All offshore jurisdictions require that their international business companies (non-resident companies, offshore companies, Business Companies, etc.) have an address within the country. This is called the Registered Address. Formally it can sometimes be a PO Box, but usually it will be a full street address – for reasons, explained below.
Most offshore jurisdictions also require that a company has a Registered Agent within the country. Usually the Registered Agent is located in the Registered Address of the company and is licensed to provide company formation, administration and management services in a professional manner. So, the Registered Agent would usually be a fully staffed, equipped, qualified and regulated firm, which provides those services to a considerable amount of clients and their offshore companies.
The name and address of the Registered Agent of every offshore company is filed with the Registrar of Companies. Therefore, these particulars are publicly accessible to anyone. This is in fact the main purpose of having a Registered Agent and Address – so that any person could know where the legal address of a particular company is, and which professional firm acts as a Registered Agent for this company. In essence, the Registered Agent acts as an “intermediary” between the Government and the offshore company, or between any third parties and the offshore company.
In British Virgin Islands, according to the new BVI Business Companies Act 2004, Registered Agent is required for ALL companies, regardless of their type of ownership or area of operation. In this regard there is no distinction between an on-shore and off-shore company.