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Last updated: 24 Jul 2020

How To Set Up An Offshore Company From A To Z is a detailed roadmap that supports every start-up or new offshore player to save their time and resources. Please read below!

How to set up an offshore company

The term “offshore company” may be too familiar to you, but actually, the topics associated with the offshore company seem to be always at the top level of attention.

Thanks to a wide range of benefits like tax optimization, asset protection or privacy, a large number of business players have been increasingly flocking to offshore jurisdictions. Some common names you may know are the BVI, Belize, Hong Kong for examples, and many more.

Some may feel quite easy to incorporate their offshore company. Some, on the other hand, have given feedbacks on the procedural requirements as well as the complicated process that they must deal with.

Through many cases, what BBCIncorp realized is that the clients did not gain sufficient knowledge for the particular incorporation of offshore companies. In this blog, we will drive every start-up or new offshore player to everything they need for setting up an offshore company.

1. Don’t miss 3 must-do steps in preparation stage

Good preparation always makes good results! Below are 3 important steps to prepare for incorporating your offshore company:

  • Being well-equipped for “offshore” related matters
  • Hiring a good incorporation service provider
  • Making ready for all associated costs

1.1. Sifting “offshore” knowledge

Sifting offshore knowledge

You should understand based knowledge about an offshore company and its relevant issues so that you can minimize the potential of any wrong move.

It would really help if you understand what an offshore company is, how it can benefit your company, how many types of company you can set up, or which offshore jurisdictions you should first put in your consideration list in respect of your business demand, etc.

Taking time to obtain information about offshore is very essential. For example, the meaning of “offshore company” refers to the fact that you will form the company in a country outside your country of residence. That’s the common definition that people talk about it.

However, you should also know that most businesses are likely to opt for setting up an offshore company in the place which can offer them tax benefits, either reduced tax rates or even free tax.

1.2. Find an appropriate offshore incorporation provider

Hiring a good offshore service provider is one hassle-free and effective solution for most start-ups and new business players. This service firm will collect required documents and paperwork, then register and incorporate your offshore company. This firm will also be beneficial to facilitate the management of administrative tasks for you after the incorporation.

Find an offshore service provider

Examples of post-incorporation duties include making renewals, filing financial reports, annual tax returns, etc.

Typically, there are two popular types of offshore service providers, namely the universal provider and the specialized provider.

  • Specialized service providers: focus on the offshore services in one particular jurisdiction. This type of provider is physically situated in that particular jurisdiction, and can be licensed as Registered Agent.
  • Universal service providers: are commonly located in major cities like New York, London or Hong Kong. Unlike specialized ones, universal providers serve offshore incorporation services in various jurisdictions. Furthermore, clients are also provided with a diversity of other offshore related services along with advice and guidance from their experts. Note, however, that universal offshore firms are not Registered Agents, but they will work closely with Registered Agents in the jurisdiction in which you wish to incorporate your offshore company.

*Register Agents refer to the party taking responsibility of collecting documents and legal notices on behalf of the company. 

Please keep in mind, not all offshore service providers can be your ideal partner. There are some parameters that should be taken into account, for example:

  • The experience/business history of the firm
  • The physical location of the firm
  • The number of jurisdictions that the firm may cover (if you choose universal providers)
  • The cost of the firm’s services
  • The customer service of the firm
  • Especially, the reputation of the firm

There are multiple channels to allow you to perceive whether your offshore service provider of choice is reputable or not. You may ask family members, friends or colleagues who may get to know that firm, or you can visit offshore forums and reviews like TrustPilot to see how customers talk about its services.

1.3. Prepare for associated payments

Prepare associated costs

Once you have selected your ideal partner for your offshore company formation, you actually know how much you need to pay for your basic incorporation, including certificate of incorporation, the register of directors or documents filing. Having said that, there may be other additional fees that you should plan in advance. Such extra payments can arise from some following activities:

  • Bank account opening
  • Corporate seals registering
  • Corporate offices renting
  • Together with a couple of possible needed services like apostille, virtual office, etc.

2. Company structure: IBC, LLC, Pte Ltd – Which to choose?

The next stage is to consider a suitable offshore company structure!

Offshore company is a very broad term. Depending on the jurisdiction you choose, the flexibility of the business structure you expect and some other factors, the offshore service provider can suggest the best-suited type to make the most of your benefits.

Normally, there are 3 offshore company structures that are widely chosen by business players moving offshore. They are:

  • International Business Company (IBC)/ Business Company (BC)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Private Limited Company (Pte Ltd)

Below table shows the summary of above-mentioned offshore company structures:

 Key featuresSome recommended offshore jurisdictions 
  • Allow the engagement in international business activities like trade or investment
  • Be exempt from local corporate tax if the IBC does not conduct business within the jurisdiction of incorporation
  • Offer fast incorporation
  • Offer banking and corporation privacy
  • Offer minimal reporting requirements
  • Require at least 1 director and 1 shareholder. Both can be the same person

You can learn more about IBC with us HERE.


British Virgin Islands


Marshall Islands


  • Be a hybrid of the corporation and the partnership
  • Be exempt from local corporate tax on assets or income generating outside of the jurisdiction of incorporation
  • Offer strong protection for the company members. Members are not personally liable for debts or liabilities of the business
  • Only have members in place of shareholders and directors
  • Offer minimal reporting requirements
  • Require at least 1 member

You can learn more about LLC with us HERE.


Cook Island


St. Vincent & Grenadine

Pte Ltd
  • Be a type of privately held business entity with the number of shareholders not exceeding 50
  • Offer limited liability to shareholders
  • Can enter into contracts, acquire assets, sue or be sued under its own name
  • Enjoy low tax rates/tax exemption from income earned from outside
  • Restrict shareholders from publicly trading shares
  • Subject to more reporting requirements than that of IBCs

You can learn more about Pte Ltd with us HERE.

Hong Kong



3. Decide on an appropriate offshore jurisdiction

The offshore location is of important impact on either advantages or challenges of your incorporated company in that particular jurisdiction. There are a range of parameters that should be taken into considerations when making a decision.

Most importantly, offshore company jurisdiction should be an excellently tailored option that can meet your business needs. For example, if you are seeking for a reputed location with highly pro-business for foreigners to incorporate, you may immediately think of Singapore or Hong Kong as your first ideas.

The reputation can also reflect the offshore jurisdiction’s soundness and stability, which can result in the feeling of trustworthiness, and the potential of your business growth. It is advisable to look at its health of economy, politics, legal framework, and even corporate structures availability to have a meticulous examination of your choice.

If you are a big fan of EU markets, when drafting your consideration list, find out whether your intended place to incorporate is in the non-cooperative list by EU Council or not. This element is greatly significant in case your company has a plan of trading or expanding to EU arena in the near future.

Furthermore, do not feel surprised if knowing that your country of residency may be the reason for your failure of setting up an offshore company. Some countries can be named in the list of being ineligible for your company formation, therefore where you are living is an important factor to take into account as well.

The ability to support business for tax minimization is another factor to consider. Most offshore company jurisdictions offer a favorable low tax or even free tax for foreign-sourced earnings, reducing the tax burden that they must suffer in high-tax countries. Note, however, that understanding the taxation rules is relatively crucial due to the fact that each jurisdiction may impose different tax systems on your offshore business.

For better understanding, you can learn more with us at Best Offshore Company Jurisdictions For Foreigners!

4. How to set up an offshore company: Incorporation Procedure

Incorporation process for an offshore company can be enfolded in steps as the followings:

4.1. Select a company name

Select a company name

There are certain naming requirements for your company name to get approval from the competent authority which is commonly known as the Company Registry.

In particular, an eligible company name for offshore companies should meet basic criteria as below:

  • The name should be unique and not be identical or similar to any existing or already registered company name at the Company Registry;
  • The name should avoid the name in which prohibited and restricted words are included. Such words can be Bank, Assurance, Insurance, Royal, University, Trust, Building Society, Cooperative, Foundation, Casino, Fund, Securities, Pharmacy, et cetera;
  • Note that an LLC company name must typically end with suffixes namely “Limited”, “LTD.”, “Corporation”, “Corp.”, “Incorporated”, “Inc.”, “LLC”, “Société Anonyme”, “S.A.”, “Gmb”, “Namloze Vennootschap”, “Berhad”, etc, depending on the corporate laws of the chosen offshore jurisdictions.
  • The company name search/ Checking the name availability is always essential to save your time and avoid unnecessary mistakes.

4.2. Fulfill KYC requirements 

To curb illegitimate uses of offshore banking services, most banks need to carry out due diligence before accepting new clients.

Fulfill Know Your Clients Requirements

Please be advised that documents required to submit for your offshore company formation may be varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, in most cases, the basic documents for the customer verification that would be expected to submit are as the followings:

Basic documents for due diligence obligations:

  • A certified copy of your identification documents like passport
  • An original or certified copy of documents for your residential address verification
  • A detailed description of your company’s business activities

If your offshore company has one of its shareholders being a corporate body, then you must submit additional documents:

  • Certified copy of Incorporate Certificate or equivalent
  • Certified copy of Memorandum of Association
  • Certified copy of Registers of Directors and Members

4.3. Deliver documents to the Company Registry

Once you have done all needed documents, please send them to the Company Registry of the offshore location that you opted for and proceed to register your company!

Let BBCIncorp be your ideal partner!

We hope you find this article as a useful roadmap for your offshore company formation!

How to set up an offshore company is relatively straightforward and not complicated if you are fully aware of what you should prepare before to move and what to do during the incorporation process. And hiring an offshore service firm will be an effective solution for you to save more time and resources when moving offshore.

BBCIncorp will typically do everything for you instead of the fact you will do such step by step by yourself. What you need to do is to chat with our consultant to acknowledge your case, collect above required documents and send us via emails. We then deliver your documents to the compliance department and the Company Registry of the offshore location you have chosen for registration.

The online offshore company formation services can bring you the best of its convenience thanks to the fact that you can get your offshore company incorporated quickly within several business working days.

CONTACT US NOW and tell us your desired offshore company! 

Or, you may need time to research more on specific choices, please visit our related blog articles for more useful information:

From A to Z: Belize international business company (IBC)

The BVI Business Company: Key things offshore seekers should know

> Singapore and Hong Kong for Doing Business



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