Each individual or legal entity in Curacao who wants to:

  • open a business and conduct it or have it conducted;
  • have a business opened and conduct it or have it conducted;
  • take over a business and conduct it or have it conducted;
  • continue a business or have it continued;
  • have a business taken over and conduct it or have it conducted;
  • transfer a business with regard to the public;
  • change the nature of a business

needs permission from the island Executive Council, "Bestuurscollege" for the purpose.

  • By "business" is understood any enterprise in which any kind of business is conducted by any individual or entity.
  • Limited liability companies, managers of limited liability companies, cooperative societies, importers, agents, commission agents as partners of a business under the style of a firm, and of a limited partnership, with the exception, however, of the limited partner, are always assumed to be conducting a business.
  • Branches, branch-offices, and other trading posts are considered individually.

The required permits are the Business and/or Manager's license.

No license is required for those activities mentioned under a. through g. with regard to business in which agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and fishery are conducted, whether or not this goes hand in hand with the sale of products yielded, won or caught in that firm.

In order to obtain the business and managers' license, the government will take the following requirements into consideration:

  • The nature of the business
  • The location of the business
  • The creditworthiness of the applicant
  • The financing of the business

Furthermore, one must prove that he/she has the knowledge to conduct such business.

Procedure for application

A request for a license to open a new business and/or manager's license has to be made on officially stamped paper of NAf. 5,- obtained from the tax collector's office and addressed to the Island Executive Council, "Bestuurscollege van het Eilandgebied Curacao", stating:

  • Name of business,
  • Name of Manager, place, and date of birth,
  • Nationality,
  • Nature and objective of the business to be established.

Together with the request for a license to open a new business mention should be made of a local manager, being for

  • a local enterprise, an individual
  • an offshore trading company either an individual or a legal entity.

For further information:
Economic Affairs Service (Dienst Economische Zaken)
Business License Department
Molenplein z/n, Telephone 462-1444, Fax 462-6596.

Relevant Legal text: P.B. 1946 no. 43


Residence permit

The following persons do not need a permit for staying permanently or temporarily in the Netherlands Antilles.

  • a. those of Dutch nationality born in the Netherlands Antilles;
  • b. those of Dutch nationality born outside the Netherlands Antilles, whose parents were born legitimate Dutch subjects in the Netherlands Antilles;
  • c. those of Dutch nationality born in the Netherlands Antilles (before January 1st, 1986) on the island of Aruba, and were residents of the Netherlands Antilles on January 1st 1986;
  • d. children of those of Dutch nationality mentioned under c;
  • e. females not born in the Netherlands Antilles who are married to males of Dutch nationality born in the Netherlands Antilles, and their legitimate children;
  • f. the legitimate children of males of Dutch nationality born in the Netherlands Antilles who upon reaching their adulthood have their residence in the Netherlands Antilles.


  • Persons admitted into the Netherlands Antilles as legal residents. Anybody not within the category of the persons mentioned above who wishes to stay in the Netherlands Antilles must be in possession of a residence permit.

Work permit

Anyone not included in the above categories and who wishes to come and work in the Netherlands Antilles must apply for a residence permit with permission to work.

Work permits will normally be granted to those in fields or professions for which are no qualified persons locally available.


An overview

For the protection of several interests the government may render it mandatory to hold one or more licenses for the conduct of a business. There are licenses for:

  • businesses in general (for instance, the business establishment license);
  • specific businesses (such as the license pursuant to the Nuisance Act and the license needed for restaurants and hotels);
  • specific activities, such as for the importation of merchandise, for keeping a shop open outside the regular hours, for transfer of money to recipients abroad, etc;
  • personnel matters (like overtime, discharge and health certificates).

This subject will include a discussion of the bodies or agencies by whom the licenses are normally issued, as well as the alternatives when a license is not issued. The most important license will also be discussed.


In principle the agency competent to issue a license is determined based on the type of the license requested over time, the issue of an overgrowing number of licenses has come under the competence of the "BC"; this abbreviation stands for the Executive Council of Government of the Island Government. In turn, the Executive Council may delegate the powers (for instance, to issue health certificates) and at any rate it will always seek the assistance of the government agency active in the respective field.

Most of the licenses related to the protection of workers' interests are still issued by the Central Government of the Netherlands Antilles, through its Department of Labor and Social Affairs.

If a license has been refused and the applicant wishes to appeal from that decision, he should find out whether this can be done and which procedures he has to follow. If the license has been refused by the Executive Council, the appeal may generally be lodged with the Island Council. The law gives a time limit in which to appeal; this period is different according to the kind of license, but in all cases it is very brief.


A number of important licenses, such as the business establishment license, the management license, residence permits and work permits, have already been discussed at length. The following are other licenses that apply to businesses and are frequently required:

1. The nuisance act

A list of all businesses which are deemed capable of causing damage or nuisance or creating danger and are consequently required to apply for a license may be obtained from the Environmental Management Division of the Public Health Service at Groot Davelaar K22-23, tel: . An information brochure on the Nuisance Act is also available at that same division.

The application:
You address your application to the Executive Council. For the respective bodies to get an impression of the business, you are required to include, besides your personal data, a floor plan of the business and one of the site, in fourfold. A sum of NAF. 252,- must be paid to the Collector of Taxes of the Insular Government to cover publication of the application in the newspapers; a copy of the receipt issued must be enclosed with your application.

Terms and conditions:
In order to limit nuisance, the Executive Council may impose certain terms and conditions, for instance on equipment and use. It is important for you yourself, as the applicant, to obtain information from the Environmental Management Division in time about any equipment requirements. Failure to observe the conditions may result in closing of your business.

An appeal against a denial or cancellation of a license may be lodged with the Island Council within 14 days after the mailing date. A decision on your appeal will be rendered within two months.

2. The food & liquor licencing act

A license is needed by:

  • Eating and drinking facilities;
  • Hotels and boarding establishments;
  • Bars and strong liquor wholesale establishments.

Information on these licenses may be obtained from the General and Legal Affairs,
Pietrmaai 20A, tel: (5999) 434-2200, fax: (5999) 461-3173.

The application:
Your application should be addressed to the Executive Council. The application must contain data on the applicant, the business (name, address) and the kind of establishment the license is applied for (for instance, a restaurant, coffeehouse, hotel). An amount of NAf. 252.- must be paid to the Collector of Taxes of the Island Government to cover publication of the application in the newspapers; a copy of the receipt issued must be enclosed with your application.

Terms and conditions:
The Executive Council seeks the advice of the Special Ordinances Bureau, the fire department, the public health service (the "GGD") and, if necessary, other agencies as well. This may result in a number of terms and conditions. Also here you would do well in inquiring well in advance, as to the specific requirements the equipment of the building will have to meet.

Additional licenses and certificates:
Besides the above mentioned license and those applying to all businesses, the following specific requirements are still in force:

  • a certificate from the Hygienic Section of the Public Health Service stating that the requirements on hygiene have been met;
  • the registration of the business and its staff with the Hygienic Section of the Public Health Service;
  • a health certificate for all staff members who handle food and beverage directly; a new certificate is required every six months.

For the sale of strong liquor outside the town district you will also add a license issued by the Customs Authorities.

3. Import license

For the importation of all goods a license is required from the Economic Affairs Agency; however, this rule does not apply to the importation of goods for personal use.

For your papers to be stamped with the necessary seals, you are required to submit once only:

  • a certificate of registration of the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce &
    Industry Curacao (this applies to all business concerns);
  • a copy of the license to establish a business (if one is required for the respective business).

NB: The requirements are different for goods subject to restrictions or for which an import license is required.

Information on the import license is available at the Economic Monitoring Section of the Department of Economic Affairs at Scharlooweg 106, Telephone 465-6236, Fax 4657985

4. Licence for overtime and deviating working hours

Deviating working hours:
If you have a business that is open on Sundays and holidays, or in which work is done in the evening, you will also need a license from the Director of the Department of Labor and Social Affairs for such deviating working hours. As far as the salaries are concerned it is important to point out that deviating working hours do not necessarily mean overtime.

Statutory provisions have already been enacted for the Hotel and Catering Industry, as far as deviating working hours are concerned; however, the work schedule must always be presented to the Department of Labor and Social Affairs for approval.