International Management Trust Services

Obtaining Work Permits

International Societies with Restricted Liability (ISRL)
  • Taxed on income on a sliding scale, from a maximum of 2.5% to a minimum of 1%
  • Taxes paid in a foreign country may be credited against tax payable in Barbados, provided that the credit does not reduce the tax payable in Barbados to less than 1% of taxable income
  • Can also be treated as a corporation, a partnership or a disregarded entity for US tax purposes
  • Exempt from all import duties on machinery or equipment for use in its business
  • Tax concessions for specially qualified non-residents whose services are required for the business
  • May apply for a guarantee that benefits and exemptions will be valid for 30 years
  • Duration of ISRL cannot exceed 50 years


The first step in establishing a company in Barbados is the legal registration and incorporating of that company. Having identified the appropriate legal structure, all international companies are required to incorporate, or to register as an external company, with the assistance of an Attorney at-law, or an Accounting firm.

The Attorney will require the following information in order to complete the incorporation:

  1. A maximum of three corporate names in order of preference
  2. The minimum and maximum number of directors (a company can have a minimum of one director)
  3. The full name including the middle name and residential address of each of the proposed directors of the company;
  4. Details of the particular business that the company proposes to carry on;
  5. The classes of shares if more than 1, that the company is authorized to issue; and
  6. The full name including the middle name and residential address of each shareholder of the company.
  7. Proposed names of the company
  8. At least 2 references of each Director, shareholder or other management personnel, including banker's reference
  9. Certified copy of passport of signatories on bank accounts
Processing of the incorporating documents requires two weeks. The company is provided with the following, once incorporation has been completed:
  1. One complete set of original incorporation documents plus two copies thereof;
  2. Draft minutes of the organizational meeting of the company for your perusal;
  3. The common seal of the company; and
  4. Share Certificate(s) issued in the name(s) of the shareholder(s)
The average cost for incorporating ranges from US$1500.00 - US$2,420.00 but this will vary depending on the legal structure of the company, as well as the cost of the Attorney's services.

Registration in Barbados of an External Company
The average cost of registering a company in Barbados is US$3,025 comprised of US$1,525 for government taxes and US$1,500.00 for Attorney's fees. Again, the total cost will vary according to the Attorney's fees.

In order to register as an external company, there must be at least two directors. In addition, the following documentation is required:

  1. Two (2) copies of all the incorporation documents including Memorandum and Articles of Association. Each copy must be certified by a Notary public as being a true and correct copy of the original.
  2. The full names and residential addresses of the directors of the company and their respective occupations
  3. The authorized share capital of the company
  4. The number of shares issued and outstanding
  5. The address of the registered office of the company
The processing of this legal structure can take up to two weeks.

Establishing an International Business Company (IBC)
Some legal vehicles require licensing, and therefore the appropriate license must be approved from the Ministry of Economic Development. The IBC is one of those structures which must be licensed. This service can be facilitated by an Attorney-at-Law, or an Accountant, and is often included in the fee quoted for incorporating a company. The company must first be incorporated, before submitting an application for an IBC license. Most services providers will facilitate the service of incorporating the company, as well as application of the IBC license.

Fees quoted would normally include both services:

Registrar's Cost US$390.00
Company Seal US$30.00
IBC License US$425.00
Attorney-at-Law Fees US$2,000.00
IBC's must be renewed annually by the end of December. Renewal applications submitted after this date will attract a penalty fee of US$425.00.

Establishing a Society with Restricted Liability (SRL)
An SRL entitled to special Barbados tax benefits is called an "International Society with Restricted Liability" ("ISRL") whereas entities subject to regular Barbados taxes are referred to as SRLs. ISRLs are designed to be used mainly for international transactions and are prohibited from transacting business with persons resident in Barbados. There are two major differences between an SRL and an IBC or limited liability company formed under the Barbados Companies Act. One is that an SRL has 'limited life', that is to say, an SRL may be automatically dissolved on the occurrence of stipulated events or on the expiration of a specified period (up to a maximum of 50 years). The other is that an SRL has members and not shareholders, and it must have a minimum of two members (quota holders).

Establishing a Local Company
No further licensing is required when a company is being established to provide goods and services to the local or market. The standard incorporation costs for a normal Barbadian company are approximately BDS$2,682.50 made up as follows:

Registrar's Cost BDS$780.00
Company Seal BDS$57.00
Misc. BDS$45.00
Attorney-at-Law Fees BDS$1,800.00

Having incorporated a company and acquired the appropriate license, where necessary, all non nationals seeking to work in Barbados are required to obtain a work permit from the Immigration Department. The Department receives and processes all applications to work in Barbados.

Short-term Work Permits
Short-term work permits are issued for a period of up to six (6) months. Applicants are required to submit: C-3 Application

  1. Four Photographs
  2. Application fee of US$100.00
  3. Police record from homeland
  4. Police record from Barbados if residing here for more than six (6) months
  5. Cover letter from potential employer

Long-term Work Permits
Long-term work permits are issued for up to three years and require the following documentation:

  1. C 1, C2 Application forms duly completed (in duplicate).
  2. Medical form completed by a Medical Practitioner
  3. Four photographs (Passport size)
  4. Application fee of US$100.00
  5. Two (2) character references on the applicant
  6. A Police Certificate of Character from the applicant's place of residence OR a Sworn affidavit
  7. Documentary evidence of applicant's qualifications (notarized copies acceptable)
  8. A cover letter setting out the nature of the business in which the applicant will be engaged.
    1. In the case where the applicant is hoping to set up a business here, clear evidence of the quantum of his/her investment must be produced. (e.g. Bank Transfer Statements).
    2. A copy of the Certificate of Registration/Incorporation of the Company should also be produced
  9. In the case where the applicant was previously here on Work Permit-an income Tax Clearance Certificate is necessary.

Work permit fees are based on a monthly rate of BDS$110.00-190.00 per month, for both long and short-term work permits. Once a work permit application is approved, the fee is payable, in advance, for the period of the work permit, so that if a work permit application is submitted for a one year period, the fee payable is $1320.00 - $2280.00, for non-Caricom nationals.
Processing of the application will require at least six weeks. It should be noted that Work Permits must be renewed once the period approved has expired.

Caricom Nationals
Rates for Caricom nationals are usually lower, provided that they have maintained a Caricom status. Caricom nationals who are graduates of any recognized Universities are allowed to freely work in Barbados. However, an application is still required and a fee is still applicable.
These fees must also be paid in advance, before the work permit is issued.

Work Permits: Non-nationals seeking to work in Barbados must obtain a work permit, which is granted for a six month period or a three-year period. Once approved, the applicant is required to pay up to US$2000.00 per work permit. University graduates from the Caricom region do not require work permits.


The Corporate Tax rate is 25%, except where certain entities benefit from fiscal incentives, or are operating under one of the legal structures which provide for reduced tax rates

Payroll Taxes PAYE and the IBC Expatriate
Specially qualified expatriates in the International Business Sector can quality for a 45% waiver. They are subject to be taxed on the remaining 65% of income. Application for this waiver should be submitted to the Ministry of Economic Development, of consideration by the Minister of that Ministry.

National Insurance Scheme
All employees between the ages of 16 and pensionable age are required to pay National Insurance contributions. These contributions are deducted from the employee's wages/salaries, on earnings of up to BDS$3,500.00 per month:

Value Added Tax (VAT)
Exemptions are available to certain legal structures such as International Business Companies, SRL's, and External companies. Companies operating under these structures are exempted from VAT for the import of equipment, raw materials.

Import Taxes and Duties
Most items imported into Barbados will demand an average import tax rate of up to 20%.
However, luxury items can be taxed higher. In addition, an environmental levy of 1% is payable.
All manufacturing entities as well as those companies operating under special legislation are exempted from import taxes and environment levy on equipment and raw materials required for the operation of the business.

Commercial Banks and Bank Accounts
Barbados' commercial banking sector provides a wide range of modern financial services to the domestic and international customers. Local commercial banking services include domestic banking and trust facilities and provides customers with cheque and savings accounts, Mortgage financing, Credit Cards, Loans, Foreign currency transactions, Automated Teller Machines (ATM's), Safe facilities, RRSP's, Investment and Executor/Trustee services.
International companies can also establish a domestic account with the local branch of a commercial bank, for the purpose of maintaining the operations of a company. In order to establish a domestic account, the non-national is required to submit documents which include the following:

  1. Photo identification
  2. Either Certificate of incorporation/registration/continuance or Partnership agreement
  3. Certificate of good standing
  4. By-laws

Exchange Control
Barbados' exchange control system functions primarily to monitor foreign exchange transactions. However, companies operating under special facilities, such as the IBC, benefit from no restrictions on the repatriation of net income earned by individuals or companies during their tenure in Barbados.

International companies are required to finance the investment required to establish and maintain a company in Barbados. However, some offshore units do provide international mortgage financing for the offshore sector. Citicorp Merchant Bank Ltd. was established in Barbados in 2001 and can provide financing in foreign currency to the international business sector.