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Offshore Banks

Belize Offshore Banking Licence

Also available from Belize:

Read here the Belize Offshore Bank Act
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A Belize Offshore Bank offers many competitive advantages including secrecy and confidentiality provisions, as well as exemptions from taxes, stamp duties and exchange control restrictions. Read on to find out more about Belize Offshore Banks.

Offshore Banking in Belize

Belize continues to enhance its position as a reputable offshore centre with the recent modernization and strengthening of its financial sector's regulatory environment. This was achieved when the outdated 1977 Banking Act, which did not adequately provide for a sound regulatory and supervisory authority, was repealed and replaced by the enactment of the Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1995, and the introduction of the Offshore Banking Act, 1996, and the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, 1996.

According to an official of the Central Bank of Belize, the financial sector's regulatory and supervisory body, many applications for offshore banking licences have been received since the introduction of the new legislation, but to date only two have successfully met all the requirements, and have been granted offshore banking licences. The Central Bank's thoroughness in its vetting process will no doubt further enhance the trust and confidence in the jurisdiction, as well as ensure the granting of licences to only reputable entities.

The legislation defines Offshore Banking as follows:

"receiving, borrowing or taking up foreign money exclusively from non-residents at interest or otherwise on current account, savings account, term deposit or other similar account and which according and subject to arrangement is repayable on the cheque, draft, order, authority or similar instrument of the customer, and investing the foreign money so received by lending, giving credit or otherwise exclusively to non-residents; or carrying on exclusively with non-residents such other activities as are customarily related or ancillary to offshore banking."



Types of Belize Offshore Banks

There are two categories of Belize Offshore Banks currently available, "A" Class - Unrestricted and "B" Class - Restricted, the latter can apply to change its status at any time.

"A" Class - Unrestricted

The holder of an "A" Class offshore banking licence needs to establish, maintain, and operate a business office (physical presence) in Belize. This type of Belize Offshore Bank is permitted to transact offshore banking business through its business office in Belize without restrictions on that business.

  • Annual Licence Fee: US $20,000
  • Authorised and paid up capital of not less than US $500,000 must be maintained if the licence is for a local company, or US $25,000,000 in the case of a foreign bank.

"B" Class - Restricted

The holder of a "B" Class offshore banking licence also needs to establish, maintain, and operate a business office (physical presence) in Belize, but they are limited to transacting only such offshore banking business as is specified in its licence. A "B" Class Belize Offshore Bank is prohibited from soliciting or accepting monetary deposits or any other valuable property from the general public, as well as from issuing cheque books or providing any current deposits or chequing account facilities to depositors.

  • Annual Licence Fee: US $15,000
  • Authorised and paid up capital of not less than US $200,000 must be maintained if the licence is for a local company, or US $15,000,000 in the case of a foreign bank.


Application Procedure

Belize's Offshore Banking legislation stipulates that an entity is eligible to apply for an offshore banking licence if:

  • it is incorporated or registered under the Companies Act or the International Business Companies Act as a company limited by shares, or if it is a foreign bank;
  • its shares are in registered form and not in bearer form;
  • its memorandum and articles of association are acceptable to the Central Bank; and
  • its authorized and paid up capital are in compliance with statutory requirements (See section above).

Upon application, eligible companies must furnish the following documentation, along with a non-refundable fee of US $5,000:

  • name and address of directors and principal shareholders;
  • the ultimate beneficial ownership of the company or proposed company where shareholders of record are, or are to be, corporations, trust or other legal entities or organizations, or where the shareholders of record are acting as nominees for or under the direction of any other person;
  • the shareholding structure, management, and financial standing of the company;
  • detailed business and financial plans;
  • particulars of referees, guarantors and other third parties;
  • details of any subsidiary or affiliated company;
  • details of any overseas office which the company has or proposes to open;
  • names and addresses of the external auditors including the experience of the auditors in auditing banks;
  • if a foreign bank, a written statement confirming that there is no objection to the application from banking supervisory authorities in its country of incorporation and in the country where its principal office is located;
  • signed application by the directors of the eligible company; and
  • any other information that the Central Bank may require.

The Central Bank of Belize submits its recommendation to the Minister of Finance within sixty days of receiving a completed application. After which, a decision is rendered within four weeks by the Minister.

Also available from Belize:

Belize is the domicile of choice for a growing number of international investors. Make it yours! Highly trained professionals are ready to assist you today!

for further information.


Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the details contained herein are correct and up-to-date, it does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We do not accept any responsibility, legal or otherwise, for any errors or omissions.


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