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 Vanuatu. 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 Vanuatu to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    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/steps.html. 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 2,000. Reserving the name is a good practice but not required and not done systematically.

    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 VUR 30,000 and in person, 35,000

    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 shown below for 2006.

    Fee schedule:
    • < VUV 4million(annual turnover): No charge
    • > 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)

    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).
    * 4

    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.

    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.

    1 week no charge
    * 6

    Enroll employees in the work accident insurance

    Agency: Any insurance fund

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

    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

    3 days VUV 3,000

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.