Everyone is allowed to purchase a Residential, Commercial, Industrial or Agricultural property in Trinidad and Tobago*, no matter what nationality you have or what country you reside, as long as you comply with the following 4 rules:
If you are not a Citizen or Resident of Trinidad and Tobago, and you are planning to stay longer than your Visa permits you, or even decide to reside permanently in T&T, you need to apply for Permanent Residency Status or Citizenship, in which case I recommend to check your relevant Embassy or Consulate in Trinidad and Tobago, (CLICK HERE for a complete listing of addresses and phone numbers), or you can also get in touch with the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy or Consulate in your Home Country.
Trinidad and Tobago has strict Immigration Laws and if you wish to reside permanently here, I advice not to buy until you have at least Permanent Residency Status.
I also would like to point out that buying or owning a residential property in T&T does not give residency status, and buying or owning a commercial property in T&T does not give the right to work (earn an income) in Trinidad and Tobago.
There are three and only three grounds for submitting an application for residence in Trinidad and Tobago:
You also have to keep in mind, that submitting an application for permanent residency status, does not mean that it will be granted.
Of course, the above is not applicable if you have Permanent Residency status, you and/or your spouse are Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, or if you want to purchase and/or build for vacation and investment reasons. A Non-Resident can usually get a visitor's visa for up to three months. Extensions can be applied for, but are not guaranteed, especially over six months.
If you wish to work in Trinidad and Tobago, you have to get a work permit which can only be applied for by a local company. However, in order to protect local employment, the Government of Trinidad & Tobago is very selective in giving work permits.
A foreigner who is not a Resident or Citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and who does not have a work permit, is allowed to own a business in T&T, but is not allowed to run it, and has to seek the assistance of a Trinidad and Tobago Citizen or Permanent Resident to run and manage the business or company.
If you wish more detailed information on all of the above, you can go to the Investment Guide on the WebSite of
The Purchasing procedures in Trinidad is for Residents/Citizens as well as Non-Residents the same, again no matter what nationality or what country you reside.
Once you made a decision to purchase a property in Trinidad or Tobago, the first step to take is to make a 10% deposit, as guarantee of good faith, and to prevent the property to sell to someone else. At that moment we enter into an AGREEMENT of SALE, in which is stated that both Parties (Vendor and Purchaser) have 90 days time to organize each their side of the AGREEMENT. This means that the buyer has to organize a local Attorney (read further for details), and the balance payment within this time period as well, so if the buyer has the money cash available, no problem, the sale can be complete on or before the 90 days.
If the buyer has to get a Mortgage, it is important to find out if a Mortgage will be approved before making a deposit, because if the buyer is in default, the deposit will be forfeited.
This deposit will be held in Escrow, by the Broker/Agent. An Escrow is a written agreement (or property or money) delivered to a third party, or put in trust by one party to a contract, to be returned after fulfillment of a specific condition.
We will provide you with a package containing a copy of the Deed, A Receipt of the last paid Land (and Building) Taxes, if available a Cadastral Sheet* (*Map which shows the land area) and an original of the AGREEMENT of SALE which will be made in Triplicate, one for the Purchaser, one for the Vendor and one for the Agency.
As Purchaser you will have to call in the services of a local Attorney-at-Law, to prepare the necessary documents for the Conveyance, to do a Title Search and to Register the property in the Registrar General, at the expense in all respects of the Purchaser. It is always advised to do a Title Search because you and your Attorney need to be sure there are no encumbrances on the property.
If you are residing outside of Trinidad and Tobago and it is not possible for you to be personally present for the signing of the AGREEMENT of SALE and/or the completion of the Sale, that is not a problem. Once you purchase a property from or through an AREA (Association of Real Estate Agents) Registered Agent or Agency, all you have to do is to make sure that the funds for the required 10% deposit are available, and at the time of completion of the sale, the balance payment. Your Realtor will organize all the rest *.
In Trinidad and Tobago there are 4 types of Deeds:
2. If a property falls under the R.P.O., the exact same Deed goes from owner to owner,
3. When a property has a Leasehold Deed, the person(s) whose name(s) are on the Deed are the owners for the duration of the lease which is usually a long term , such as 99, 199, 299 or even 999 years, also here both the Vendor and the buyer have to sign the Memorandum of Transfer.
The registering of the Deed usually takes about 4 to 6 months. However, from the day the balance payment is paid, and the owner signed over the Deed to you, the property is yours and you can do with it what you want, no matter if the Deed is still in the process of being Registered.
*PLEASE NOTE: Every Company and Attorney has of course their own services and way of doing things, and concerning the above mentioned services, I can only refer to AREA Members.
Most customers need a Mortgage to purchase a property and two of the most asked questions are: "Can I get a local Mortgage, even though I do not live in Trinidad and Tobago?" and "What are the interest Rates?"
Please, also read our "Mortgages" page for more information.
NOTE: For Trinbagonians or Residents who are planning to return permanently to Trinidad but have lost their T&T Citizenship or Residency Status, you can re-apply, however be prepared that this is a lengthy process and will take at least 6 months to 1 year,
It is very important for the Purchaser to know that after you made the 10% deposit, and you change your mind on buying, or you can not make the outstanding balance payment, or for whatever reason you make default in completion of the sale, your deposit will be forfeited, because you are in breach of Contract. So before making any deposit you have to be absolutely sure that this is the property you want, and that you have the balance payment available within the stipulated time.
... Additionally, a foreigner must, through his Attorney-at-Law, deliver to the Minister of Finance a Notice specifying his name, address and nationality, the date and registration particulars of the instrument by which he became the owner of the property and evidence of his payment in an accepted foreign currency.
Property Transfer Taxes or Stamp Duty (the stamping of the documents by the Board of Inland Revenue):
The present law provides that where the property is or includes a dwelling house and the property is for use wholly or mainly for residential purposes (Residential Transfers) the stamp duty payable as of 23 September 2008 is as follows:
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY (INCLUDING DWELLING HOUSE)
The sale or disposal of residential land valued at TT$450,000 or less SHALL BE EXEMPT from Stamp Duty.
Tips & Advise on
selling your property
When the property is a commercial property or land only (Non-Residential Transfers) the Stamp duty payable is as follows:
Non-Residential Transfers (Includes Commercial Properties and Land) where the consideration for the sale and/or Market value:
The above rates for non-residential transfers are to be applied to the total consideration.
e.g. If the consideration is $350,000.00 the stamp duty payable will be 5% of $350,000.00 = $17,500.00.
Once the appropriate stamp duty has been paid, as certified by an embossed stamp affixed by the Board of Inland Revenue, the original transfer documents are lodged with the Registrar General's Department and a registered copy will be delivered to the Purchaser as proof of his ownership of the land in question.
Conveyance charges and costs:
If you are purchasing a property with the help of a Mortgage, your Legal fees will usually be double, because there are actually 2 Transfers taking place. The first one is from the Vendor onto you and the second transaction is from you onto the Mortgagee.
Under the R.P.O. (Real Property Ordinance) system the situation is quite different. Registration is mandatory. The Real Property Ordinance provides that no instrument shall be effective to pass any estate or interest in lands until registered under the Ordinance.
Just like most countries Trinidad has a public health service and private nursing homes which are modern and well equipped.
There are numerous schools which are public or private and as in most Countries primary, secondary and tertiary education. Also most religions will be represented whether in private or public schools. It is up to you to decide which is best for your children.
There is an International school in Port of Spain and a University - the University of the West Indies (UWI) - which is located at St. Augustine. There you will find students from all over the world.
Shopping can be an exciting experience in one of the many malls. Besides malls there are also a lot of smaller shops around, practically on every corner.
The typical household income for a middle class family is about TT$5,000. (US$830.) to TT$10,000. (US$1,660.) per month and middle to high income will be between TT$15,000.00. (US$2,500.00) and TT$20,000.00. (US$3,320.00.) per month.
As a point of interest, mention must be made about the lack of a Social Welfare benefit system for the unemployed.
Further it is important for you to know that in Trinidad and Tobago we drive on the LEFT side of the Road.
If you wish to drive yourself and your visit is not exceeding 90 days, all you need is a valid drivers permit from your country together with your passport. Just make sure that you have both on you while driving.
A wide variety of foods is available in most supermarkets. However, if you wish to dine out, you have a choice of fast food restaurants - like KFC, Royal Castle, Pizza Boys etc... or local take outs for example: doubles, roti, souse and pelau. For finer dining there are a variety of steak houses and lobster restaurants available.
In Trinidad and Tobago we have a P.A.Y.E. (Pay As You Earn) system. If you need more detailed information I think it is best if you contact the Board of Inland Revenue or a tax accountant/consultant here in Trinidad, as Taxes and Accounting is not really our line of business.
V.A.T. (Value Added Tax) is presently 15%. However, the price tags in the majority of the stores already include V.A.T.
Lately I have been getting many questions on the crime rate in Trinidad & Tobago, and the following is my personal opinion.
Unfortunately crime is everywhere, if I would tell you that there is no crime in a particular area, than I would not be honest. However looking at the statistics (and Newspaper reports) the majority of serious crimes take place in North and Central Trinidad. In other words the more South you go the lower the crime rate, and this is of course easy to explain as the population density is much higher in Central and North.
Crime in Tobago is like in South Trinidad, quite low, but I must say that there are many unreported cases in Tobago because of the tourism industry, which is almost non existing in South Trinidad and the so called "Deep" South.
Deep South Trinidad is concerning landscape and beaches very comparable with the Lowlands in Tobago, only without the tourists. Most people do not even know (not even the local population) that the South Western Peninsula has at low tide the longest, widest stretches of beach of Trinidad and Tobago. There are a lot of Rain Forrest areas in the South, but so is almost the entire Northern Range and North West of Tobago. So if you are asking me; South Trinidad is a great place, and many of my past customers agree with me. I myself am originally from Holland, and live already since 1991 in Point Fortin, the most Southern Borough, where you basically can get anything you want or need. I absolutely love it here. Of course, as I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, that is my personal opinion, and I am sure that many people who live in Central and North Trinidad do not agree with me. I noticed that for most Trinidadians who live North and Central, and even the ones in San Fernando, Trinidad "ends" just South of San Fernando. Anything more South is referred to as "The Bush", which by the way is not true, but I do not mind that general misconception, because that's what keeps the crime rate low here. After all, as far as criminals are concerned, there is nothing to steal in "the Bush" .... .
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