Offshore Company Application Tips: Setup Documents

Our offshore company application tips cover the 4 main aspects – the choice of the jurisdiction, the choice of the bank, the paperwork, and professional help. 

Requirements for applicant companies vary across jurisdictions. Even when the main rules, forms, and templates seem familiar or similar, you should not take them casually or negligently. 

List of documents for opening a foreign company

While you meticulously select the right country of incorporation, the appropriate structure for your entity, and the convenient bank, you also need to understand the specific rules and procedures of company incorporation in the country/countries of your choice. Most likely, to avoid disappointing results and the unnecessary waste of time, nerves, and resources, you will involve professional help.

The Right Offshore Jurisdiction for Your Company

The resolution to incorporate your company will make little sense if you do not have your vision and strategy and if you have not studied several alternatives to every option.

When registering an offshore company, it would be a mistake to focus on one jurisdiction. The task of choosing an offshore country/countries for registration of your entity, its bank account, and other arrangements should be approached comprehensively.

If the concept for your offshore business structure isn’t thoroughly designed in written before incorporation, you cannot hope to be flexible in the future. Diversification of your assets and taxes will require your awareness of the changing environment, agility and balance in your decisions, and a virtuoso performance of your team. This would yield benefits only if you have chosen a clear strategy from the very start. 

Otherwise, your line of business, structure, property, accounts, and other assets will weigh you down, generate costs, and aggravate challenges.

If you run an active, transparent business that is clear to banks, and you intend to strengthen it internationally, your chances for success are good. By creating a reliable commercial structure in a quality offshore jurisdiction you will steer towards the steady growth of your income.

You should choose a place of registration based not on the cheap offshore set-up services, but by taking into account the unique advantages of a particular jurisdiction, which will benefit your business.

Offshore jurisdictions differ by their specifics, which may not necessarily be favorable for any business. 

If the primary objective of your company registration is to ensure and enhance assets protection, confidentiality, tax allowances/exemption, we recommend such jurisdictions as Nevis or Panama. However, you should better discuss several options with our experts, because there cannot be one-size-fits-all advice.

For example, Panama is beneficial for e-commerce, insurance, international trade, shipping, ship registration, and investment.

An offshore company looking for a similar set of perks (in terms of tax planning, privacy, and asset management purposes) can also register in the Marshall Islands. But besides the obvious advantages of this jurisdiction, there are also some disadvantages the applicants should consider. At the moment, the Marshall Islands will not suit businesses engaged in e-commerce, because this area of the country is not quite developed. Besides, it is also not quite easy (though quite possible), to open a bank account for a company registered in the Marshall Islands. Furthermore,  offshore tax liabilities apply to domestic companies, whereas they do not apply to non-resident companies. Finally, many incentives provided by the government to local entrepreneurs will not be available for foreign companies.

The above-mentioned examples and our experience allow us to conclude, that each jurisdiction differs by its significant advantages and other features that need to be studied before application for company registration.

The Right Bank for your Offshore Company 

Another important point is the choice of a bank for your offshore company. This should be also made before the registration.  The bank’s requirements for documents and due diligence need to be analyzed and considered.

When choosing a bank, the business should study the list of available banking products/services, the quality of service, taking into account the specifics and focus of its activities. 

The following questions will help you assess the bank:

  • What is the international reputation of the bank?
  • Is it possible to open a bank account remotely?
  • What are the compliance requirements/procedures?
  • What are the terms for opening a bank account?
  • What types of accounts can be opened? Is it possible to open a multi-currency account?
  • Does the bank offer online banking?
  • Does it require any minimum deposit to open an account? If yes, what is the minimum amount?
  • Is there a requirement for a minimum balance on the account?
  • What are the bank fees and rates?
  • What international interbank system is used for transactions?
  • What are the rules for account replenishment (in cash, by checks)/withdrawal/requirements for transfers?
  • What is the level of capitalization of the bank? What are the guarantees for the safety of deposits?

Please note, that not every bank agrees to open a corporate account for an offshore company. Over recent years, the bankers’ requirements set for clients are growing stricter, tighter, due to the globalization of cooperation in the fight against money laundering, and because of the international de-offshorization trend.

However, the sphere of offshore financial services does not stand still either. Having faced many challenges, it is developing higher quality services and is extending the scope of offshore payment options, solutions, guarantees.

The list of documents required for opening an international corporate account is approximately the same in all banks, except for minor differences.

For example, banks stipulate different validity periods for some documents. It can be 6 months or 3 months, depending on the bank. This discrepancy might seem small. However, in real-life situations, at the time of your application for an account, it can make a huge difference.

If you know the bank’s requirements in advance, you will be able to request, order, or issue the right type and format of the right documents by the right date that will satisfy the chosen bank. This approach will significantly reduce the chance of the bank’s rejection of your application and help you save your time, resources, and nerves.

Please note: you can order a free consultation and get individual advice offered by our Offshore Pro Group professional experts. Write your requests to the e-address given at the top of this page.

The Set of Documents for Opening a Corporate Account

Please remember that not only the texts of the documents, but also their layout, the quality of prints, the timing of submission, and many other little details will speak loudly about you and your business as potential clients.

The basic requirements set by most banks for applicant offshore companies are as follows:

  • The basic list of the applicant’s documents required by banks is usually available digitally.  In addition to the standard list, the bank of your choice may request original copies of some other documents. This is because the bank wants to know the potential client better.
  • The quality (resolution) of the digital documents submitted to the bank must be high, in clear colors, good print, easily readable.
  • The documents must be submitted in English. If the originals are in another language, a certified text translation by a licensed translator is required. The translated copy must be certified by a notary/apostille/other governmental or judicial body authorized to certify international documents.
  • The validity period of the documents shall not exceed six (6) months from the date of your application for the account opening.
  • General requirements for Certificates: before submitting a bank account application, the authenticity of copies of the original corporate Certificates (marked with an asterisk [*] on the bank application form), must be duly certified by a certified law firm, an accounting firm, public notary, authorized financial expert, or a high government official.

The package of corporate documents for opening a bank account

This portfolio usually needs to include the following documents:

1*A certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation or another similar document. 
2*A certified copy of the Certificate of Good Standing or its equivalent.
3*A certified copy of the incorporation documents of the account owner. These can be the Articles and Memorandum, By-Laws, Declaration of Trust, and some equivalent documents, including Certificate of Shareholders/subscribers; Subscribers appointment of the company’s director/s, maybe others.
4*A certified copy of the Minutes of the Company Resolution on the opening of the corporate bank account, indicating the designated signatories for the account (Resolution of the Board of Directors/ General Banking Resolution / Minutes of the Meeting/ Power of Attorney). The documents must also be signed/attested by the registered agent of the company representing the interests of the account holder.
5A copy of the company’s annual consolidated financial report (audited or unaudited). If the entity did not conduct business but has affiliates/affiliates conducting business, a financial report for the past year is required. If the company is new, has not conducted business, and has no affiliates, a company financial projection plan must be submitted

Package of personal documents for opening a corporate account

This portfolio must include the personal documents of the following individuals:

  • Persons authorized to sign invoices on behalf of the company.
  • Persons who directly / indirectly own 20% or more of the share capital of the legal entity, according to the Memorandum of Association or Shareholders Agreement.
  •  Persons who are fully responsible for the overall management of the legal entity (directors).
  •  Managers and other physically responsible persons who have the authority to perform the functions of managing the company (similar to directors).

Please note: If the above-mentioned persons are: legal entity / Trustee / Manager (natural person), according to the power of attorney, these representatives of legal entities or a natural person also need to submit documents according to the requirements 1* to 8* given below.


6*Certified copies of two (2) documents issued by the state proving the identity of an individual (mandatory – a passport, driver’s license / ID-card of the country of citizenship). 
7*Certified copy of your proof of residential address (copies of utility receipts/landline phone bills/lease agreement/certificate of ownership/bank statement or credit card statement / other similar documents confirming your address.
8*Certified copies of two (2) letters of recommendation from professionals, which can be bankers/lawyers / certified accountants / financial advisors (organizations) / government officials.
9A signed copy of the client agreement with the bank (name of the __________bank in the country where the corporate account is opened).

Advantages of Professional Setup Services for Offshore Entities

Please be sure you contact only trustworthy service providers for help with the registration of an offshore company.

Registration of an offshore company is an utterly legal action. Everyone has the right to choose where he or she feels most comfortable to do business or reside.

Advantages of an offshore company largely depend on the flexibility of the structure design (concept) and the purpose for which it is created. If you do not know where to start when intending to buy a ready-made offshore or register a new company, we suggest you should discuss pros and cons of each option with professionals. Their advice and assistance in practical arrangements will spare you from many disappointments. Even if you decide to engage expert assistance in your offshore company application, you need to know the procedure for establishing an offshore entity.

The legal offshore incorporation features many essential advantages. 

  • Reasonably low cost of registration / annual maintenance of an offshore corporate entity.
  • Low requirements to the authorized capital.
  • Low tax rates, tax exemptions, or no worldwide income tax for businesses.
  • Assets protection from lawsuits or forced confiscation as a result of bankruptcy.
  • Intellectual Property Protection.
  • Beneficial conditions for doing business / reasonable regulations.
  • Easy entrance to international markets.
  • Privacy and high confidentiality.
  • Economic independence.

Offshore Pro Group has been providing professional offshore services worldwide for many years. Our experts are highly qualified to help you form a reliable offshore structure and register it in the country that best suits your business. To contact us you can write to the e-address given at the top of this page.

What are the first steps towards the registration of an offshore company?

Offshore registration should begin with consultations with professionals to properly decide on the type of the offshore structure and the jurisdiction. Having learned about the requirements of the chosen country, you should take them into account when preparing documents.
At the same time, before your offshore entity registration, you need to research the opportunities for opening a corporate bank account. You should analyze the bank to define the maximum benefits your business can expect from this financial services provider.

What to pay attention to when preparing documents for the registration of an offshore?

All personal and corporate documents of foreign origin must be translated into the official language of the country of incorporation. The translation needs to be done by a licensed translator. The documents must also be notarized/apostilled or otherwise certified following the legal requirements of the chosen offshore. Particular attention should be paid to the expiry dates of individuals’ passports and other formal documents so that they would not become invalid. Also important is the information about the minimum validity period set by the jurisdiction for certified documents issued for filing the company application.

What documents must be prepared to open an offshore account?

Offshore banks require applicants to provide personal information such as name, date of birth, address of residence, citizenship, and occupation. Documents certifying this information can be the following IDs: a passport copy plus a second identification document, such as a driver’s license or other identification documents (bearing a photo and signature) issued by a government agency. The corporate application documents need to be submitted for registration according to the list issued by the jurisdiction. Documents of individuals authorized to manage the company and sign invoices and financial/bank documents on its behalf are also required.

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