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British Virgin Islands Company Incorporation Overview

General Information:

The British Virgin Islands consist of 60 islands and cays having a total land area of 150 sq km. The BVI lie to the north west of the United States Virgin Islands and are separated from them by a channel only five kilometres wide. The neighbour with the largest land area is Puerto Rico, 96 km to the west. Except for Anegada, which is a flat, coral island with little soil, the islands are hilly. The BVI 's greatest tourist attraction is their superb beaches.



*includes first year Company Secretary

In order to obtain the necessary nationality for registration in Guernsey, Yachts may be transferred to or purchased by BVI Business Companies. Busines Companies (BC) are companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) under the International Business Companies Act, 1984, but whose business, including yacht ownership, is to be conducted outside the BVI, and which may not do business with any person resident in the BVI.

BVI BCs are a very popular and widely used offshore companies because of their administrative ease, flexibility, taxation exempt status and the fact that they are widely accepted and understood by the international financial community. BVI BC 's may not own real property in the BVI, other than the lease of an office, and may not carry on banking or trust business (unless licensed under the Banks and Trust Companies Act, 1990) or insurance or re-insurance business (unless licensed in the BVI to carry on that business). Otherwise, BVI BC 's may engage in any activity that is not illegal under the laws of the BVI subject to any restrictions in their Memorandum of Association.


Key Corporate Features:























Infrastructure & Economy:

There is an excellent daily air service between the Islands and the USA. Cruise ships call in weekly to the Islands and there are freight carriers. The economy, one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean area, is highly dependent on the tourist industry, which generates about 21% of the national income. In 1985, the Government offered offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the Islands.


The official and spoken language is English.


United States Dollar (USD)

Exchange Control


Type of Law

Based on English Common Law with local modifications and local statutes.


Principal Corporate Legislation

The Companies Act (Cap. 285) and The International Business Companies Act (Cap. 291).

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Company Information

Type of Company for International Trade and Investment

The British Virgin Islands International Business Company.


Restrictions on Trading

BVI BCs cannot trade within the British Virgin Islands or own real estate there. Cannot undertake the business of banking, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, collective investment schemes, trust management, trusteeship, the rendering of investment advice or any other activity that would suggest an association with the banking or insurance industries. Cannot offer its shares for sale to the public.


Powers of Company

A company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands has the same powers as a natural person.


Language of Legislation and Corporate Documents



Shelf Companies Available



Language of Name
Latin Alphabet. Any name in a language other than English must be accompanies by a translation to ensure that the name is not restricted.


Registered Office Required

Yes, must be maintained in the British Virgin Islands, and must be maintained at the office of a licensed management company.


Name Restrictions
Any name that is identical or similar to an existing company, or any name that suggests the patronage of the Royal Family or the Government of the British Virgin Islands.


Suffixes to Denote Limited Liability

Limited, Corporation, Incorporated, Société Anonyme, Sociedad Anónima or their relevant abbreviations.


Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership to Authorities?


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