Under the laws of St. Maarten each company needs to have:
- a license for the managing directors to act as such;
- a license to carry out business.
Pursuant to the Business Establishment Rules (Vestigingsregeling voor bedrijven), a business license application can be denied in the interest of public policy and also if in the opinion of the government of St. Maarten the public interest so dictates. The business licenses are issued on condition that the business for which they have been granted must have commenced within six months of the date of the granting of the business license. Foreign legal entities also have the possibility to request the government for a business license for the purpose of establishing a branch of the foreign legal entity to conduct a business in St. Maarten. Although the application process may be lengthy, in anticipation of the issuance of license it is generally condoned that the company commences its operations.
For some international or cross border transactions a specific or general foreign exchange license or exemption may be required. In other cases, the acquisition of a business in St. Maarten by a non-resident requires a foreign exchange license or a written notice to the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten. Such licenses and notices are for the purpose of enabling the Central Bank to monitor the changes in local and foreign currency reserves. The business license can be applied to the Department of Permits & Licenses (this is a department of the Ministry of General Affairs).