Guide to Doing Business
in Saba


Under the BES Business Establishment (Vestigingswet BES) all moratoria that existed based on the former Antillean regulations regarding establishment, have expired (there may still be some moratoria based on other local ordinances, such as a moratorium on dive centers, following the Island Decision on Underwater park Bonaire).

The applicant needs to fill out a form with standard data (e.g. personal details, type of business, the education he has received, investment need and financial means at disposal). The local civil service checks if the application is complete and gives the applicant the opportunity to complete it if it is not yet completed. Then, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is heard about the application. If the Executive Council is of the opinion that there is no objection to grant a business permit, then the permit may be issued.

Do note that there is a maximum processing time of eight weeks after application for a business permit to be submitted and this application complies with all the requirements set; if this period expires, the permit is granted to the applicant by law. The Executive Council shall, within two weeks after issuing, publish a list with businesses to whom a business permit has been issued by law. After that the Executive Council still has, if necessary, eight weeks time to set additional conditions. However, the entrepreneur may already start with his business.

If according to the Executive Council there is an objection against issuing the business permit and that objection is based on the fact that the entrepreneur manifestly does not have sufficient skills or manifestly has insufficient resources, then the Executive Council can, upon motivation, deny the application within eight weeks of submission. In this case it is essential that the Executive Council observes the decision period, because otherwise the decision will be granted by law anyway. The Executive Council can refuse a business permit to protect the public interests, but the Minister of Economic Affairs must have agreed with the refusal of the permit.

For some businesses further regulation exists and permits are required (e.g. financial industry, broadcasting, telecoms).