Foreign Direct Investment

Why Invest in the Cook Islands

Foreign investment is the investing of capital by foreigners in local economies. At Business Trade Investment Board (BTIB), we are here to register your foreign interest in a company. This includes shareholding interests, control of shares and your involvement in the management and control of the business.

So, if you interested in starting or owning a business in the Cook Islands, you will need to register with BTIB. The BTIB Board will consider your application at our monthly Board sittings and grant the necessary approval to carry on business. Applications for registration are available on this website.


If you are a current business owner in the Cook Islands and would like to sell your business to a non-Cook Islander, you will need to do the following:

  • Place an advertisement in 2 local newspapers for 3 months (1 placement per week, in two separate prints).  Advertisement must include a description of business for sale, sale price and contact details.
  • Online advertising will be considered.
    Keep a record of all local and foreign expressions of interest.
    Retain proof of advertisement (newspaper cutting, invoices or receipts).

Note: Advertising in local newsprints (Cook Islands News and Cook Islands Herald) is compulsory

How to Register Your Foreign Interest

Complete the Foreign Investment applciation form AF1001A and Due Diligence form AF1001B.

  1. Provide all supporting documents listed in the Foreign Enterprise Checklist.
  2. Lodge the completed application together with a fee of NZD$750.00 with our office in Avarua, Rarotonga by the 7th of each month.
  3. BTIB will communicate with you once the application is received.
  4. Your application will take approximately 3 weeks to process.
  5. Your application is decided by a Board of 5 Directors that sits at the end of each month.

The outcome of your application will be conveyed immediately after the meeting.

 If you are approved other Government agencies are also advised in order to facilitate your entry to carry on business in the Cook Islands. These include the Immigration Department for entry and work permits (visa), the Registrar of Companies for the registration of the company, the Management Revenue Division for tax registration, and the appropriate line Ministry responsible for the business sector you are in.

If your application is declined by the Board you have 21 days from the date of that decision to appeal to the Minister responsible for the BTIB.

Note: BTIB offer an express service for a fee of NZD$850.00 where the outcome of your application will be conveyed to you within 5 working days.  Please visit our download link page to access all Application Forms via the Forms & Application Section.  If you have any questions regarding our Registration process, please email our Foreign Investment team on [email protected].  Call our office on +682 24296.