Establishing a company in Nevis

Nevis is a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea no bigger than 93 km2   ; it is located north of the Lesser Antilles archipelago (part of the West Indies). It is approximately 350 km east of Puerto Rico and 80 km west of Antigua and Barbuda. Although in many respects Nevis is managed as a sovereign and self-governing state, the island is actually part of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, the official designation of this two-island country. Saint Kitts is the largest neighboring island located north of Nevis. Separating the two islands is a shallow water canal 3km is width. The Indians of the Caribbean that settled in the region lived there until the establishment of a British settlement in 1623, designed to serve as a sugar plantation territory and a transit depot for the slave trade of Africans to be sold in America.

The capital and largest city is Charlestown, with the capital of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis situated in Basseterre on the island of Saint Kitts. The official language is English, making it very easy to register offshore companies there. It has 12,000 inhabitants, mostly of African origin and descendants of previous slaves that fled to the island. It is interesting to note that the literacy rate is 98%. The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis gained its independence from the UK in 1983 but is still considered part of the British Commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth is still its official head of state.

Geographically, the island of Nevis is circular and funnel-shaped due to a now dormant volcano in the region named “Nevis Peak”. The climate is tropical, so weather is hot and humid almost all months of the year, and the rainy season lasts from May to November.

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Five things you did not know about the Nevis:

  • Although it does owe allegiance to the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, the island maintains its own internal parliament with jurisdiction over internal island affairs. The head of this parliament is a representative of the Queen. The island also has the right to withdraw from the Federation, conditioned on a two-thirds majority vote of the residents. In 1998 they held a poll on this issue but the mandatory majority was not met.
  • The first Westerner to see Nevis was Columbus in 1493.
  • In the years 1984-1999, since regulating the process and requirement of offshore company registration, over 18,000 companies have been established there. This success was not hindered by the fact the relevant laws were only enacted in 1995.
  • Local cuisine shows European, American and African influences, creating an interesting and wonderful mix of flavors. Food service in cafes and restaurants is notoriously bad and slow, but conversely full of local charm. Local specialties include fruit bread, coconut jelly, mangoes and even pickled mango.
  • On the first weekend of each August month the island holds the Emancipation Day festival, including traditional dances, street music, street stalls, and a particularly colorful and festive atmosphere.

Nevis’ economy

The economy of both Nevis and that of the Federation is entirely founded on tourism as its major source of revenue, with overall GDP at 890 million USD and per capita income 15,000 USD (in Nevis this is slightly higher – 10% above that of Saint Kitts). In the distant past the islands economy was based on the slave trade and sugar plantations, and up to 1970 sugar agriculture was its primary revenue source. After sugar was no longer viable, local government began promoting tourism and also a developed financial services industry focused on efficient infrastructure for offshore companies.

Additional information about establishing offshore companies in Nevis:

General
Type of company
NBCO
Relevant Companies Law

The Nevis Business Corporation Ordinance, 1984
Nevis Limited Liability Company (amendment) Ordinance, 2009

Offices
Law requires companies to provide a local office address
Language of original incorporation documents
English
Finance and Taxation
Currency
XCD
Corporate tax rate
0%
Standard share capital
1,000 – 100,000 USD
Office Holders
Secretary
Obligation to appoint company secretary
Not required
Obligation to appoint local secretary
Irrelevant
Type of entity that may function as company secretary
Irrelevant
Director
Obligation to appoint company director
Required
Obligation to appoint local company director
Not required
Minimum number of directors
1
Type of entity that may serve as company director
Individual and/or company
Shareholders
Obligation to register shareholders
Required
Obligation to register local shareholders
None
Minimum number of shareholders
1
Type of entity that may register as shareholder
Individual and/or company
Type of shares
Registered shares and/or bearer shares
Accessibility of Information
Company registrar
Information regarding office holders is not accessible to the public
Annual Assembly and Reporting
Obligation to hold annual assembly
Required
Obligation to prepare financial reports
Not required
Obligation to submit financial reports
Not required