Business Formation

Check the uniqueness of the company name

Agency: Vanuatu Financial Services Commission

This service is not automated and cannot be completed on the spot. A form must be completed and faxed to the VFSC – this form is usually available at the lawyer’s office or can be downloaded from http://www.vfsc.vu. At least three alternatives must be provided and the VFSC will return the form providing information on their availability. There is no charge for this service and it takes only 1 day to complete this process.

In addition to checking the name (as recorded by the Starting a business indicator), it is possible to reserve the name, which costs VUV 5,000. Reserving the name is a good practice but not required and not done systematically.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Apply for incorporation at the VFSCU

Agency: Vanuatu Financial Services Commission

Pursuant to Official Gazette No. 75 of 2015 (dated 31 August 2015), it is now possible to register a company online. A company can conduct all steps online, and also has the option to choose model rules, to avoid having to use legal services to draft their own rules. The application is filled out online, and reviewed by officers online. Fees can be paid through an online payment processing system. The certificate of incorporation is delivered by email on confirmation of incorporation. However, most applications for incorporation are filed in person. Online applications cost VUV 30,000 and in person, VUV 35,000.

Time and cost: 4 days, VUV 35,000 for in person filing and VUV 30,000 for online applications.

Apply for a business license from the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue services

Agency: Department of Customs and Inland Revenue Services

An incorporated company is not entitled to begin operating until it has obtained a business license from the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue Services. It may take 2 – 3 weeks to obtain such a license.

Business license certificates are issued by the Rates and Taxes Authority. The fee varies by type and size of business,as indicated by the Business Licence (Amendment) Act No. 30 of 2013:

Fee schedule:

  • < VUV 4 Million(annual turnover): VUV 10 thousand (fee)
  • > VUV 4 Million to 10 Million (annual turnover): VUV 20 thousand (fee)
  • > VUV 10 Million to 20 Million (annual turnover): VUV 50 thousand (fee)
  • > VUV 20 Million to 50 Million (annual turnover): VUV100 thousand (fee)
  • > VUV 50 Million to 100 Million (annual turnover): VUV 250 thousand (fee)
  • > VUV 100 Million to 200 Million (annual turnover): VUV 500 thousand (fee)
  • > VUV 200 Million / >(annual turnover): VUV 1 Million(fee).

Time and cost: 1 day; VUV 20,000 to 1,000,000 (VUV 100,000 in case of a turnover between VUV 20,000,000 and VUV 30,000,000).

Register with the VAT office

Agency: Department of Customs and Inland Revenue Services

A company must register with the value added tax (VAT) office if it anticipates turnover of at least VUV 4 million per year.

Time and cost: 3 days (simultaneous with procedure 4), no charge

Register as an employer with the National Provident Fund

Agency: National Provident Fund

All employees from the age of 14 – 55 must join the fund. 50% of the monthly contribution (understand gross salary) is paid by the employer and 50% by the employee. This is for the retirement benefits of the employees. Under the law, an employer must register with this fund 7 days after incorporation of the business (or 7 days as soon as the first employee is recruited).

Payment of contribution is made directly at the National Provident Fund.

Time and cost: 1 week, no charge

Enroll employees in the work accident insurance

Agency: Any insurance fund

All employers are required to insure their employees against workplace accidents.

Time and cost: 3 days (simultaneous with previous procedure), no charge

Make a company seal

Agency: Sealmaker

By law, a company must have a seal – a mean to authenticate its documents.

Time and cost: 3 days, VUV 3,000