Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Belize. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Belize to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Conduct a name search

    Agency: Companies' Registry

    The entrepreneur must travel to Belmopan, the capital, to visit the Companies’ Registry and request a computerized name search of all existing Belizean company names, which takes a few minutes to complete as is free of charge. A request can also be done by e-mail, telephone or fax at a fee of BZD 50.

    1 day no charge

    Register company statutes, memorandum and articles of association

    Agency: Companies' Registry

    The company must register its statutes, memorandum, and articles of association at the Companies’ Registry. The applicable fees are BZD 500 for the certificate of compliance, BZD 10 for filing, BZD 50 for registration, BZD 12 (each) for registering the statutes, the memorandum, and articles of association, and BZD 13 for registering the directors to act on the company’s behalf. The fees are paid directly at the Companies’ Registry.

    According the Companies Act, a company can be formed with one director and one shareholder. In case of one or more directors each director must initially subscribe to at least one share, and for practical purposes, each share is worth BZD 1. For a company with 5 directors, in practice, the minimum start-up capital is BZD 5.

    The documentation must include the following:
    - Identification for all directors and their representatives, if applicable
    - Company statutes
    - Memorandum and articles of association

    2 days see procedure details

    Submit application for a trade license

    Agency: City Council

    The application prompts the City Council to send an inspector to visit the site. Although there are only four city council inspectors in Belize City, the inspector will usually arrive the next day.

    The documentation to submit an application for trade license shall include:
    - Certificate of compliance from the Companies’ Registry (obtained in Procedure 2)
    - Proof of residency

    1 day no charge

    Receive inspection from City Council inspector

    Agency: City Council

    The city council inspector inspects the premises and submits findings to the council’s trade license board. By law, the board must meet every 3 months, but in practice, it meets every 2 weeks to manage the high volume of trade license applications. At the end of the deliberation, the determination and assessment notice (25% of the inspector's assessed annual rental income of the business premises) will be couriered to the entrepreneur. About 2 days after the trade license board’s decision and the entrepreneur’s payment, the license will be hand delivered to the entrepreneur at no additional charge.

    20 days no charge
    * 5

    Pay for the trade license

    Agency: City Council

    Parties take the assessment notice to the City Council and pay 25% of the annual rental value of the premises, according to the inspector’s assessment.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) 25% of the annual rental value of the business premises

    Make a company seal

    Agency: Seal Maker

    The company must make a company seal. This can be done at any stationary store and costs between BZD 50 and BZD 200, depending on whether it is rubber or embossed.

    2 days BZD 50-200

    Register the company for business tax

    Agency: Income tax department

    The founders must register the company with the income tax authorities by presenting a relevant certificate of compliance. The company receives the tax number in about 1 to 2 weeks. Operations may begin at this time but the company must withhold the taxes payable. Failure to do so results in penalties and interest payable.

    10 days BZD 150
    * 8

    Register the company for General Sales Tax (GST)

    Agency: GST office

    The business must register with the general services tax authorities by presenting a relevant certificate of compliance. However, final registration will not be confirmed until a few weeks later. Operations can begin during this time, but the company must withhold the taxes payable. Failure to do so results in penalties and interest payable.

    17 days on average (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
    * 9

    Register the employees with the Social Security Board

    Agency: Social Security Board

    All employees must be registered with the social security authorities. Confirmation of registration will take a few months. Operations can begin in the meantime, but deductions must be taken during this time.

    2 days (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.