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Purchase a Property in Seychelles

Purchase a Property in Seychelles

Foreign citizens have many reasons for investing to Seychelles, among which opening companies, working or even buying a house in Seychelles, one of the most appealing offshore destinations in the world.

If setting up an offshore company in Seychelles is not difficult for foreign investors, the same could be said about purchasing a property here. This is why we invite you to read below the main steps related to acquiring a property in Seychelles. You can rely on our lawyers in Seychelles for assistance in buying real estate in this insular state.

Who can buy real estate in Seychelles?

There are several laws which provide for the purchase of properties in Seychelles. Even if there are no specific restrictions imposed on foreign citizens or companies interested in investing in real estate in Seychelles, there are particular cases in which certain formalities must be completed.

Here is what you need to know if you want to buy a property in Seychelles:

  1. foreign citizens and companies can buy properties in Seychelles based on the approval of the Government;
  2. foreign citizens and companies cannot purchase real estate properties owned by the State, but they can lease them on long-term periods of time;
  3. non-resident citizens and companies cannot acquire properties sold under the Seychelles Land Bank Program;
  4. it is also prohibited to purchase land on certain islands in Seychelles, however, long-term leases are available;
  5. the purchase of land or properties in Seychelles by foreigners must be accompanied by an approved development plan obtained with the Government.

It is also important to note that foreign citizens and companies buying properties in Seychelles are subject to a stamp duty which is levied at different rates in accordance with the type of real estate acquisition. If you are interested in company formation in Seychelles followed by the acquisition of a property, our local consultants can help you.

What is the Villas Policy in Seychelles?

The Villas Policy refers to the construction and sale of property designed for touristic purposes by non-Seychellois investors. Therefore, those who want to open a company in Seychelles in this sector must verify the provisions of this law.

The law states that ownership of land can be done solely through leases signed for a period of 99 years on all Seychelles islands, with the exception of Mahe, Praslin, la Digue and Cerf Islands. The law takes into consideration ownership of foreign natural persons and foreign businessmen.

Natural persons can buy a house in Seychelles, while for foreign businessmen, it is necessary to abide by the rules of Companies Act 1972. Therefore, it is necessary to set up a company in Seychelles.

The main steps when buying a property in Seychelles

Seychelles is made of more than 100 islands and the beautiful landscapes make it an ideal location to settle in and the purchase of a property is a better option for those interested in living here a few months per year. Just like in other countries, buying a property in Seychelles implies completing a few steps, among which:

  1. finding a suitable property and verifying if it can be bought;
  2. completing the real estate due diligence procedures;
  3. applying for the permission to buy;
  4. starting the purchase formalities;
  5. registering the property with the Land Register after the purchase is completed.

There are several aspects to consider when buying real estate in Seychelles as a foreigner as an approval from the government is required. This is why, one must be careful when searching for the right property.

Our lawyers in Seychelles are at the service of foreign citizens who want to purchase properties here. They will explain the requirements to be met and can draw up the documents for them to relocate to this country as soon as possible if they desire.

Finding a property to buy in Seychelles

Buying a property in Seychelles implies a thorough search of the market. This is where a real estate agency can help. There is also the possibility of taking various virtual tours once one has found a house or apartment that meets the requirements of the future buyer.

It is worth noting that when abroad the prospective buyer must travel to Seychelles in order to see the property which is why it is recommended to ask for the due diligence report and inquire whether it can be bought by a foreigner or not.

If the property can be found by a real estate agent, for the legal formalities which imply verifications with the Land Register and governmental approval, it is best to ask for the services of a lawyer who can also start the purchase procedures.

Also, the foreigner must apply for the permission to buy in order to see if he or she is eligible for the purchase. The procedure is completed online with the Land Division and the response is received in approximately 3 months. However, our lawyers can help in this regard.

Buying a property in Seychelles as a foreigner also implies opening a local bank account and depositing at least 10% of the property’s sale price (or 20%, if there is a mortgage) as proof of being committed by purchasing the selected real estate.

A certificate will be issued by the bank in this sense. When the transaction will be completed, the money will be withdrawn and converted into Rupees for the payment. If you want to purchase a property in Seychelles and need legal guidance, you can rely on our specialists who can offer more information on the steps you will need to complete.

Documents required when buying a property in Seychelles

The following documents need to be prepared and filed with the Ministry of Land and Habitat in Seychelles when buying a property:

  • a certified copy of foreign citizens’ valid passports accompanied by the contact details of the Seychelles public notary who has notarized the documents;
  • proof of residence of the foreign citizens which can be represented by recent utility bills (not older than 3 months);
  • a clean criminal record (a police clearance certificate) which cannot be more than 6 months older;
  • declarations of the foreign citizens that they are not politically exposed persons and declaration of funds originating from legal sources;
  • proof of funds which must be obtained under the form of a bank deposit certificate;
  • in the case of companies, the business’ Articles of Association and Certificate or Registration of the company are required;
  • declaration of the beneficial owner and details of the company’s representatives must also be submitted.

Our agents in company incorporation in Seychelles offer various legal services, among them being also services related to the preparation of the documents required to purchase properties here. We can also help those interested in company registration in Seychelles.

Property purchase formalities in Seychelles

The formalities when buying a property in Seychelles imply signing a pre-sale contract and payment of an advance in order to ensure the seller it will be bought followed by the completion of the transaction and the remaining amount of money is paid.

It should be noted that foreigners can buy real estate from private sellers who are required to advertise the sale of the property in a local newspaper, or from the government (through a lease), case in which the transaction will be completed through the Land Registrar.

Foreigners can buy already built properties or land on which they will build houses. It is also possible to contract loans in order to purchase real estate in Seychelles as long as the amount of money borrowed represents around 30% of the buyer’s income, otherwise it is possible to be denied the money.

Stamp duties when acquiring a property in Seychelles

One of the most important aspects to consider when buying a property in Seychelles is the payment of the duty stamp which is a transfer tax on the property. The fees are applied to the market value of the property to be acquired. The following rates apply when buying real estate in Seychelles:

  • a 5% stamp duty;
  • an 11% sanction duty when buying a property to be used as a holiday or residential home for foreign citizens, plus the 5% stamp duty;
  • a 1.5% processing fee for the approval application to be sanctioned by the Office of the Principal Secretary within the Ministry of Land;
  • the notary fees are usually around 2% of the value of the sale-purchase agreement.

Therefore, if you want to buy a house in Seychelles, you need to prepare your budget accordingly. Please know that our immigration lawyers in Seychelles can help you in the process of completing any immigration formalities upon your relocation here.

Here are a few relevant aspects of the real estate market in Seychelles:

  • Eden Island is one of the most desired locations in Seychelles for buying properties with prices starting from USD 500,000 (the price is for an apartment, those who want to buy a house in Seychelles in this island must prepare a budget of around USD 1 million);
  • property prices in Seychelles usually register a 10% year-on-year increase;
  • Praslin is the largest island in Seychelles, real estate prices here being 20% higher than in the country’s capital city.

Please know that our team can also provide guidance in opening a bank account in Seychelles, which is a necessary financial tool when buying a property.

The main types of real estate due diligence services in Seychelles

There are two types of properties one can acquire in Seychelles according to their use: for personal and for commercial purposes. No matter the type of property one intends to buy, real estate due diligence should be the first thing to consider. Even if it is optional, a verification of a property can help future real estate owners save money on properties not worth investing in.

Here are the main types of real estate due diligence services we can provide you with in Seychelles and which are only some of our legal services here:

  1. cadastral real estate due diligence which implies the verification of a property title with the Land Register in Seychelles;
  2. administrative real estate due diligence which implies checking a property for any encumbrances;
  3. structural or technical due diligence which implies having a property verified by construction specialists;
  4. commercial due diligence which is available for those buying properties for commercial purposes which require more extensive verifications;
  5. environmental real estate due diligence through which the impact on the environment is assessed.

The last type of real estate due diligence is not mandatory, however, the number of homeowners requesting such verifications has increased substantially in Seychelles. Our local advisors can assist with both residential and commercial real estate due diligence procedures which must be completed with the Seychelles Land Register.

As mentioned above, if you want to invest by setting up an offshore company in Seychelles, we can also assist with that.

For this, technical real estate due diligence is available alongside the Land Register verification. If you are interested in Seychelles company formation, our local specialists are at your disposal.

As mentioned above, a real estate due diligence report is not mandatory, being the future owner’s choice to have a property verified. However, a buyer should first consider the investment to be made in a property is quite significant and implies a rather large amount of money which is why making sure the property is encumbrances and litigation-free should be important.

Most of the times, a Land Register verification is sufficient to know if a property is worth purchased or not, while in the case of commercial real estate due diligence, foreign investors should order more extensive reports. If you decide for real estate due diligence in Seychelles, our lawyers are at your disposal.

Land Register verification of a property in Seychelles

The real estate due diligence must start with the Land Register which holds information on all types of properties in Seychelles. The information which can be found with the Land Register refers to the previous owners of the property, if there are any encumbrances, such as unpaid mortgages on the real estate to be bought, and even if there are any litigations over the property.

This information is very important when deciding to buy a property in Seychelles, as it can help the buyer determine if the process will go easy or not. Any unpaid taxes or other burdens on a property will also show up in the real estate due diligence report. Our lawyers in Seychelles can have a property verified with the Land Register prior to the arrival of the buyer.

Our company registration consultants in Seychelles can help foreign investors interested in setting up companies here find specialists who can assess a construction to be used for commercial purposes, if the investor wants to buy an existing building instead of a new construction.

Foreign companies or investors interested in purchasing commercial properties in Seychelles must know that the government only leases land for such activities, therefore buying is not permitted from state-owned land. If you are interested in commercial real estate for setting up operations in Seychelles, you can rely on our company formation specialists for lease procedures.

Lease state land in Seychelles

Those who want to buy land in Seychelles must know that the possibility to buy land is also restricted in the case of foreign individuals, who can buy properties (such as houses) located on a piece of land only in certain circumstances. Currently, the law states that an individual can buy a house in Seychelles as long as the property is privately owned.

According to the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB), foreigners have access to state land only through leases. Concerning this, the following are available:

  • the lease can be signed for a period of 60 to 99 years (this depends on the nature of the investment project and its scale);
  • the government allows the lease of state land for 3 types of activities, namely commercial, industrial and for tourism;
  • the lease for the first 2 types of activities (commercial and industrial) cost minimum SCR 30 to maximum SCR 300 per square meter;
  • when the lease is signed, foreign businessmen must pay the value of a 1 year rent.

The rent for the lease must be paid 2 times a year, and the payment is made with the Ministry of Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport (MHILT). Investors must know that the rent will be reviewed every 5 years, to adjust it to the market value.

Property lease in Seychelles

Foreign businessmen can buy a property in Seychelles if the said property is privately owned. However, not all investors prefer this option, due to budget restrictions or their investment plans. Therefore, there is the possibility to a lease a property, which can be an ideal way to start a Seychelles IBC and invest here for few years.

This procedure is also done through SIB, as investors must submit their investment project to the representatives of the institution, which must provide an authorization for it. The law states that a foreign company interested in renting offices or another type of commercial space does not need the approval of the government, but the approval of SIB is required.

This right is granted under the rules of the Immovable Property (Transfer Action) Act. However, the approval of the government is required when the rental refers to a building or to a land plot designated for commercial/industrial purposes, even in the case in which the said properties are privately held.

Buying real estate on Eden Island in Seychelles

Eden Island is one of the most beautiful Seychellois islands and buying a property here as a foreigner comes with several advantages. The first one is the one-time purchase fee of 17.5% of the property’s value.

It is also possible to obtain a 5-year residence permit by buying a property in Seychelles on this island. The applicant can relocate here with family members and for each minor child aged below 18, and it is important to know that the residence permit can be renewed.

Seychelles is one of the most appealing countries to own a property in the Indian Ocean. Foreign citizens can obtain permanent residency in Seychelles by purchasing a property here against a security of SCR 2 million.

We also invite you to address us if you need assistance on the registration of a Seychelles offshore company or any other matter concerning Seychelles offshore, such as laws, taxes, reporting obligations.

If you are interested in buying a property in Seychelles and need assistance in preparing the documents, please contact us. Although it is not possible to buy land in Seychelles, we can help you in the formalities of leasing a piece of land (for a period of maximum 99 years), therefore, do not hesitate to address us.