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Forming a company in South America

Set up a company with Confidus Solutions in any South American country, and we will offer you our highly valued expertise. The fourth-largest continent in the world by surface area, South America consists of 12 sovereign countries and several dependencies.

As a global entrepreneur, make sure you choose the right corporate structure with the advice of Confidus Solutions. Contact with us now to proceed with incorporating your business in South America.

List of countries and territories

The most developed countries by GDP per capita (PPP based) are Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay.

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For incorporation purposes, we would advise you to choose one of the following:

Legal structure and advice

At any point in the lifetime of a business, the need might arise for a company registered in South America, especially if your business is concerned with the petroleum or gold, silver, copper, iron ore or tin mining industries. Nonetheless, companies in any industry might wish to take advantage of our company formation services.

Before registering a company, you must have a clear picture of the advantages and disadvantages of each of the numerous options in South America and nearby islands such as Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao or Trinidad and Tobago, so you can make an informed decision as to where you wish to establish your company.

Confidus Solutions is here to provide you with the best financial advice, a neat corporate structure offering full privacy and tax compliance and incisive legal advice on jurisdictions within the South American continent.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are an entrepreneur or corporation working on plans for business expansion.

Company types

The sociedad de garantia reciproca and sociedad anónima are frequently encountered company types throughout South America. All South American countries are independent from each other, which makes it difficult to offer specific guidelines for registering a company. Please bear in mind that if you need to incorporate a company in Brazil, make sure you contact us first. There are fundamental differences between private (fundação privada) and public (fundação pública) entities in Brazil.

However, if you are looking for an easy-to-follow tutorial on the major legal structures for companies in South America, please continue reading, as there are a number of factors that may present significant challenges and risks. Confidus Solutions’ top-choice suggestions are Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.


A view in ArgentinaIn Argentina, you can incorporate an S.R.L., an S.C.S., an S.C.p.A., an Soc.Col. or one of several other legal entities. S.R.L. in Spanish stands for sociedad de responsabilidad limitada, which closely resembles the United Kingdom’s Limited Company (Ltd) or the US limited liability company. The S.C.S., or sociedad en comandita simple, is almost identical to a limited partnership. S.C.p.A. stands for “sociedad en comandita por acciones” and is a limited partnership with shares, whereas a Soc.Col. or sociedad colectiva is general partnership similar to those found in the United States of America. Argentina also has several other legal entities that we have not listed here.


A view in BrazilIn Brazil, you can incorporate an Ltda, an S.A., a sociedade simples or one of several other types of legal entities. Ltda in Portuguese stands for sociedade limitada, which is similar to a limited company (Ltd) in the United Kingdom. An S.A. is a sociedade anônima which is equivalent to a UK plc. Finally, the sociedade simples is exactly the same as a PLLC. Brazil also has a number of other legal entities not listed here. Contact us if you need help deciding on the most suitable company type for your corporate needs.


A view in ChileIn Chile, the options are SpA, LTDA. or few other company types. SpA in Spanish stands for sociedad por acciones, which is essentially a limited partnership with shares. LTDA. stands for sociedad de responsabilidad limitada and is equivalent to the United Kingdom’s limited company (Ltd). More and more business leaders are shifting their focus from China to Chile — a country that attracts a substantial amount of foreign investment. This is mainly due to its growing economy and dynamic business regulations. Incorporating a company in Chile can bring many benefits.


A view in ColombiaIn Colombia, the available company types are S.A., S.A.S. and Ltda. S.A. in Spanish stands for sociedad anónima which is quite close to a plc in the United Kingdom or a corporation in the United States. S.A.S. stands for sociedad por acciones simplificada, which is a similar concept to the French S.A.S. (societé par actions simplifiée). Finally, an Ltda in Colombia is a sociedad de responsabilidad limitada, equivalent to the idea of a limited company (Ltd) in the United Kingdom or an LLC in the United States.


A view in EcuadorIn Ecuador, you can incorporate a C.A., a Cía, an Ltda or an E.P., among other options. A C.A. in Spanish is a compañía anónima; A Cía Ltda is a compañía limitada, which means limited liability company; while an E.P. is an empresa pública.


A view in PeruPeru, among many other options, offers the chance to register an S.A.A. (sociedad anónima abierta in Spanish). This is a specific type of legal entity that must meet one or more conditions, set out in Article 249 of the General Corporation Law. Remember, an S.A.A. is audited by the Comisión Nacional Supervisora de Empresas y Valores (CONASEV). Forming a company in Peru gives you a ready-made solution for doing business all over South America, legitimately.

Company formation procedure

As you will have gathered, choosing the right jurisdiction and business type within the framework of a wider corporate structure is not an easy task, but don’t worry — Confidus Solutions is here to help.

Each of the above-mentioned countries and dependencies has its own systems, and so it would be a difficult and lengthy task to devise general guidelines for company registration. However, as a whole, company registration is a fairly uniform process throughout South America.

Choosing a jurisdiction

The location in which you establish your company (commonly known as its legal address) is quite an important decision, which should be taken before moving on to the next step. Confidus Solutions can provide you with extensive advice regarding trading laws, registration procedures and fees. We can also provide a legal address for your virtual office.

Ask us about due diligence once you have chosen the country in which you wish to establish or expand your business.

Choosing a company name

The company name is a key decision when preparing to form a company. In some states, there is a preliminary filing requirement to register a business name. Due diligence can give you the answers you require. Be aware also that some countries charge a government processing fee for preliminary filing for a business name.

This process ensures that the name you have selected is not in use by any other registered entity.

Company registration

Once all the preparation steps are complete, we can move forward with registering the company with the government agency responsible for commercial activity within that country. You will need several essential documents for this, including the company’s articles of association, which lists the name, ownership details, shareholder details and administrative structure of the business entity. The articles of association (a.k.a. articles of incorporation) is a legal document that requires professional legal assistance to draft. Confidus Solutions’ team of lawyers will help here as well. In some jurisdictions, these documents must be reviewed by a notary public before they are signed.

Tax compliance

Does your company provide tangible goods or services? If so, you will need to set up an extensive structure in order to process payments, circulate funds within the corporation and submit annual tax returns to the government. Usually, an income tax is imposed by the government, and so your company must complete the relevant tax registration process and obtain a tax number, which is required by law. In most countries, registering for a tax number is a free or low-cost process.

Licences and permits

Additional licences might be needed if your company is involved in in one of a number of specific industries that are regulated and monitored by the state. These might include tobacco wholesale, oil drilling or financial operations. If this is the case, ask us for advice on the requirements your company will need to meet before your business can operate commercially within a specific country in South America. In addition to licences, certain permits may also be required. Many companies, for example, operate in one of the large number of industries requiring construction site or health permits.

Confidus Solutions

When you are looking to register a company in South America, we offer the whole package. Please be advised that the precise amount of investment required will depend solely on the nature and scope of the services you have in mind. Contact us now by email, phone or Skype.