Bahamas: Types of Company
A foreign company can operate a branch in the Bahamas with minimal formality and no registration requirements, but once the branch is recognised as an 'undertaking' under the Companies Act 1992, or as a 'trading' branch, it has to register with the Registrar-General. The following amount to having 'undertaking' status:
- the keeping of a place of business;
- the holding of a licence (or the requirement to hold one) for specified business;
- the holding of a licence (or the requirement to hold one) for selling securities; or
- having a local telephone listing.
Registration involves filing a notarised and legalised copy of the company's Memorandum and Articles of Association (or its Statutes) and details of the directors and officers. A Certificate of Registration is issued, and the company (the branch) then has the same position as a Bahamian incorporated company, ie it must maintain a local registered office, etc etc as above.
If the foreign company (branch) intends to trade within the Bahamas or to employ more than two Bahamians, it needs to apply to the Bahamas Investment Authority for clearance from the National Economic Council, and it needs to obtain the relevant business licence as does a Bahamian company.
It is open to a qualifying foreign company, once registered, to become an International Business Company.