Every foreign business doing business in The Bahamas should be aware of and comply with Bahamian law. This article details the basics that foreign businesses need to know when first becoming established in this country.
First and foremost, even if your company is registered or doing business in a foreign jurisdiction it must be registered in The Bahamas if it is carrying on an “undertaking” here. An undertaking is carried on if:
- Your business maintains a warehouse or place of business in The Bahamas;
- Your business is licensed/registered or should be licensed or registered under Bahamian law to do business or to sell shares; or
- In any other manner, your business carries on a business or undertaking in The Bahamas. For example, having a telephone number for the business in The Bahamas creates a presumption of carrying on an undertaking. (Companies Act, 1992, Sect. 171.)
The process of registration requires submitting a statement to the Registrar General that includes details of the business, a copy of the corporate instruments, a verifying declaration, and required fees. Upon approval, the company will receive a certificate of registration. (Companies Act, 1992, Sect. 172-173.) The company must affix its name to its places of business and written documents entered into by the company, and it must maintain a registered office in the country. (Companies Act, 1992, Sect. 181.)
A foreign company that is duly registered and receives a certificate may operate in the same capacity as any Bahamian domestic company. (Companies Act, 1992, Sect. 176.) However, its registration may be revoked if it does not comply with the above requirements. Revocation of registration does not affect the rights of creditors with respect to the foreign company. (Companies Act, 1992, Sect. 177.) Foreign companies who stop doing business in the country must notify the Registrar General of this fact, and if they wish to begin to do business here again, their prior registration may be revived. (Companies Act, 1992, Sect. 178-179.)
Foreign companies doing business in The Bahamas need local counsel to ensure compliance with local laws. To find out more, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.