To be active as an entrepreneur on Bonaire, you must be in possession of one or more permits or licenses. These permits or licenses are issued by the local government (Public Entity of Bonaire). For every company it is mandatory to have a business permit to be allowed to start the business. In addition, a number of additional permits may be required depending on the activities you are going to develop. The most common permits in this area are: the environmental permit, the license to sell alcoholic beverages and operate a catering or hospitality establishment, the restaurant license and the street trader’s license. You can find the opening hours of the Public Entity of Bonaire for business permits and licenses here.

The license to establish a business

This license is based on the Act pertaining to the establishment of businesses (for the current legislation, click here). Every company that does business on Bonaire must have a license to establish a business. There are 3 requirements that you must comply with if you wish to qualify for a license:

  1. You must have sufficient knowledge of the operations you are going to perform;
  2. You must have sufficient capital for the operations you are going to perform;
  3. Your operations may not conflict with public interest.

The above requirements in the law rarely lead to problems in practice. The activities that are discussed are the activities that are registered in the Commercial Register.

Apply for a license to establish a business

The Chamber of Commerce Bonaire has made agreements with the Public Entity of Bonaire to apply for the permit. This agreement, effective from April 1, 2021, means that an entrepreneur must submit a recent extract from the Chamber of Commerce less than seven (7) working days old with the application. This agreement can shorten the procedure for obtaining the permit from the Public Entity of Bonaire. Another change that applies as of this date is that it is no longer necessary for Chamber of Commerce to register that a company is in possession of a business license.  The reason for this is because the Chamber of Commerce has no obligation under the laws and regulations to keep this data.

Other permits or licenses

In addition to the business permit, you may need additional permits to open your business. This depends on the activities you record in the Commercial Register. Click here for an overview of all available business permits and licenses for Bonaire. The business affairs desk can help you with an inventory of the necessary permits.

Starting as an entrepreneur from the European Netherlands and abroad.

The business affairs desk also assists entrepreneurs who want to start doing business from outside Bonaire. It is often difficult for them to understand the steps to be taken to start a business on the island and what it takes to live on Bonaire. In this document you will find which steps must be followed, which documents are necessary and what the expected lead time is for these steps. If this overview still raises questions, you can always contact bis@kvkbonaire.com.

 

Frequently asked questions about permits and licences

  • How do I know which permits or licences I need to apply for as a business?

    You have registered your business in the Commercial Register. One of the questions you were asked was: “Which activities will you actually perform?” It is an important question because the answer is an indicator of the permits or licences you do (or do not) need to apply for.

    At the Commercial Register, we often see business owners who want to do “everything” so they want to register 50 activities (varying from carpenter to gardener, from car rental company to restaurant/café proprietor). It is all permitted, but there is a downside: you see, you need to apply for licences for very many of those activities if you list them in the Commercial Register: it can be quite expensive and require lots of time and energy to arrange it all.

  • I am going to add an activity; must I apply for a licence for that too?

    That depends on which activity you are talking about. It is very likely that you won’t need an extra licence for giving advice about online marketing. But if you want to open a café or restaurant, you will need a licence to sell alcoholic beverages and to run a catering or hospitality establishment, so seek information from the Business Affairs Desk if you intend to add an activity.

  • I want the Business Affairs Desk to advise me on a permit; how do I get in touch?

    The Business Affairs Desk is a division of the Chamber of Commerce’s Business House (Ondernemershuis). You can visit them on Kaya Amsterdam #23. Moreover, you can always send an email and ask questions at: bedrijvenloket@kvkbonaire.com or ring us on line +599 7175595. Don’t hesitate to visit us; we would be very happy to help and answer your questions, give you specific information and help you fill in the forms if necessary.

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