On Bonaire, if you want to go into business, you will need one or more permits or licences. Those permits are issued either by the Local Government (OLB) or the Central Government. Every entrepreneur must have a licence to establish a business (vestigingsvergunning) before the business may open its doors to the general public. Moreover, you might need several additional permits, depending on the operations listed in the Commercial Register. Common permits and licences are: the environmental permit (milieuvergunning), the licence to sell alcoholic beverages and operate a catering or hospitality establishment (Drank- en HORECAvergunning), the restaurant licence (restaurantvergunning) and the street trader’s licence (ventvergunning).
The licence to establish a business (vestigingsvergunning)
This licence is based on the Act pertaining to the establishment of businesses (Wet vestiging bedrijven BES) (for the current legislation, click here). Every company that does business on Bonaire must have a licence to establish a business. There are 3 requirements, in all, that you must comply with if you wish to qualify for a licence:
- You must have sufficient knowledge of the operations you are going to perform.
- You must have sufficient capital for the operations you are going to perform.
- Your operations may not conflict with public interest.
These rather subjective requirements are set by law but, in reality, they rarely lead to problems. The operations we mentioned are the activities listed in the Commercial Register.
More information about the exact steps and conditions needed for obtaining a licence to establish a business are available in this White Paper (link to white paper on Licence to establish a business). (will follow soon)
Other permits and licences
You may need, in addition to the licence to establish a business, more permits and licences before you can start a business. It depends on the activities you have recorded in the Commercial Register. Drop by the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Affairs Desk to find out exactly what you need to apply for. We would be only too happy to help!