Offshore Bank License

The International Banking Act came into force in 2002 replacing the Vanuatu Banking Act. This Act has enhanced the reputation of Vanuatu as a bona fide banking jurisdiction by strengthening the supervisory frame work to protect the interests of depositors, investors and ensure financial and monetary stability. All in consistent with internationally accepted standards of the I.M.F and the Basel Accords.

No more brass plate banks, sorry, only serious and reputable banks are now welcome.

An offshore bank licensee cannot carry on banking business locally, only outside of Vanuatu. However the bank must maintain a physical office and keep all the bank’s records in Vanuatu.

The licensing and regulating of all offshore banks now fall under the International Banking Act and regulated by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu.

The bank must maintain at all times paid up capital of not less than $500,000 or in such
minimum proportions in relation to its assets, liabilities or risk exposures.

An advantage of the Vanuatu Offshore Bank License is that this capital need not be maintained in Vanuatu. It can be maintained in a reputable bank or financial institution outside of Vanuatu, subject to the approval of the Reserve Bank and may be invested in approved financial instruments.

A Vanuatu Offshore Bank Licensee enjoys all the benefits of Vanuatu’s tax regime.

Until recently, all offshore banking licenses were held through exempted companies.

Changes to the International Companies Act which came into force on 11 August 2010 makes provisions to bring under the International Companies Act all the exempted companies existing under the Companies Act, of which offshore bank licensee were included.

This amendment has enabled to bring, under one legislation, for registration, all companies that are formed exclusively for offshore operations.

This has streamlined compliance and the incorporation process. Applications for an Offshore Banking License can be lodged under an International Company and take advantage of all the benefits associated with an International company.

The licensing and regulating of an Offshore Bank falls under the International Banking Act and regulated by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu.

The guidelines for the issue of offshore bank licenses can be summarized as follows:

An applicant for a banking license must submit the following information for assessment by the Reserve Bank.

The guidelines for the issue of offshore bank licenses can be summarized as follows:

– Details of ownership, financial capacity and financial history;
– Information on major shareholders and the character and experience of senior management and board of directors;
– Details of risk management, accounting and internal control systems;
– Details of the applicant’s capital structure;
– A detail business plan outlining the types of services to be offered including a three year projections for assets, liabilities and profitability;
– A written undertaking that the applicant will provide the Reserve Bank with any information it may require to carry out its responsibilities under the acts;


And all other requirements of the Act, information as and when requested for.

There is an application fee of USD8, 000 and the first year’s License fee of USD8, 000 payable and submitted with the application.

The first year’s License fee is refundable should the application be declined.