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Step 4: Licensing

Updated: Jan 30


When incorporating and registering companies in the Cayman Islands, a distinction is made between resident companies that carry on business within the Islands (often referred to as "Local Companies") and exempted companies, which mainly do business outside the jurisdiction. Subject to a few exceptions, a Trade & Business Licence (T&B Licence) is enough to get a local business up and running. Where there is foreign ownership or control, the provisions of The Local Companies Law (LCCL) may be applicable unless at least 60% of the shares are owned by Caymanians, and at least 60% of the directors are Caymanian. If not, Local Companies must also apply for and obtain an LCCL Licence.

Legal requirements to start a business

The Department of Commerce & Investment (DCI) is central in providing the necessary framework conducive to a successful business environment through our Licensing, Regulatory and Enforcement functions.

DCI provides business licensing services to specified sectors, ensuring compliance of licenced businesses with local commerce legislation and local and international standards. This includes administration and issuance of Trade & Business Licences, Local Company (Control) Licences, Tobacco Permits, Liquor Licences, Public Film Exhibition Premises Licences, and Special Economic Zone Company Licences.

For more research and to review a checklist of what is required to set up a Trade and Business License see the Department of Commerce and Investments (DCI) website.

Trade and business licensing

  1. Local Companies Control Licensing (LCCL)

  • Special Economic Zone

  • Cayman Enterprise City

  • Cinematography Licensing & Film Rating

  • Local Business (60% of the shares are owned by Caymanians)

  • Liquor

  • Tobacco

  • Music

  • Incorporation/ Registration

  • Commercial Real Estate

  • Developer License (typical to set up local builder and real estate agent)

  • LCCL first if not Caymanian – then get Developer

  • Non-profits

  • Handled through the General Registry


Government Agencies

Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI)

Trade & Business licensing

Local Companies Control Licensing


Work Permits

Permanent Residency

Border Control


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