Belize is an international offshore company jurisdiction and the Belize company formation process is notably fast and simple.
Investors who wish to open an offshore company here need to set up a bank account in Belize as per the requirements for operating an offshore from this location.
|Mandatory local bank account for companies (Yes/No)||
Mandatory residence requirement
Bank account opening time
|Required documents – companies||
Company representative identification documents
Proof of company registration and other corporate documents, as may be required
|Required documents – individuals||
Recent utility bill
Other documents, as may be required by the chosen bank
Monthly service charges (can start at $1.50)
$20-$100 for certain types of accounts; depends on the chosen bank
|Types of accounts||Regular savings accounts, demand deposit accounts, term deposit accounts, etc.|
|Online banking||Online business and personal banking; mobile apps|
|Local agent requirments||Not necessarily; our team provides this service upon request|
|Belize international banks||
Belize Bank International
Caye International Bank
Heritage Bank Limited
|Mobile banking||Options available according to the chosen bank|
Bank branches network
|Depends on the chosen bank|
To be checked with the bank both for corporate and individual clients
|Interest rate||Different according to the chosen bank|
|Savings account minimum balance||
Can be imposed by the bank
|Personal credit cards||
Mastercard Standard Credit or others
|Additional options for credit cards||
Instant payment, standing order, insurance (these differ according to the chosen bank)
|Credit card payment||
Depending on the chosen bank, usually payable in installments or as a single payment
|Special consideration according to nationality||
US citizens should be aware of the provisions of the FATCA and the requirements that apply in their case
|Differences for residents/non-residents||Foreigners who open offshore bank accounts may be asked to present additional or different documents, compared to Belizean citizens|
|Power of attorney||
Can be used to open a bank account; our team can provide you with details on drafting this document
What is the general procedure for the Belize bank account setup in 2023?
Entrepreneurs and individuals can open a bank account in Belize that suits their offshore company formation or tax planning needs. Personal and corporate accounts may be opened with a Belize bank and the holder will need to comply with a few regulations, including a minimum initial deposit and/or monthly deposits for some types of accounts.
The following are the documents needed for most foreign investors and foreign nationals wishing to set up a Belize bank account: notarized passport copy, reference letters from a bank you have an account with, copies of utility bills (for natural persons), company documents (for Belize International companies or for other legal entities), certificate of good standing (for companies with less than 1 year of age), etc.
The minimum initial deposit for a bank account in Belize, as well as the account fees and monthly maintenance fees and transfer taxes, will depend on the chosen type of bank.
Foreign nationals who open a bank account in Belize for personal purposes can also be interested in getting permanent residence in Belize if there are if they are already here on a temporary basis our team can help you understand the permanent residence application requirements and will guide you throughout the process, please contact us if you need more details about the current conditions and fees.
Belize is a preferred jurisdiction for offshore companies because of its banking laws that favor the account holder’s protection and privacy. There are no restrictions on currency transferred in and out of the jurisdiction and there are no exchange control policies.
One of our Belize offshore company formation agents can offer you detailed information on the laws and policies for exchange transfers and bank account setup as well as the tax laws in Belize in 2023.
Any legal issues concerning banking matters can easily be handled with the assistance of our local Belizean lawyers. Our attorneys offer guidance and legal advice as needed to investors who wish to open a corporate or personal bank account. We also advise on several other important areas of law, such as offshore company laws, taxation, employment, and more.
We invite you to watch the following video on how to open a bank account in Belize:
Can your Belize company formation agents provide assistance for opening a bank account?
One of our Belize company formation specialists can assist you once you decide to open a bank account in the country. We can provide additional information on the banks and bank branches in Belize and their offers for foreign clients.
Bank account setup is part of our Belize offshore company formation package. We provide assistance, as needed, throughout all the company formation stages and help entrepreneurs prepare the documents required to open the bank account. When needed, we can act as liaison between the company and the bank – a step that may be useful when foreign investors cannot be present in the jurisdiction. If this is the case, one of our agents can, based on a power of attorney, make necessary submissions, collect bank statements, submit documents and handle all steps related to corporate banking, as indicated in the specific power of attorney.
Why should investors choose Belize for offshore banking?
- Safety: the local banking laws provide for a comprehensive legislation that protects the needs of clients, both resident and non-resident ones;
- Privacy: the same laws allow for a well-structured framework for investor privacy; although some details are required when opening an account, the holder will enjoy the laws that allow part of the details and transactions to remain confidential; we encourage those interested to explore the local regulations in this sense;
- Flexibility: Belize is a recognized location to based asset protection vehicles and offshore banking is a key component of the factors that make the jurisdiction attractive for this purpose;
- International banking: offshore banking is simplified in Belize, and international investors will nor encounter issues when managing their accounts from abroad.
Another reason why Belize is a favorable location for offshore banking is the fact that the initial deposit is quite low, in the range of 500 to several thousand dollars, depending on the chosen bank and type of account. This can be lower than the minimum amount required in other locations that are also important financial centers. What’s more, entrepreneurs who open a bank account in Belize enjoy good liquidity rations and an overall beneficial stability throughout the country as an investment destination.
Please note that these advantages may differ for certain investors as their investment purposes or asset protection goals are unique. We advise those interested to reach out to our company formation agents for complete answers to questions regarding offshore banking in Belize in 2023.
Investors in Belize are not conditioned by the residency or nationality and the same extends to bank accounts. For the most part, banks will not take into consideration these aspects as anyone, irrespective of nationality, is allowed to open a company in Belize and engage in banking activities, including offshore banking.
English is the official language in Belize, although other languages are also spoken. This means that English-speaking or American investors will have no issues when they decide to open a bank account in Belize. Communicating with the bank agents and making the necessary submissions is facilitated. However, we do remind investors that banks will ask for certain documents to be translated, and these can include but are not limited to any corporate documents issued in the country of origin where the company is based (for offshore corporate accounts) or other individual identification documents, as may be the case. Sworn translations may be needed and our agents can provide more details and assistance when preparing the needed documents.
Belize banking statistics
The Central Bank of Belize offers a glimpse into the banking system statistics through its monthly or annual summary of assets and surveys. Our Belize offshore company formation agents present some of these statistics below:
- – Net foreign assets: their value was 804,969 mn$ in January 2020, and 917,212 mn$ in August 2020;
- – Domestic bank loans: to the private sector in January 2020 amounted to 2,206,887 mn$;
- – Deposits: in August 2020 the amount of deposits by depositors who were incorporated businesses was 917,078 mn$.
The statistics include data about the banking activity in general and the evolution of the monetary supply. The information is aggregated for the whole banking system and reported into categories. The data does not refer to other financial institutions. Details on their economic activities, the assets and liabilities of credit unions, as well as details on the distributions of loans according to sectors can be provided separately. Our team can also give investors details on the financial soundness indicators offered by the Central Bank.
Foreign investors who plan on opening a company in Belize and a bank account, or only a bank account in 2023 should be mindful of the travel restrictions that may be in place because of the coronavirus outbreak. The global situation should not deter those who have planned to handle certain banking issues this year in Belize, as our team can provide complete assistance even if you cannot be present in the country (we can help you find out what steps you can take and what is subject to restrictions or your mandatory presence).
The steps required to open a bank account in Belize are not complicated, however, foreign investors who wish to do to can reach out to our team of experts who will provide you with complete details on the requirements and will also be able to handle some of the steps on your behalf, upon request.
Open a company in Belize
Investors who choose to start a business and, consequentially, open a bank account in Belize, have many benefits here, as listed above. In addition to the advantages listed above, Belize is a preferred location because of the convenient time zone for certain categories of investors (North American entrepreneurs) as well as for the wide range of investment options (tourism or tourism-related industries to holding companies or investments in agriculture and light manufacture that are encouraged by the Government).
For offshore investment purposes, Belize offers good asset protection and confidentiality as well as low taxed on real estate rental income, for investors who are also interested in buying property in the jurisdiction. Overall, entrepreneurs who open a company in Belize have the option to diversity their portfolio by exploring the unique investment options present in this country. Those who wish to relocate their business completely here, as well as relocate themselves, will find that the country also offers affordable living costs.
Investments in Belize are closely linked to the advantageous tax system applicable to foreign-source income. This does not mean that there is no applicable corporate income tax, in fact, its general rate is 25%. However, companies that derive income from foreign sources are subject to the special regime that allows them to remain tax exempt. Only companies in the petroleum sector are required to pay the corporate income tax. Companies can be subject on a business tax on turnover, depending on their income. Our team can provide you with more details on the Income and Business Tax Act and the amendments that entered into force in 2020. Double taxation is prevented in Belize because companies are allowed to offset the taxes they have paid on passive income from abroad. Tax credits are granted for an amount equal to the business that that should have been paid in Belize.
The Belize International Business Companies Act includes the provisions that allow for the preferential taxation regime as well as the manner in which the international business company (or IBC) – commonly used for offshore purposes – is to be registered and managed by foreign investors in the country.
The International Business Companies Act allows for easy company formation, another important reason why Belize is a preferred location to base a company. For the purpose of its treatment for tax purposes, an international business company is not considered to do business with a resident Belize entity (and thus be taxed accordingly) when it is simply engaging in a professional bookkeeper, accountants, trust or administration company, investment advisor or another similar company carrying out business in Belize, nor will it be considered to do business in Belize when it makes deposits within a Belize incorporated business or when it carried out a banking business in Belize. The international business company can also own vessels registered in Belize and it can hold a lease of property for use as an office. In all these situations, the company will not be considered to carry out business in Belize. Understandably, this high level of flexibility offers an advantage for tax purposes for investors who wish to open a business here and engage in international trade or provide international services. Our team can give you more details about this matter and can definitely help you open a bank account in Belize.
Investors who open a company in Belize can also apply for Belize citizenship by investment once they comply with the conditions for permanent residency.
Complete company formation packages in Belize
Belize offshore company formation is simple. When opening an international business company, investors need to be mindful of a number of steps as well as certain strict requirements concerning the name of the future business. The chosen name cannot be identical with one that is already used by a company incorporated in Belize nor can it contain words such as “Cooperative”, “Chartered”, “Royal”, “Imperial” and others. Other than the name requirements, the company is also required to include in its Memorandum a number of mandatory information, such as the name and full address of the Belize registered office and that of the Belize registered agent, as well as the object or purpose for which it will be incorporated. The Memorandum is accompanied by the company’s Articles of Incorporation which are all submitted to the Registrar (after which the company receives a certificate of incorporation).
Our team provides complete company formation packages for investors who wisht to make sure that they follow through all of the needed steps and requirements when opening an IBC, including assistance to open a bank account in Belize. We can give you more information on the requirements for general company set up as well as for opening a bank account.
You can contact us for more details on how we can help you open an offshore company in Belize and a bank account.
You can also contact us if you are interested in general information about the residency process, how to immigrate to Belize, and the steps that are mandatory throughout the process (such as the interview with the immigration authorities, the police department, as well as the payments that need to ma made). Our team can guide you if you wish to remain in Belize on a permanent basis.