2015_open_flickr_tara_huntThe U.S. Virgin Islands is a great place to be an entrepreneur. The Territory offers a wide range of tax incentives, and various organizations and agencies have programs available that are geared toward helping new businesses establish themselves and obtain the tools needed for growth and long-term success.

However, many things need to happen before would-be business owners can actually start operating in the U.S. Virgin Islands. After coming up with a workable business plan — a challenging endeavor in its own right — a business owner must fulfill some requirements designed to legitimize and sanction their organization. Incorporating, registering a trade name and obtaining a business license are the three key steps all prospective business owners should consider when setting up shop in the Territory.

The first step to starting a business in the U.S. Virgin Islands is filing articles of incorporation or organization with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. The articles include some basic information about the company, such as its name and purpose, corporate structure, principals, directors and incorporators and certain data about current finances.

Filing a trade name typically occurs in conjunction with the filing of articles. A trade name is any variant on the full legal name of the business that could be reasonably expected to be used when operating in the territory.

Once the articles and trade name registration have been accepted, a business owner must apply for a business license. To receive a license, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs must first conduct a review process with the police and fire departments, the health department (for food-related businesses) and government departments in charge of tax clearance and zoning. Other requirements may also need to be fulfilled, depending on the nature of the company. For example, board certification is necessary for a number of specialized occupations.

Upon the acceptance and approval of all the required paperwork, a business license will be issued. It’s very important to note that conducting business of any sort prior to the issuing of the license is strictly forbidden.

The steps detailed above are just some of the key items the owner of a new business in the U.S. Virgin Islands must address to ensure the company is starting off on the right foot with the territorial government and the local business community. If you’re considering the launch of a new company in the U.S. Virgin Islands, it’s best to seek the input of a skilled business law attorney to make sure you have a complete understanding of all rules, regulations and processes involved.

BoltNagi is a well-established and widely respected business law firm serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.