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Welcome to The St.Lucia Business Online Brochure. An informative guide to starting a business in St.Lucia. We also provide information on Buying property in St.Lucia, work-permits, Taxes and Insurance.

The St.Lucian Government provides generous incentives for foreign and local investment in St.Lucia. With a stable Government and economy, St.Lucia is one of the most progressive of the Caribbean Islands.

The Minister for Commerce expressed that Saint Lucia’s geographic location is ideal for distributive trade throughout the sub region, and boasted of the country's extensive and well connected road infrastructure, its two airports, modern telecommunications systems and reliable water supplies. "Saint Lucia presents an opportunity for any well intentioned entrepreneur or investor to engage in meaningful production successfully," Minister Hippolyte said. "What makes us unique is a combination of natural attributes and dedicated work by many generations before us who have shaped this country into a land where free enterprise and dedication produce generous rewards.” The Minister also commented, “We have natural deep water harbours; we are located three hours from the southern United States; and we have year round tropical weather. Consequently, you do not suffer a loss of productivity associated with harsh winters, and more than anything else our people are intelligent and hard working.”

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Incorporating/registering the business

The incorporation and registration of a company must be done through the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property (ROCIP). It is highly recommended that the process be done through an attorney registered and operating in Saint Lucia. There are official forms to be completed during the process. The following procedures, which are in accordance with the Companies Act of Saint Lucia, apply:

A foreign investor seeking to start up a business in Saint Lucia must:

1. Obtain approval for the name of business –Request for Name Search Business Name Search must be submitted to be approved by the Registrar.
On approval, the Application for Registration and Statutory Declaration must be submitted to the Registrar, along with the approved Name Search form. An EC $2.50 stamp is required for the declaration.
A prescribed fee of EC $125.00 is to be paid to the Registrar.

2. Prepare the incorporation documents1.
An attorney prepares the articles of incorporation documents,
which include:
i. The Articles of Incorporation.
ii. The Notice of Directors.
iii. The Notice of Address of Registered Office.

Bylaws are not essential for forming the company but are highly recommended. Bylaws can be submitted and filed after incorporation.
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3. Register with the Commercial Registry.

When registering the company with the commercial registry, the attorney pays an administrative fee of EC $850.00 when presenting the documents for registration.
The registry issues a certificate of incorporation and the registration process is finalized.

An external (foreign) company seeking to establish in Saint Lucia must:

1. Obtain approval for the name of business –Request for Name Search
Business name search must be submitted to be approved by the Registrar.
On approval, the Application for Registration and Statutory Declaration must be submitted to the Registrar, along with the approved Name Search form. An EC $2.50 stamp is required for the declaration.
A prescribed fee of EC $125.00 is to be paid to the Registrar.

2. On approval, the following documents must be submitted;
Application for Registration of External Company (Form 21)
Copy of Corporate Instruments of the Company
Statutory Declaration by a director of the company verifying the particulars in the statement.
Statutory Declaration by an Attorney-at-Law
Power of Attorney
Consent to act as Attorney

NB: An EC $2.50 stamp is required for each declaration.

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3. Upon submission and approval, a Certificate of Registration is issued after a prescribed fee of EC $3,125.00 is paid to the Registrar.

A company seal is not required for incorporation; however company seals may be required for registering certain documents e.g. at the Land registry. A company can obtain a rubber-stamp seal locally in seven (7) days. If a more formal embossed seal is required, it can be sourced overseas, usually within ten (10) working days.

Obtain a Tax Payer Identification Number

A Tax Payer Identification Number is obtained and a registration form must be completed and submitted to the Inland Revenue Department.
The completed registration form must be signed by a director and the company secretary. It must accompany the certificate of incorporation with a list of employees, their National Insurance numbers and dates of employment with the company.

Register as an Employer with the National Insurance Corporation (NIC)

The National Insurance Corporation is similar to Social Security in the United States. Every employer and his employees must be registered with the NIC office. Contributions to the NIC total ten percent (10%) of wages, five percent (5%) to be paid by the employee and 5% by the employer.
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In the event of absence from work due to illness, maternity and accident, the NIC pays sixty (65%) of the employee’s wages over a period of three (3) months.

Other areas covered by the NIC include:
a. Invalidity Benefit
b. Sickness Benefit
c. Survivors Pension
d. Retirement Benefit
e. Funeral Grants
f. Employment Injury Benefit
g. Maternity Benefit/Grants
h. Disablement Benefits
i. Medical expense

Who should register?

Individuals or companies, where at least one person is employed either part-time or full-time, must register with the National Insurance Corporation within seven (7) days of starting the business.

How to register?

1. An application for registration of the Business Name as an employer must be supported by the Statement of Particulars and Certificate of Registration of the business name.
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2. An application for registration of a company as an employer must be supported by the Certificate of Incorporation, Notice of Directors and Notice of Registered Office.

A registration number will be issued.
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Trade License

All non CARICOM individuals and companies, intending to conduct business in Saint Lucia, and own more than 49% of the company’s shares, are required to have a Trade License. The Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs issues Trade Licenses.

The procedure for obtaining a Trade License is as follows:-
1. Three copies of the Trade License Application Form can be obtained from the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs or Invest Saint Lucia.
2. The application form must be completed and returned to the Ministry of Commerce or Invest Saint Lucia.
3. The application is considered by the Trade License Advisory Board.
The Board makes recommendations to the Minister, who then grants the final approval.
4. The Application takes approximately 6-8 weeks (from the date submitted) to process. The license is issued annually and expires on 31st December of the year in which it is granted.
A fee of EC $1,000 is payable for a Trade License. Click here for a copy of the Trade License application form.
Where the license is to be held by a person or company involved in selling goods where average stock does not exceed EC$10,000, the fee is EC $500.00.
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Work Permits

Under the Foreign National and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Regulation, anyone outside of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) wanting to conduct business or be gainfully employed in Saint Lucia must apply for a work permit. Applications can be obtained from the Labour Department of the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour.

Applying for a work permit in Saint Lucia

1. Collect a completed ‘A’ Form from the Work Permit Officer at the Department of Labour.

Pay a non-refundable fee of (EC $100.00) to the Accountant General at the Government Treasury located in Castries.

i. The completed ‘A’ form must be presented at the time the payment is made.

The treasury receipt which you will receive is required and is addressed to the Work Permit Officer, who will then issue the Work Permit Application.

2. Submit the Work Permit application form.
Take the Treasury receipt back to the Work Permit Officer at the Department of Labour who will then provide you with a Work Permit application form.
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Complete the Work Permit application form and ensure that the following documents are attached before it is submitted to the Work Permit Officer:

i. A Police record from the country where the applicant last
ii. Certified documentary proof of qualifications.
iii. Trade Licence (where applicable).
iv. Copies of advertisements for the posts.
v. Evidence that income tax has been paid.
vi. Two (2) passport size photograph.
vii. Letter From Employer (Former or Current)

3. Collection of Approved Work Permits.

The Work permit officer will notify you of the status of your application. If approval is granted, a fee (based on your current nationality) must be paid to the Government Treasury (see below). Present the Treasury Receipt to the Work Permit Officer who will then present the applicant with the approved work permit.

Completed “A” Forms to facilitate payment of the appropriate Work Permit fee into the Treasury are sent to the applicant. The fees are based on the following criteria.
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Caribbean Commonwealth Nationals EC $2000.00 for each desired year of employment.
Other Commonwealth Nationals EC $7500.00 for each desired year of employment.
Other non-nationals EC $7500.00 for each desired year of employment.
Citizens or persons belonging toany Country at (a), (b) and (c) above for a period not exceeding one month for which the permit is valid EC $400.00
Unskilled persons under categories (a), (b) and (c) above for every period of 12 months or part thereof for which the permit is valid EC $200.00
Commercial sales personnel/professionals per entry EC $300.00

This procedure is repeated every year until the applicant becomes a citizen of Saint Lucia. A person that has gained resident status is NOT EXEMPT from a Work Permit and is required to apply according to the above procedures. All applications should be submitted to the Work Permit Officer at least two (2) months prior to the date which you propose or plan to be employed. While the application is in process, the applicant should NOT engage in any kind of employment.
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The Government of Saint Lucia provides incentives to encourage investment in approved products/sectors by providing c such as relief from custom duties on the importation of raw materials, plant, machinery and equipment to be utilised in the business activity and may also grant tax holidays. There is also unrestricted repatriation of profits and carry forward of losses for up to two years.

Fiscal Incentives

To qualify for fiscal incentives offered by the Government of Saint Lucia, an enterprise must meet the following criteria:

i. The enterprise must be incorporated and registered in St Lucia.
ii. The enterprise must contribute to the economic development of St Lucia.
iii. The country’s human and natural resources must be utilized.
iv. The enterprise must train local personnel and upgrade its plant through
technological transfer.
v. The enterprise must form linkages with other economic sectors.
vi. The enterprise must contribute to earnings in foreign exchange.

The Government of Saint Lucia offers a range of tax and non-tax incentives to the under the incentive regime. Approval of an enterprise for these incentives is granted by Cabinet upon application, unless otherwise specified.
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Incentives Offered:

Tax Holiday up to a maximum of fifteen years.
Waiver of Import Duty on imported plant, machinery and equipment.
Waiver of Import Duty on imported raw and packaging materials.
Carry forward of losses.
Unrestricted repatriation of Profits and Capital.

Please note that these incentives are not specific to any one industry and are a general description of what is available. For more information about the specific incentives that your business may be eligible for, please contact Invest Saint Lucia.

Tourism Incentives

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Tourism Incentives Act Tourism Stimulus and Investment Act(Until March 31, 2020) Special Development Areas Act(Heritage and development inducing tourism products)
Exemption for up to 15 years.
Exemption on building materials, articles and equipment.
Limited Liability
Company entitled to distribute profits as capital free of tax 2
years after the end of the tax holiday.
Exemption for up to 25 years.
Exemption for interest received during development.
Exemption on imports including fixtures and fittings.
Exemption on alternative energy and energy saving equipment.
No VAT on building materials and locally produced art and craft.
No Corporate tax during development phase.
No Property tax and Alien Landholding License fee during development.
-Exemption of stamp duty and vendors tax on transfer or sale of
immovable property on initial transfer.
-Percentage tax credit for financial institutions based on the quantum of investment.
Exemption for interest received during development.
Exemption on inputs of construction of new building or renovation or refurbishment of existing buildings.
Stamp Duty on construction inputs & initial purchase of property.
No Land and house tax
No Alien Landholding
License fee
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Incentives for Special Development Areas

The Special Development Areas Act is aimed at promoting balanced spatial and economic development of the island. The legislation provides incentives to investors/developers for the establishment of certain types of businesses in specially designated areas that are endowed with the necessary infrastructure and amenities for business development. The special development areas are Vieux-Fort, Anse La Raye, Soufriere, Canaries, Micoud, Cul de Sac Valley, and Choc Estate.

Individuals and/or Companies can obtain the following concessions on:

Import duty on inputs for the construction of new buildings and the renovation or refurbishment of existing buildings.

Land and house tax.

Lower corporate taxes.

Stamp duty payable by vendors and purchasers on the initial purchase or property, whether nationals or non nationals.

Aliens Landholding licence fee.
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The following are the types of businesses, which qualify for concessions:

Conference Centres.
Residential Complexes.
Commercial or Industrial Buildings, including Office Complexes.
Other facilities directed towards the improvement or expansion of services to the tourism sector.
Water based activities.
Tourism projects highlighting the heritage and natural environment of Saint Lucia.
Arts and cultural investments.
Agricultural-based activities.
Fisheries-based activities.

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Freezone Benefits

The incentives that a company may qualify for based on its location operating within the Free Zone include:
Exemption from custom duties, taxes and related charges on all classes of goods entering the Freezone for commercial or operating purposes.
No restriction or taxes on foreign exchange transactions.
No taxes on dividends for the first 20 years of operation.
No work permits fees for management personnel of the Freezone businesses.
No import or export licenses.
No price control.
No company income tax for the first five years, thereafter very limited tax range.


All residents of Saint Lucia, including the self employed, corporations, and partnerships (regardless of profitability) are required to file an income tax return with the Inland Revenue Department of Saint Lucia (IRD).

Corporate Tax Rates

Corporation Tax 30%
Withholding tax 25% (Non-CARICOM Nationals)
Withholding tax 15% (CARICOM Nationals)
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How to register with the IRD

1. Complete the registration form with the signature of a director or company secretary. The application should include a list of all the company’s employees with their NIC numbers and date of employment.
2. An Employee Declaration Form must be submitted to IRD within 14 days of the commencement of the employees’ employment to deduct the tax from employees’ earnings. The tax deduction tables provided by the IRD must be used by the employer to identify how much tax should be deducted from the workers’ pay based on their tax code (P.A.Y.E)
3. Complete the Non-individual Enterprise registration form
4. Submit both forms and their supporting documentation to the Tax Roll Unit at the IRD
5. The IRD will then issue a Tax Account Number. The registration form for a partnership should be signed by a partner and must be submitted along with:

i. Certificate of registration for the partnership;
ii. National insurance number for each partner

Payment of taxes
1. Taxes must be paid before March 25, June 25 and September 25 each income year. The amount to be paid at these respective times should be one third (1/3) of the estimated tax for the year.
Every corporation (non-profit or for profit), partnership and individual that has been granted exemptions on tax under the fiscal incentive regime must file a tax return with the local IRD.
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Individual tax rates

Taxable Threshold or Personal Allowance: EC$ 18,000
First $10,000 thereafter – 10%
Next $10,000 -15%
ON THE NEXT $10,000 – 20%

How to register

1. The completed registration form must be submitted to the IRD with a suitable form of ID e.g. passport, drivers license, national ID or National insurance company card. 2. The self-employed must register according to the normal process for an individual as well as submit a certification of registration for their business.

Payment of taxes

Individual tax returns are due on March 31st each year. Tax return forms can be found at the offices of the IRD or on their website at www.ird.gov.lc
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Property Tax

All property owners must declare any property that they own to the IRD within 30 days of becoming the owner. The following information should be provided at that time:

1. The description, Block and Parcel number and area of the property.
2. The mailing address and a contact number of the owner or representative.
3. In the event that additions are made to a property, the owner should inform the Department of the change.

Payment of tax
The taxes are due within 30 days of the date on which the values of the property was determined by the IRD through a routine assessment.

Value Added Tax (Effective October 1st, 2012)
The Value Added Tax (VAT is charged when a taxable good or service is sold or provided regularly whether or not for profit. Prices of all goods and services should be listed inclusive of VAT.

VAT rates
Standard -15%

Reduced – 10% on goods and services provided by hotels and other providers in the tourism sector.
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Zero-rated - items taxed at 0%. For more information on these items please visit the VAT implementation office website at www.vat.ird.gov.lc.
Electricity and water are zero-rated.

Exempt – the gods and services that are exempt from VAT cannot be charged VAT. (Final consumers do not pay VAT, VAT registered taxpayers cannot claim VAT on their purchases).

Persons and businesses that perform taxable activities are required to register and charge the VAT if they meet the required threshold. Only those businesses that are registered for VAT with the IRD can charge VAT.

The threshold

Businesses trading in taxable supplies must register within ten working days (10) with the IRD if their taxable supplies or sales (goods and services):

Meet or exceed EC$180,000 in the previous twelve months or less; or

It is reasonably expected to meet or exceed EC $180,000 at the beginning of any period of three hundred and sixty five days, and

If in the first three months of trading their taxable supplies exceed EC
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How to register

1. Complete and submit the registration forms to the VAT Unit or the IRD in Castries. Forms are available from the VAT Unit or the IRD.
2. Sole traders - a copy of the Business Names’ Certificate should be
3. For a partnership, a copy of the Business Names’ Certificate should be forwarded to the Department
4. For a company, copies of the complete incorporation documents of when the company was incorporated need to be submitted.
5. Where there is a joint venture agreement, a copy of the joint venture agreement must be supplied.
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Banking and Finance

Special request has to be made to the Government for permission to operate a US Dollar account.

Saint Lucia is also home to major international banks providing financial supports
services. Additional information on these banks can be obtained here from the Bankers Association of St. Lucia Inc.

Customs Procedures

1. Certain products being imported in St Lucia require licenses, which are obtainable from the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs.

2. Duty free importation of raw materials, equipment, machinery and spare parts is available under the incentive regime for the development of industry.

3. Goods can be shipped either by air or sea freight. Shipping companies have allocated costs per kilogram.
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Alien’s Landholding License

All non-nationals are required to obtain an Aliens Landholding License, in order to purchase property in St Lucia. The license is obtained from the Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal, and must be registered by a local solicitor.

1. The Applicant's lawyer writes to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Development Housing and Urban Renewal to request an Alien's Landholding License. The application is forwarded to the Survey Department (Chief Surveyor) of the Ministry, which prepares a memorandum to the Cabinet of Ministers for approval.

2. Upon approval from Cabinet, the lawyer submits a sworn declaration, and the draft license to the Attorney General's Office for vetting. If there are no amendments or discrepancies, the draft license is returned to the lawyer.

3. The lawyer puts the license on approved paper and re-submits, along with a sworn declaration and other relevant information, to the Attorney General's Office, which then forwards it to the Prime Minister's Office for final approval and signature.

4. The official license is submitted to the Survey Department, where it is collected by the lawyer for onward submission to the Applicant.

Lawyers Charges: 3 - 5% of the cost of the property.
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Government Charges - a 7.5% tax on the cost of the property (One quarter of which must be paid in advance) and is non-refundable whether or not the license is issued. The balance is payable upon receipt of the license.
NB: The Alien’s Landholding License is permanent, and does not require renewal.

Steps in Buying Land

The Purchaser

1. Obtains a Letter of Offer from the vendor [the person wishing to sell the land]
2. Obtain a copy land register to ensure:

1. That the vendor has absolute title to the land.
2. That the amount of land, which is being offered, corresponds with the official records.
3. That no claims exist on the property.
By Way of a Loan
3. Bring in the information to the loans officer at a bank to support an application for a loan.

The Bank
4. If/when the loan is granted, the bank writes a letter to the purchaser’s lawyer indicating the terms and conditions which must be fulfilled before the loan is disbursed. The bank will write the check to the lawyer for the amount of the land.
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The Lawyer
5. Checks all registries to ensure that there are no outstanding claims against the property or the vendor.
6. Prepares the Deed of Sale.
7. Prepares the Hypothecary Obligation (if the property is to be used as security
for the loan).
8. Ensures that there are no outstanding taxes, dues and unregistered liens which could nullify the sale.
9. Pays all required duties and charges on the sale of land to the Inland Revenue Department.
10. Coordinates the sale transaction – ensuring that the vendor, on receipt of the
money, signs the Deed of Sale.
11. Submits the Hypothecary Obligation to the Bank for signature (if the property
is to be used as security for the loan).
12. Registers the signed Deed of Sale and (if necessary), the Hypothecary Obligation (signed).
13. Delivers copies of the registered Deed of Sale to the purchaser and the Hypothecary Obligation to the Bank.

Other Permits

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Land Development

An investor, who is desirous of developing land, must apply for permission from the Planning Department of the Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal. The application must be made in triplicate and should be accompanied by maps and plans. Failure by the authorities to give a decision for development approval within ninety (90) days may be deemed a refusal. The applicant however, has the right to appeal.

Environmental Impact Assessment

In cases where the proposed development may have environmental implications, the Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal, would authorize an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be conducted, the results of which would determine approval.

Health and Safety Permit

In the case of food operations, a permit is required from the Division of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations.
These permits are granted on an annual basis.
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Migrating to Saint Lucia

Upon entering the country, a visitor is given a maximum of 6 weeks to remain on island. Prior to the expiration of this deadline and/or in the event the visitor plans
to stay longer, a further extension may be granted after an application is made to the Immigration Department. The extension granted will be discretionary, based on responses given in an interview conducted by an Immigration Officer.

Citizenship or Permanent Residence

Citizenship or permanent residence may be applied for, through the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security, if a non-national is desirous of becoming a citizen or a permanent resident of Saint Lucia, after having resided in Saint Lucia

(1) one to three (3) years, temporary residency
(5) five years, in the case of permanent residence, or
(7) seven years for citizenship.

Documents to be submitted include:

1. A completed application on prescribed form.
2. A bank statement (may be requested)
3. A police certificate of character.
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4. An original birth certificate.
5. Four (4) passport size photographs with two (2) certified by a Justice of
the Peace or local Lawyer.
6. A reference letter from a reputable person from the country of origin.
7. A letter stating date of arrival, purpose of visit, and the activities to be engaged in.
8. Clearance letter from the Inland Revenue Department.

N.B The Minister of Home Affairs and National Security may request additional documents and information that is deemed necessary to process your application.

Type of Citizenship Cost in Eastern Caribbean Dollars
Temporary Residency $1,050.00
Permanent Residency $2,550.00
Citizenship (CARICOM) $2,050.00
Citizenship (Commonwealth) $3,050.00
Citizenship (Non-CARICOM & Non Commonwealth) $5,050.00
Replacement certificate $50.00
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Visitor Visa Requirements for Saint Lucia

Foreigners who intend to visit Saint Lucia for business, pleasure or study are required to have a valid passport from their country as well as to obtain a Saint
Lucian visa. The Immigration Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security is responsible for the issuance of Saint Lucian Visas.

Immigration Department, Visa Office
Telephone: (758) 456 3825 (758) 456 3825
Facsimile: (758) 456 3823
Email: immigration@rslpf.com

Saint Lucian Visas may also be obtained through the various Saint Lucian missions abroad (see listing below). Visa fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice.

Classes of Visas

Single entry:
Valid for three months
Cost EC $125.00
Processing of application takes minimum 5 working days, once the application is complete

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Multiple entries:
Ideal for business persons and students
Valid for up to one year
Cost EC $190.00
Processing of application takes minimum 5 working days, once the application is complete

Visa Application Requirement

Completed application form
Two certified passport size photographs
A valid passport for up to six months
A return ticket to port of origin
Copy of travel itinerary
Proof of hotel/private accommodation
Letter of invitation (if invited by friend or relative) or Admission letter (if student)
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Extending your stay

An extension may be requested by application to the Immigration department.
The extension granted is discretionary based on the provision of required documents and responses given in an interview conducted by an Immigration Officer. The operating hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 12 noon and 1:30pm to 3:00pm.

Requirement for Extension of Stay:
Return ticket
One passport size photo
Valid passport
Receipt of payment or Host person

Please note the following:

Cost EC$200.00 for each 30 day extension.
The request for an extension should be made to the immigration office prior to the expiration of time allowed in Saint Lucia.
Decisions are made at the time of the interview.
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Head Office Contact:
(758) 720-1130

Reduit Orchard,
Rodney Bay.
PO : GMS, 907 , Vieux Fort
St.Lucia, W.I
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