How to Open an Offshore Company?

An offshore company can help you significantly save on taxes, protect your undertaking from an aggressive business and political environment, and work successfully at the international level. However, you need to officially register your offshore company in the tax haven to become the owner of such a flexible financial instrument – and this is a step that should only be taken with the help of a professional registrar of companies or an intermediary. Why is it? That is exactly what we are going to discuss in our article.

Offshore company formation

Learn more about what offshore is in our article.

How to Open an Offshore Company by Yourself: Are We Talking About an Offshore — or Is This a Midshore/Onshore?

Many readers of our portal have repeatedly wondered why to use the services of a professional intermediary if you can open an offshore company by yourself. “If I managed to start a business in my homeland, I can do it abroad, too.” 

But this opinion is erroneous since the incorporation of an offshore company is associated with certain obligations that you can fulfill only if you are permanently present in the country of your company’s registration.

So, let’s get it clear why a “mere mortal” cannot independently establish an offshore. 

Shall I Open an Offshore Company by Myself or Through an Intermediary?

As a rule, you need to have an appropriate license for the activity in order to establish an offshore company in a tax haven. It makes no sense to purchase this license for the sake of setting up one company, especially since you will not get it so easily. Obtaining a license requires appropriate qualifications, experience, investments, etc. 

In fact, only local law firms (which cooperate exclusively with professional intermediaries to attract customers!) have such licenses, while their true owners may be Americans, British, or Latvians. At the same time, if you apply to an intermediary to set up an offshore company (the majority of professional registrars do not work with clients directly), the intermediary will carry out all the main work on the offshore company registration:

  • identity verification
  • collection of detailed information
  • preparation of documents

Unfortunately, employees in offshore registries live in the relaxed “tropical” style, and professional intermediaries often have to check their work (and even the work of local tropical companies register!) as well, ensuring quality of registration (checking correct spelling of dates, names, addresses). This is a normal practice here, so everyone is accustomed to it and is doing their part of the job well.

Nevertheless, if the company registers were directly accessed by the clients themselves, it would be very hard to set up an offshore company. All this is due to the inattention and even illiteracy of registration officers who cannot cope with such a volume of tasks and do not even understand the basics of business planning. For example, any documents executed in other alphabet than Latin are perceived by the main registrar of the offshore jurisdiction as strange hieroglyphs on paper.

As a result, it is more profitable to open an offshore company through a professional registrar/intermediary and not by yourself. This will be cheaper and more reliable as the cost of your registration may significantly increase after a personal visit to the tropical registrar. A professional intermediary will ask questions and check the logic and correctness of filling out the forms 10 times to check that everything is done properly.

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What is a Cheaper Way to Open an Offshore Company – with a Registrar or Intermediary?

Even when you order the service directly from a local registrar, the cost of incorporation for individual retail orders may be higher than buying a company from the same local registrar through a wholesaler or online. It has quite a simple explanation: local workers have high salaries and low concentration skills, so it is easier for them to cooperate with professional intermediaries than perform all legal and editorial work by themselves.

High retail prices are also due to the desire to concentrate on wholesalers rather than retail sales as everyone has their own specialization.

If you exclude the intermediary, you need to be prepared to overpay for the hours of work done by the local (for example, Caribbean) lawyers. An intermediary is someone who provides experience, convenience, and serves as an additional layer. For example, if a law firm serves as an intermediary, it can offer additional protection with attorney-client privilege. An online intermediary, such as Offshore Pro Group, can offer experience, awareness, as well as main and additional bank accounts for your offshore company.

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Conclusion: if you need an offshore company in the BVI, Nevis, Belize, Seychelles, Dominica, or, for example, the Marshall Islands, contact a professional intermediary who will provide a complex of services and open an offshore business on a turnkey basis.

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An Exception to the Rules – an Offshore Company You Can Open Independently

There are exceptions among offshore companies where you can try self-registration, and Panama can be an example here. Theoretically, you can register a company here provided that you have a lot of free time and patience, as well as a good command of business Spanish. There is just one mandatory condition: you must have an address in Panama. 

Moreover, it will be hard to extend your company for another year if you do not have a local employee and a bank account. We recommend paying for the offshore business extension by checks due to the specifics of the local register’s operation – otherwise, the information about the extension payment may get lost and you will pay a fine to renew your business for the second time – through no fault of yours! Things like that really happen if the founder is stubborn enough to keep on learning from his own mistakes rather than following the recommendations of professionals. 

Offshore, Onshore or Midshore – What Company to Open?

Equally important is the question of which company to open. Sometimes you want to establish an offshore company but it does not suit you at all due to the specific nature of business activities and cooperation with partners. 

And this is when you ask yourself whether you can establish a midshore or onshore on your own.

As for onshore companies, knowledge of the language and peculiarities of local legislation is of great importance here (just as everywhere, though). It is much easier to start a company in Germany or Belgium through a professional lawyer. Yes, you will have to pay for the mediation, but you will definitely get the necessary instrument without delay.

If we are talking about midshores (such as Cyprus, Hong Kong, or Singapore), it is easy for local investors to open them, while foreigners find it much more difficult:

  • First, international companies need a director. In Cyprus, it is only a member of the Cyprus Bar Association that can serve as a company’s nominee director. This is due to the fact that these persons are responsible for the reporting of companies, and not everyone can become a company director. At the same time, it is the company director who is the liaison between the company and the state authorities. 
  • Knowledge of the language is equally important. If you live in a monolingual country, it is very difficult to imagine how the attitude of state bodies can change if you do not speak the state language. In France, Germany, Latvia, Poland, etc. they will not want to communicate with you in Russian or English.
  • The laws and subtleties of tax optimization can be mastered independently if you give it a long time, but – not in a foreign country.
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Shall I open an offshore company, register a midshore or onshore business? What should I do to avoid sanctions or financial restrictions? Address these questions to the professionals of our portal and they will do their best to give you the details!

How to Open an Offshore Company On your Own?

So, it becomes clear from the above that it is very hard to open an offshore company by yourself. But the first thing to do BEFORE you set about any incorporation matters is to understand whether you need it at all.

The fact is that registrars of companies in offshore and midshore havens mainly cooperate with lawyers, tax consultants, and local providers from large countries (which are the main consumers of offshore services, for example, Russia, China, India, the United Kingdom, the United States).

How to choose someone who will help you open an offshore company safely, legally and quickly:

  • If the local provider has a lot of customers but is far from being an expert in his field, you will get more risks than benefits, plus additional markups. It’s better to avoid such an option, as well as the one where you are offered everything to be done fast and at a low price. 
  • And if the local provider offers an additional layer of protection with client-attorney privilege and is a good local tax consultant, it makes no sense to save on mediation.

If you can get not just a company but also a real framework for business protection and development from an intermediary, there is no point in opening an offshore company by yourself. After all, a provider who owns a large portal, as in the case of International Wealth, usually has good business connections and a wide range of progressive solutions for tax planning and registration of an offshore company. 

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Contact the experts of our portal about registration of offshore, onshore or midshore to receive a full range of turnkey services with advice on possible risks and favorable proposals for re-domiciliation and opening of bank accounts.

How to Open an Offshore Company by Yourself for the Sake of Economy?

If it is only the price you are after, you should know that attempts to save on registration through a wholesaler are futile. The fact is that a professional provider of offshore services will be able to offer you lower prices than the registrar himself in the country of the offshore company incorporation. 

Why an intermediary rather than an official registrar of offshore companies? 

  • The registrar only wants the completed forms, documents and payment for the offshore company registration from you.
  • He does not care to analyze your activity. 
  • The registrar does not have the time or desire (and often the opportunity) to answer all your questions and create any individual solutions for you. 
  • And you will have to pay more than an intermediary who will help to quickly and productively open an offshore company.

If you are ready for such conditions, you can find 2-3 registrars who agree to such cooperation, but do not expect flexible price conditions.

Compare our prices for incorporation of an offshore company in Panama, Nevis, Belize, and Dominica with other providers. The result will be either in our favor or slightly higher, but you will also receive the following along with the company:

  • good service
  • professional advisers
  • the best choice of foreign bank accounts 
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Remember that the range of foreign banks we cooperate with is being constantly updated.

How to Extend the Offshore Company by Yourself?

If your offshore company was registered through a professional provider of offshore services, it will not be possible to extend or redomicile it on your own.

You will have to pay all debts to redomicile the company to another jurisdiction or registrar. It is true even in cases when you bought an offshore company at a very low price and got no support as a result.

How to Open an Offshore Company On your Own? Who will Help you Choose the Right Offshore and Bank Account?

Opening a foreign bank account is a serious procedure which requires not only the proper level of compliance but also a conceptual understanding of where in general you can open an account for your offshore.

We have a category of clients who use our free consultations and then look for the cheapest offshore. They buy an offshore company at a low price, and then come back to us anyway – without a bank account. Subsequently, they are forced to redomicile their business to open an account in a respectable and stable bank since the sellers of the cheapest offshore services can often provide only the most primitive services and the longest response time. 

As a result, a miser pays twice (at least three times in case of offshores!). The ‘cheapest possible’ does not mean ‘profitable and correct.’

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Contact us by e-mail info@offshore-pro.info and get a free consultation on the selection of a foreign bank account to avoid mistakes in choosing an offshore package. 

Is it possible to open an offshore company on your own?

In most cases, you will not be able to open a classic offshore company on your own. The reason is that local registrars do not work directly with customers and leave this niche to providers with a special license. In addition, you can open a company remotely through the provider without a personal visit. If we talk about an offshore as a foreign company, it depends on the country: you can open a company yourself in some cases, and sometimes it is absolutely impossible. We recommend that you consult a specialist as there are pitfalls during the registration process in many countries.

How much do I pay for offshore company registration?

The cost of registering an offshore company depends on whether you do it remotely or in person, on the country where you establish the company, and also on the set of documents that you need to obtain. For example, documents with an apostille required to open an account with a bank are paid for additionally. You should also consider the costs of translation, certification and sending of documents, opening a bank account or obtaining special licenses (if they are required).

How long will it take to incorporate an offshore company?

Registration of a new company takes from a few days to a few weeks. It depends on the country and on how well your documents are prepared. The longest stage is often the collection and verification of documents. If there are errors and inaccuracies in the documents, the company may not be opened. But it is much worse if the company is opened despite mistakes, and you are later turned down by the bank where you are trying to open a corporate account due to these inconsistencies. That is why you need to thoroughly check the documents and use the services provided by professionals.

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