Registration of off-shore banks

In the last decade, West Union‘s group of companies have been attracting the interest of many clients who applied and received an off-shore banking license.

The considerable experience of West Union Group in the registration of offshore banks and their subsequent support enables customers worldwide to use this tool to maximize their profits and minimize their costs.
If you are interested in creating your own offshore bank, West Union Group will help you to register and acquire a banking license in various offshore jurisdictions.
To begin the registration process, you must determine what type of license you are planning to get. Licenses issued by offshore banks are divided into different categories: unlimited general license, a license with restrictions (prohibition to engage in certain activities), the license of the prohibition of servicing residents. Most of the banks start with lower class licenses, and in time they upgrade themselves to the highest category of financial and credit institutions.


To register an offshore bank, West Union Group traditionally distinguishes four most convenient jurisdictions:

•    Dominica ; Commonwealth of Dominica
•    Seychelles
•    Bahamas
•    Belize



However, this list is constantly changing. Several years ago there was a "boom" of registration of banks on the island of Nauru. This was due to the ease of obtaining a license on the island and the high level of freedom granted by the Government. However, after a short period of time, an international community represented by the U.S. government applied strong political pressure on this island which resulted in closures of many banks in this region. Nowadays opening a bank in Nauru is practically impossible. To our knowledge, there is a fairly large list of jurisdictions that are under pressure from international community, thus making it very difficult for newly developed businesses to enter this market sector. Each project of development of an offshore bank is unique, requires a great deal of time and effort to achieve maximum results.
Below are the jurisdictions in which is possible to register an offshore bank.              
Dominica ; Commonwealth of Dominica

Dominica Offshore Bank may exercise all kinds of legal banking operations known in the world, with any foreign companies and individuals, including IBC (International Business Companies) registered in Dominica. This offshore bank in Dominica is fully exempt from taxation, except for the annual state fee for renewal of licenses. Dominica is a well respected offshore banking jurisdiction, the legislation is based on "The offshore Banking Act" 1996 and "Offshore Banking (Amendment) Act" 1997. In Dominica, in contrast to many other offshore jurisdictions, there were no financial scandals so far.
A distinctive feature of Dominica is a unique opportunity to get onshore / offshore license. In this case you can serve both residents and non-residents of Dominica (about 75,000 population, plus tourists). Meaning that you will maintain a separate balance sheet, since the income from transactions with residents will need to pay tax, but it gives a real advantage of establishing easier relationships with major banks and the rapid obtaining of permission to receive to issue your own cards with the help of major Card companies, such as,  Visa or MasterCard.

Procedure for registration

1. The process of obtaining license varies from 2 to 10 months. Requirements:
o Submission of a business plan created by the bank with a detailed description of upcoming operations.
o Synchronize with local applicant company for banking license.
o Payment of the share capital of not less than 1,000,000 USD
o Submission of documents confirming the financial and personal reputation of the applicant
o   Description of the applicants in the field of international business.
o   Financial performance of subsidiaries during the three years immediately preceding the date of application, certified by an independent auditor.
o   Proven audit net profit of each of the shareholders, partners or subsidiaries of the company, applying for an offshore banking license.
o Organization Representative Office in Dominica or registration of parent company.
o Freeze government bonds 150,000 USD, for the entire period of the operation of the bank.

2. Terms to sustain an offshore bank
o Until January 15, the extension of payment of state banking license banking activities, part of 8,000 USD (for onshore / offshore bank 20,000 USD);

3. Submission to the Government of Dominica's annual audit, a certified local or international recognized auditing firm

Despite the fact that the law in Seychelles does not restrict the right of individuals to register banking institution, in practice, only existing foreign bank may file a request for an offshore banking license.
The procedure for obtaining a bank license begins with the filing of documentation to the Central Bank of the state, which must set forth the reasons which led to the selection of Seychelles to conduct offshore banking, as well as to make the following information:

o detailed description of objectives of the offshore bank, including the expected business practices of operation and sources of income;
o Expected balance, and the expected gains and losses over the next two years;
o information about the organizational and staffing structure and composition of the administrative apparatus of the high levels of management;
o names, addresses and qualifications of appointed auditors;
o name, address and a list of board of directors and managers of the bank;
o biography of the shareholders, directors, managers and other senior officials of the bank.

The statement, like the rest of the documentation should be drafted by a lawyer, and signed by at least two directors of the principal banking institution. The Central Bank is obliged to respond to the license application within 90 days either from the date of its submission, or from the provision of additional information, if needed.
The minimum capital of Seychelles offshore bank is 1, 000, 000 USD.
Nominated auditor of the offshore bank must be approved by the Central Bank of Seychelles.


Establish a bank in the Bahamas is extremely difficult, and a chance to succeed in this business can only by financial institutions. The time needed for registering a bank and issuing bank licenses in the Bahamas can take up to six months.
The founders need to prepare a three to five years’ business plan for the bank with an independent advice to the registration authorities , as well as proof of the experience of banking activities. A confirmation from an independent auditor must be obtained for proving the owners of the future bank have sufficient funds held in their own disposal.

The minimum number of financially independent shareholders is 5. Equity is distributed in such a way that neither of the shareholders is entitled to have full benefits in making decisions for the bank.

The minimum share capital of the bank with the general license is 1,000,000 USD, and the minimum capital of the bank with a limited license to serve a predetermined range of services is 100 000 USD.
After the bank is registered the share capital may be used for lending, but credit granting the full amount of charter fund only by one borrower is prohibited.

The annual audit report on the activities of the bank must be published in the official newspaper Bahamas. In addition, authorities may request information regarding the bank itself and its shareholders or beneficial owners.

Bank secrecy is a very sensitive subject in Bahamas.

Obligatory condition for registration of a bank in the territory of Belize is the confirmation of the proper qualifications of managing director in international banking. Through the efforts of his team a business plan should be drawn up outlining the goal of establishing the bank and the forthcoming operation. In addition, one of the directors of the bank shall be a resident of Belize. Presentation of business plan is carried out at the first meeting with representatives of the Central Bank of Belize.
After obtaining the approval of the stated activities is to appoint a local representative of the founders of the bank to go through registration procedures.

The registration procedure involves submission of the following documentation to the Central Bank of Belize:

•        A detailed business plan
•        Financial results for the three years immediately preceding the date of application, certified by an independent auditor
•        The balance sheet for three years
•        Description of the bank's risk management
•        Biographies, letters of recommendation, a summary of the shareholders, directors, managers and other senior officials of the bank
•        Additional documentary support, simplifying the procedure for approval of the application
The application process can take from six to eighteen months.
After the application is approved, the founders of the organization are given the opportunity of banking activities for one year in accordance with the terms of the temporary license. After this period the license shall be continued indefinitely. Bank office in Belize can be controlled by a minimum number of staff; management of the bank's activities may be carried out from offices around the world. The establishment of the bank is possible only by legal entity.
On the territory of Belize, there are two types of licenses:

1. License Class "A" gives banks the ability to make any international transactions without any restrictions.
•        Annual fee to maintain this type of license is 25.000 USD
•        The minimum contribution to the authorized capital of the bank is 3.000.000USD
•        In addition to the charter capital needs to be deposited in the amount of 100.000USD the Central Bank of Belize
2. License Class "B" is suitable for a large group of affiliated companies in order to provide banking services team members.
•        Annual fee to maintain the license class "B" is 15.000USD
•        The minimum capital contribution is 1.000.000USD
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