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The Application Process

Your guide to setting up a Cayman Islands Company of your own.


Establishing a Genuine Physical Presence in the Cayman Islands.

This Caribbean business hub could be the ideal location to grow your business globally and protect your IP from within a tax-neutral, appropriately regulated jurisdiction in the Caribbean. To begin, you'll need to determine the structure of your legal entity. Cayman Islands companies can be local companies, exempted companies, or special economic zone companies (SEZCos). Our clients choose to open special economic zone companies so that they can get set up and start running quickly, cost-effectively, and become part of a vibrant business community as soon as they step foot in the Cayman Islands.

If your business falls within one or more of the business sectors listed here and conducts business globally, then your company likely qualifies to establish a Cayman Islands presence within one of Cayman Enterprise City's special economic zones which include Cayman Tech City, Cayman Commodities and Derivatives Centre, and Cayman Maritime and Aviation City.

What we'll need to know to get started:

  • The intended activities of your company, so we can reference the Special Economic Zone Law to ensure your business can be licensed.
  • How many staff members you would like to place in your Cayman Islands office.
  • The amount of office space your business requires and your company's technology requirements. 

Offshore company formation can be done remotely from anywhere in the world, subject to meeting due diligence requirements by The Department of Commerce & Investment.

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How it Works

The section below provides an overview of the typical journey taken to establish a special economic zone company (SEZCo) in the Cayman Islands.

The expedited business licensing regime can have companies fully established within 4-6 weeks, including renewable five-year work/residency visas for staff which can be processed in as little as five days. A minimum capital investment is not required and permits, visas, trade certificates, and turn-key office solutions are conveniently bundled into affordable serviced packages. We offer economical annual fees, streamlined processes, and our Global Mobility Team makes sure that you and your team are supported throughout the entire application process.

We ensure that businesses and their staff are connected with the right professionals in every industry. From doctors to educators to top real estate agents and financial services, we have excellent relationships with local service providers who can help you every step of the way. Whether you need a recommendation for a school or want to know where to open your corporate bank account, we're here to help.

After your business has established a physical presence, our team remains in a supportive role and is in constant contact to help companies grow. Packages are fully scalable, which means staff and office space can be added at any time without limitations or penalty fees.

As soon as your application is approved, you will be welcomed to the Cayman Enterprise City community and become owners and operators of your very own Special Economic Zone Company (SEZC).

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Evaluate your Business Fit

At this initial stage, you will be introduced to a member of the CEC team who will discuss the benefits of establishing a genuine physical presence and outline the application process. Your CEC contact will help to answer any questions you may have and evaluate whether your business is suitable for licensing into the CEC Special Economic Zones. Once you have decided to proceed, your lead contact will outline the next steps in detail and introduce you to local service providers such as law firms, banks, real estate agents, and other key business contacts to help you to establish your SEZ business.
At this step, you may also wish to visit our campus facilities, meet with CEC community members who have gone through the process, learn about our outreach and workforce development initiatives, discuss your office needs in detail, and review your options for growth.


Incorporate your Cayman Islands Company

This is typically done through a local attorney or corporate services provider, which you may or may not already have. We work with all local firms and are pleased to make introductions as needed. Once you have set up your Cayman Islands exempted entity you will be able to apply for a Zone Trade Certificate (ZTC), which will allow your entity to conduct business in the Cayman Islands, and Zone Employment Certificates (ZECs), which will allow you and your team members to work in the Cayman Islands.


Approve your CEC License Agreement & Submit Deposit

When details of your Special Economic Zone (SEZ) business have been confirmed, including company name, registered office address, chosen workspace solution, the term of your agreement, and your chosen start date, our team will create an account for you in CEC’s Online Portal. Once your online profile has been created, you will receive an email with a link to the portal and your login credentials. You can then log in to review and approve your CEC License Agreement. When your agreement is signed and uploaded back to the portal, you will receive a series of email notifications that will guide you through the onboarding process, and your CEC contact will introduce you to our Global Mobility team, who will provide support throughout the application process. At this stage, you will also be asked to issue a deposit based on your chosen workspace solution. Please note that your deposit is held on account and fully refundable at the end of your term.


Apply for Zone Trade & Employment Certificates

To operate your CEC business, you will need to apply for a Zone Trade Certificate (ZTC) for your Special Economic Zone (SEZ) company. The CEC Client Experience team will assist you with the preparation of your application documents, with the gathering of all required due diligence documentation, and will review and file your application on your behalf. Once your ZTC application has been submitted to the Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA) it will take just under two weeks for your application to be processed. If SEZA requires clarification or additional information/documentation, to help them complete the approval process, they will communicate their request to you via the CEC Global Mobility team.


Move into the Zone!

Throughout the application process, the CEC team will be in touch to get your chosen workspace solution ready for you. As soon as your ZTC and ZEC(s) are approved, you will be ready to move in and join the CEC Community. Our serviced offices are fully furnished and thoughtfully designed so that you can plug in and begin working as soon as you arrive. Each new community member is welcomed into the zone by way of an onboarding session. You’ll meet the team, get acquainted with the campus, and receive access to our community website, which offers opportunities to connect with the wider CEC community and provides helpful resources.

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Cayman Islands Residency & Physical Presence

Economic substance laws require that all Cayman Islands Special Economic Zone Companies (SEZCs) have a physical presence in the Cayman Islands. This means that you, or someone on your team, will be required to live in Cayman for at least part of the year. As a Cayman resident, you will not only enjoy the corporate tax benefits but will also appreciate the reduction in personal income tax and capital gains tax.

Our clients move their business to Grand Cayman from around the world with some coming to the island from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom to enjoy the cosmopolitan island lifestyle. Others are seasoned experts in the benefits of operating a SEZC and are moving their businesses from Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE, Belize and other established tax-friendly jurisdictions. Regardless of their path to get here, all of our clients agree that the Cayman Islands has one of the best standards of living in the entire world.

What does SEZC mean?

Each company registered in Cayman Enterprise City’s special economic zones is required to include this designation, as in for example “ABC Trading SEZC”. The letters ‘SEZC’ in your company’s name designate it as a ‘Special Economic Zone Company’.

The SEZC designation confirms that your company has met the stringent licensing and due diligence screening requirements of The Special Economic Zones Act, maintains a genuine physical presence in the Cayman Islands within CEC’s award winning, globally recognised special economic zone, and is subject to ongoing regulatory oversight by The Cayman Islands’ Government’s Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA), which regulates all special economic zones in the Cayman Islands.

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