Apostille;
  • Corporate documents delivery;
  • Office rent;
  • Corporate bank account opening;
  • Nominee shareholder and nominee director services;
  • Other related services.

Our partners in the offshore countries will also provide a full range of company maintenance services including accounting support, company secretary, translation services, tax planning advice, business plan development, investment advice, economic substance acquisition, company audit, purchase of company property, foreign citizenship acquisition, and so on.

Please inquire about the exact cost of registering an offshore company in a certain jurisdiction by writing to our corporate email address.

The procedure of registering an offshore company

If you would like to register an offshore company, you have to take the process step by step. When you apply for our assistance in the matter, we will guide you through the following stages of the company registration procedure:  

  1. We will discuss all the details of your prospective company including its name and the bank where you can set up a corporate account.
  2. When all the details have been agreed upon, we will sign a service agreement with you.
  3. Then we will have to prepare all the documents required for company registration.
  4. Then we will register an offshore company on your behalf.
  5. In the process, we will pay the necessary state duties and other fees.
  6. After that, we will set up a corporate bank account for your offshore company.
  7. Then we will have the corporate documents apostilled.
  8. Finally, we will deliver the documents to you wherever you are.

The offshore company can be registered in your name or you can use nominee services if you wish.

Documents required for registering an offshore company

The standard application document package includes the following documents:

Documents required for registering an offshore company
  • A passport copy or a copy of a similar ID;
  • A proof of the company founder’s residential address;
  • If the offshore company is registered in the name of a corporate entity rather than a private individual, corporate documents of this entity will be required.

Please bear in mind that in some cases, some additional documents may have to be supplied.

Offshore company corporate documents

When the company registration procedure is completed, the company owner will obtain the following corporate documents:

  • Certificate of company registration in the chosen jurisdiction;
  • Company By-laws;
  • Minutes of the shareholders’ meeting containing the information about the director appointment(s);
  • Share certificates (depending on the jurisdiction and company form of ownership, various types of shares can be issued including bearer shares);
  • Share issuance warrant;
  • Register of company shareholders and directors;
  • Power of Attorney in the name of the nominee shareholder/ director (if nominee services are used).

If required by the local legislation, the corporate documents will be notarized, translated into the official language of the country, and/ or apostilled.

Advantages of registering an offshore company with our assistance

When setting up an offshore company, you are making an investment, that is, you are spending money. In order to ascertain that the money is not wasted, you had better acquire assistance from true professionals in the field.

Offshore Pro Group (the group of companies owning InternationalWealth portal) is a team of experts from various countries and in various fields. Every one of us knows his/ her business inside out. 

The main advantages that we offer include the following ones:

  • A full range of offshore services including company registration and maintenance as well as foreign bank account opening;
  • An initial consultation free of charge;
  • Confidentiality and security of your personal information;
  • An individual approach to every client;
  • Legal support.

If you would like to register an offshore company, please write to us or give us a call. We will be happy to assist you in this matter. 

Can I open a corporate bank account if I buy a shelf company?

Yes, you certainly can. The bank account can be opened in any national state.

How much time does it take to register an offshore company?

The company registration timeframes will depend on the country of its domiciliation in the first place. Normally, it takes between one week and three months to set up an offshore company.

What application documents are required for registering an offshore company?

If you are registering the company in the name of a private individual, a copy of your passport and a proof of address will suffice in some cases. If a legal entity acts as the company founder, corporate documents are required as well.аPlease inquire about the exact cost of registering an offshore company in a certain jurisdiction by writing

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