How do we get approvals to do business in Fiji?
Complete an FIRC Application form and submit the completed form to tInvestment Fiji.
If approved, the applicant will be issued with a Foreign Investment Registration Certificate (FIRC). The investor must then begin the process of obtaining other required permits, licences and approvals. The number and type of approvals to be obtained depend on the nature of the investment.
A list of key follow-up approvals will be provided with the Foreign Investment Registration certificate. However, it is the responsibility of each investor to identify and comply with all requirements of obtaining the permits, licences and approvals required under Fiji law
Where do we go to obtain approvals to set up a business in Fiji?
To set up a business in Fiji, foreign investors need to obtain a Foreign Investment Registration Certificate (FIRC) from Investment Fiji.
Are there any fees or charges?
Yes. The processing fee for an FIRC application is F$2,875.00(VIP).
What requirements must I meet before I can qualify for an FIRC?
Investors will need to meet the requirements listed under the Foreign Investment Act (FIA) and the Foreign Investment Regulation 2009; namely the criteria under the Reserved and Restricted Activities list.
How long does it take to evaluate and approve the proposal?
Under the amended FIA-2004, if all the information is provided it should take no longer than 5 working days.
How much should I invest to obtain an approval?
The investment level is dependent on the project.
For example to open a real estate management business which is 100% foreign owned will require an investment of at least $1m. .
(For more information, please refer to the current Foreign Investment Regulations
As an investor, am I entitled to any tax and duty incentives?
Depending on the type of business, the investors are entitled to tax and duty incentives, provided they meet the requirements under the respective incentive package.
Detail information on Investment Incentives
Is the Tax Free Factory incentive still available?
A tax-free factory (TFF) is no longer available but tax free zone (TFZ) is only available to those who would like to set up a new Information Communication Technology (ICT) company.
However, companies with the existing TFZ approvals will continue until the expiry of the approvals. There are similar attractive incentives available to companies, which manufacture for export. They include the Duty Suspension Scheme (DSS) and tax deduction on export income.
Where do we go to obtain an export/import license?
Different sectors and commodities have their respective agencies. Export license for agriculture items can be obtained from Agriculture and Quarantine Department.
Similarly Fisheries Department deals with licenses for export of Fish products and Customs department deals with licenses for miscellaneous commodities.
Can I get government protection if I was to relocate my business to Fiji?
Government policy is one of deregulation and as such government promotes competition.
Can I set a Casino in Fiji?
The legislation in Fiji does not allow for casinos.
If the FIRC is not issued by the CEO of Investment Fiji, how can I get around the FIA to do the project?
There is an appeals procedure in place.
The conditions in the FIA must be met, however if the investors are not happy with the decision, they are entitled to appeal to the Minister under section 15 of the FIA-2004.
Where do I go to obtain Work Permit(s) for my project?
The Department of Immigration
is responsible for the issuance of work permits. The Department of Immigration's policy requires any investor seeking a key post work permit to invest at least $50,000 before they will be considered.
How much does it cost to get a work permit?
The Department of Immigration's fees for work permit are as follows:
a) Application fees- F$465.00
b) Upon approval issue fees- F$185 per person
c) There is no fixed Immigration bond which differs from country to country.
What form of business can I operate in Fiji?
Investors can operate their business through the following vehicles:
a) Sole Trader
c) Limited Liability Company
d) Branch operation
When can I open a bank account in Fiji?
The investor can open his/her company's Fiji dollar bank account after obtaining Foreign Investment Registration Certificate from Investment Fiji, approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) and incorporating the company with the Registrar of Companies. Individual investors can open their personal Fiji dollar bank accounts only after obtaining their work permit.
Do I need a local partner to operate any business in Fiji?
No, only those wishing to invest in the Fisheries sector require at least 30% of equity to be held by locals and the foreign investor must have at least $500,000 in owner’s contribution or paid-up capital. The foreign investor can operate any other business activities listed under Restricted Activities by meeting the minimum capital requirement.
However, activities under Reserved activities are prescribed for Fiji Citizens only.
Where can I set up my business?
You can be setup in any town you prefer. However, there are two main shipping ports - in Suva and Lautoka which are also the two major cities in Fiji. The International airport is in Nadi. You must locate your business in the appropriate land classification to suite your business operation. The business license is issued from the town or city where your business is located after paying the appropriate fees.
Is there sufficient infrastructure in Fiji for me to conduct my business successfully?
Yes, Fiji is well serviced by telecommunication. Fiji is linked by optic fiber cable to Australia, New Zealand, USA and rest of the world. Mobile phones are also used extensively in Fiji. Fiji Electricity Authority provides power to most parts of Fiji, catering for residential properties, commercial, industrial and tourism industries. The Public works department provides piped water and sewerage facilities to the public.
The main commercial centres of Fiji are linked by road, air or sea. The present road system is well developed with a tar-sealed highway linking Suva and Lautoka along the southern/western sections of the island.
Buses operate scheduled services within and between cities, towns and other populated areas all around Viti Levu and on the other main islands. The Nadi International Airport is used by most international airlines operating on transpacific air routes.
Air Pacific, Fiji’s International airline operates scheduled flights between Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and Hong Kong as well as through other regional countries of the South Pacific namely, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu. There are regular daily flights between Nadi and Suva through Air Pacific’s domestic airline, the Pacific Sun.
Fiji has international shipping services. Suva is the main port and its wharf facilities are capable of handling large cargo and passenger vessels. Lautoka, Levuka and Savusavu are the other ports of entry.
Can I as investor invest in a personal property?
Yes, investors can purchase personal property. However, if the freehold property is larger than one acre than the approval of the Minister for Land must be sought first. You do not need to be a citizen of Fiji to purchase land in Fiji. For the first residential property purchase under one acre you do not need an investor permit but you would need residence and/or Work Permit on the property. You also need to register with Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA) for tax purposes.
Can I as an investor obtain loans from commercial banks in Fiji?
Yes, investors can apply for loans from commercial banks in Fiji. However, the Reserve Bank of Fiji will monitor commercial banks’ lending to different sectors. The approval of loan application depends on a case by case basis.
Do I have to bring into the country the specified level of investment money straight away?
If the paid up equity is below $2.5m, then it must be transferred to the company’s Fiji dollar bank account within one year from the time that Investment Fiji issues a Foreign Investment Registration Certificate (FIRC).
However, if the paid up equity is $2.5m or more, then it must be transferred within eighteen months to the company’s Fiji dollar account.
What are the cost of utilities and labour in Fiji?
Details of cost of utilities (sea, air, roads, telecommunications, electricity, water) and labour are available on this website. Please refer to the main INVESTING IN FIJI section - http://www.ftib.org.fj/pages.cfm/for-investors/key-infrastructure-services/infrastructure.html
Are there regular shipping/air services to Fiji?
Fiji's strategic location in the South Pacific makes it a trading port, which is serviced by international shipping services. Details of the vessels visiting Fiji are available on website link: http://www.ftib.org.fj/pages.cfm/for-investors/key-infrastructure-services/communications.html
Fiji's ports of entry provide Customs, Immigration and Quarantine services. The international airport is based in Nadi and is equipped to handle all types of aircraft up to Boeing 747s. Nadi airport services Air Pacific, Air New Zealand, Air Vanuatu, Korean Air, Pacific Blue, Air Calin, V Australia Airline, Our Airline, Continental Airline, Solomon Airlines, Air Niugini and Norfolk Air provide international services through Nadi Airport. View Communications section on link: http://www.ftib.org.fj/pages.cfm/for-investors/key-infrastructure-services/communications.html
Is it easy to transfer capital and income out of Fiji?
Foreign investors with established businesses in Fiji can readily make payments overseas. Payments for imports and service related charges are made directly at the commercial banks without RBF approval.
All capital account transactions and some current account transactions require approval of the Reserve Bank. These include:
• Transfer of capital and income;
• Maintenance of foreign currency accounts and selected external accounts;
• Issue and transfer of shares involving non-resident shareholders;
• Advance import payments above F$20,000 per invoice;
• Emigration allowance;
• Withdrawal of Investment ;
• Offsetting of Foreign Exchanges against foreign exchange bills payable in respect of merchandise imports over $100,000 per transaction.
• Loan repayment above F$50,000 per amount due
However, applications that need RBF approval are readily given if all the necessary documents are provided.
What is the policy on repatriation of profits?
Capital profit remittance is restricted to F$1m per annum
Dividend or Operating Profit
Dividend profits remittance is restricted to any one calendar year’s profit not yet remitted. Local borrowing to fund profit remittance are restricted.
Foreign Currency Loan
Withdrawal of Investment/Capital by Non-residents
Withdrawal of investment requires approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
Loan repayment above F$50,000 per amount due requires approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji
What other facilities are there for Maximum Delegation Limits?
F$5 million per borrower
Foreign Currency Loans by local banks
Not delegated to commercials banks and requires prior approval of Reserve Bank;
•Foreign currency to be sourced from commercial bank’s own holdings or from external sources and not from the Reserve Bank;
Investments into Fiji by Foreign Investors
Issue and transfer of Shares/ Capital
This requires the approval of the Reserve Bank
Investment by non-residents on South Pacific Stock Exchange and licensed brokers up to F$5.0 million per foreign investor per annum
Requests for amounts in excess of these must be referred to the Reserve Bank of Fiji. Furthermore, the above-delegated limits are subject to various terms and conditions and documentary requirements.
How are individuals taxed?
Resident - tax income from all sources.
Non-residents - tax only on income derived in Fiji.
The determination of residency depends on a number of factors such as:
- period of residency in Fiji;
- whether the person has a permanent home in Fiji
- in the case of a Company, voting rights by residents etc.
A person who migrates and no longer maintains a home in Fiji would be treated as a Non -Resident and subject to tax at the Non-Resident rates of 28%.
What is the Corporate Tax per annum?
Corporate Tax is 17%.
However, companies that are listed in the South Pacific Stock Exchange will be subject to a reduced corporate tax rate of 18.5% in 2010, provided the companies have more than 40% local equity shareholding.
Companies who are based in the Tax Free Region (TFR) are exempted from corporate tax.