Frequently Asked Questions
Fiji is fast becoming a popular host for private island, hotels and resort development. The country's return to political stability after the 2014 elections has led to increase in investor confidence and investments.
Fiji consists of over 320 islands many of which are not inhabited. The main island Vitu Levu contains the capital Suva in the east and Nadi (pronounced "Nandi") on the west coast. Nadi is the location of the international airport.. Most of Fiji’s islands are volcanic but none of Fiji's volcanoes are presently active .If all of Fiji's islands were counted, they would easily number in the thousands. Only 106 of Fiji’s islands are inhabited; some of these are available for private purchase.
How do I get to Fiji?
Fiji Airways, the national airline offers nonstop flights from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong into Fiji's International Airport situated in Nadi on the main island of Viti Levu. There are daily connecting flights to Vanua Levu, the other big island in Fiji.
What languages are spoken in Fiji?
English is widely spoken and understood by most. English is the official language and national indigenous language Fijian is spoken in several dialects. Hindi is spoken as well.
What is the cost of living in Fiji?
The cost of living is relatively low. Fresh vegetables are readily available.
How safe is living in Fiji?
Fijians are generally welcoming and friendly and Fiji is considered a safe place.
Who can buy a property in Fiji?
Purchasing property is open to a non-resident as well with a few restrictions that includes getting a consent from the Ministry of Lands and registration with local tax authorities, Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA).
What form of ownership is permitted in Fiji ?
Ownership is permitted for individuals, partnerships, businesses as well as trust and joint ventures. We recommend contacting a lawyer to guide in a making an informed decision.
What type of property ownership exists in Fiji ?
Freehold island properties and leaseholds in Fiji are available for purchase by foreigners. There are three types of land in Fiji: Native land, Crown Land and Freehold land. Native Land refers to the 83% of the land held by indigenous Fijians under communal tenure relationships. This land, which is reserved for the special use of its owners, may not be sold on a freehold basis, but it can be leased.
The government owns 7% of the land in Fiji; like Native land, Crown land cannot be sold, but it can be leased. Government leases for can be up to 99 years with rents reassessed every 10 years. Leases also usually carry development conditions that require lessees to develop with a certain time period. Leases may be sold or transferred, but these deals are subject to government approval.
Freehold land accounts for the remaining 10% of land in Fiji. Foreigners may purchase freehold islands, but they need consent from the Ministry of Lands for property over one acre. For the purchase of a residential property of less than one acre, buyers will need a residence or work permit. The government actively encourages foreign investment, and there are several schemes to promote tourist developments.
What is the purchase process?
Once a property is identified, you will sign a 'Sale and Purchase Agreement' and make a deposit of 5-10% into a lawyers trust account. The process normally takes 60 days and upon settlement, funds are released and a certificate of title is issued.
What type of financing is available?
Financing readily available if you meet the underwriting criteria of the banks. Non-residents have a slightly higher down payment requirements compared to the citizens of Fiji. You will need to contact the banks and we can provide you with the contacts .
Is the title insured ?
Freehold or land tenure is via Torrens title land-registration system with the title guaranteed constitutionally by the State.
What is the approx fees and duty cost?
Stamp duty of 3% is paid on all conveyances of real estate property prior to settlement. It is paid to Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA). Legal fees for conveyance and approvals for non-resident purchasers are approximately FJ$4000.
Are there property taxes in Fiji?
There are no property taxes in Fiji.
Is there a capital gains tax in Fiji?
There is a 10% capital gains tax on profits from the sale of the property. There are some exceptions on primary residence and we advise that you a consult a tax lawyer in Fiji.
Is there exceptions as to where a non-resident can purchase a property ?
The Land Sales Act in Bill No.13 states that freehold or State land for “residential” purposes within the boundary of any town or city declared or extended under the Local Government Act shall not be sold, transferred or leased to a non-resident. Interests in iTaukei/Native leases (or subleases under them) remain unaffected.
The above is the starting point, subject to a number of exceptions. Non-residents may still buy, take, transfer or lease residential freehold or State land within city/town boundaries for:
- (a) the acquisition of “strata” or unit title (essentially, apartments, though see the definitions at paragraph 13 below)
- (b) “industrial or commercial” purposes
- (c) residential purposes within an integrated tourism development or
- (d) operation of a hotel.
However in every case, they must build on the property within two years or face monetary penalties.
Should I talk to the bank before looking for a property to buy?
The answer is yes! There are many reasons why you should talk to a bank and get pre-approved before looking for properties to buy. This gives you a clear understanding on the exact amount that you can afford. Another reason is for the buyers to understand the cost associated with buying a home. For first time home buyers, there are programs available for them by the bank and this varies according to different banks.
What are the requirements for loan?
· Ready Built Home Purchase
· House Construction Loans
- 1. Copy of Title
- 2. Copy of pay recent payslip
- 3. Confirmation Letter/ Contract Letter
- 4. Cyclone upgrading engineers certificate if available*
- 5. Evidence of equity/ contribution e.g. FNPF Housing eligibility statement
- 6. Last 3 months bank statement
- 7. Current valuation of property if available*
- 8. Sale note from vendor/ Full sale & purchase agreement is optional. Only if available*
- 9. Statements of any outside debts owed by any institution
- 1. Copy of Title
- 2. Copy of recent payslip
- 3. Confirmation Letter/ Contract Letter
- 4. Evidence of equity/ contribution
- 5. Last 3 months Bank statement
- 6. Current valuation of the vacant land if available*
- 7. Copy of approved plan. The city or town council must approve any plan within city or town boundaries. Outside this boundaries, to be approved by rural local authorities.
- 8. 3 quotations from Reputable Contractors
- 9. Statements of any outside debts owed by any institution
- 10. Quantity Surveyor Report based on approval plan
- 11. Town Council report on Boundary pegs
- 12. Scope of work (On acceptance once request is approved)
- 13. Cost to complete (On acceptance once request is approved)
- 14. Building Contract Agreement with Contractor (On acceptance once is approved)
- 15. On Completion Valuation Report (On acceptance once request is approved)
What is Stamp Duty?
Stamp duty is a tax on legal documents.
What documents are payable for Stamp Duty?
· Lease/ Tenancy Agreements
These are documents prepared and signed when you rent a property. Stamp duty is calculated on the actual rent or market rent. The person who leases or rents the property (lessee or tenant) is responsible for paying stamp duty
· Sale/ Purchase Agreements
These are documents prepared and signed when you buy or sell your property (real or personal) or sale of business. The buyer is responsible for paying stamp duty.
Fiji Real-estate Tax guideline & Land Types
Foreigners Can Buy Properties in Fiji!
So, you fell in love with Fiji on holiday, and now you are dreaming of purchasing your very own slice of paradise. Let us make your dreams become reality!
While the idea of buying property in a foreign country is certainly exciting, we know that you have a lot of questions. We are happy to guide you through the entire process with our expertise, professional services and years of experience. We are also happy to introduce to the right partners to ensure a smooth transition.
Here is what you need to know about land in Fiji, before you start searching for your dream property here in the beautiful Fiji Islands. There are 3 types of land in Fiji:
This is the same as “fee simple”, meaning you will own it outright and have the right to sell it freely forever. Outright ownership makes this the most desirable type of land for non-residents. Freehold Land makes up approximately 8 percent of all land in Fiji. The majority of Freehold Land is located in the northern islands of Vanua Levu (especially popular around Savusavu) and Fiji's 3rd largest island of Taveuni. Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu also has many Freehold Land opportunities, especially along the beautiful Coral Coast.
SOME RESTRICTIONS APPLY:
Fiji's Land Sales Act of 2014
prohibits the sale of Freehold “Residential” properties within city/town boundaries to non-citizens.
There are some exceptions to this rule:
- 1) “Strata” or Unit Title, essentially apartments/condos (like the resort villas available on Denarau Island)
- 2) “Industrial” or “Commercial” purposes
- 3) “Residential” purposes within an Integrated Tourism Development
(such as Denarau and Naisoso Islands, where there are subdivided lots for sale within a master planned hotel/tourism development)
4) Operation of a Hotel
For any Freehold Land purchased by a non-citizen, the Land Sales Act of 2014 requires that you build a “new residential dwelling within 24 months” which “incurs building costs not less than $250,000 FJD”For any purchase of Freehold Land over one acre, approval will be required by the Minister of Fiji’s Lands Department.
About 87% of all land in Fiji is Native Land, meaning it is owned by the indiginous people of Fiji. Native Land can be leased but never owned. Leases are usually for a period of 99 years, granting the right to exclusively occupy land for a period of time. While you still pay a “normal purchase price”, you are not purchasing, but only
leasing the land, usually for a long time. Leases are typically granted a renewal and annual land lease payments are usually very low. Leases usually carry development conditions that require lessees to develop within a certain time period. Leases may be sold or transferred, but these deals are subject to approval. Native Land leases in Fiji are overseen by the TLTB (iTaukei Land Trust Board).
Crown/State Land is owned by the Fiji Government and can be leased directly from the government. Approximately 5 percent of land in Fiji is State owned and is administered by the Department of Lands .
The same Land Sales Act of 2014 provisions above apply to Crown Land Leases.
Fiji operates under a Torrens Title land registration system, with the title guaranteed constitutionally by the State.
Real estate can be owned by individuals, companies, partnerships, joint ventures or trusts. Yes, a Non-Resident CAN sell a property to another Non-Resident, but needs to acquire consent from the Ministry of Lands. You should get this approval before entering into a binding contract. An application should be submitted by each party.
VAT (Value Added Tax) is currently at 9%. Whether VAT applies or not, is totally dependent on if the vendor (seller) is registered for VAT. We can advise you personally and introduce you to the VAT Leadership Team at Fiji Revenue and Customs office to get formal (and final) verification on whether or not VAT will apply.
CAPITAL GAINS TAX is 10% on profits from the sale of properties in Fiji.
STAMP DUTY for real estate transactions WAS 10% for Non-Residents and 3% for Residents/Citizens. But NOW, you will gain that as an instant savings because Stamp Duty on real estate WAS ELIMINATED in the 2020 Budget!
So, it's good to BUY NOW BEFORE it is changed!