Living and Working in Gibraltar: Your Guide to Opening a Retail Business

by | Jul 3, 2024 | Gibraltar

Living in Gibraltar

Nestled on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar offers a unique blend of British and Mediterranean cultures. With its warm climate, stunning landscapes, and vibrant community, living in Gibraltar is an attractive option for many. The lifestyle here is relaxed, yet the region is bustling with economic activity, making it an ideal place to both live and work. Add that to the potential tax savings (especially if you sell your UK business whilst resident in Gibraltar), means it is a no-brainer to most! Octopus works with advisors both locally and internationally to ensure the move works for you.

Working in Gibraltar

Gibraltar’s economy is diverse, with key industries including finance, online gaming, shipping, and tourism. The region’s robust infrastructure and favourable business environment make it a prime location for entrepreneurs. For UK citizens, the transition to working in Gibraltar is relatively smooth, given the shared language and similar legal systems. There are some unique and quirky requirements in Gibraltar so using a company like Octopus International Business Services, we can guide you through the processes.

Opening a Retail Business in Gibraltar

Starting Your Venture

Opening a retail business in Gibraltar can be a lucrative opportunity. The first step is to register your business with the Gibraltar Companies House. The process is straightforward, requiring essential documentation such as your business plan, proof of identity, and a registered office address. It is recommended to have a local regulated Secretary to file the relevant documents when required and let you concentrate on the daily sales. Octopus provide registered office and secretary services to local businesses.

You would also need to obtain a local business licence, register with the employment trading board, and register with the tax office for PAYE. Octopus can assist you with all of these processes.

Merchant Facilities in Gibraltar

Once your business is registered, setting up merchant facilities is crucial for processing payments. Gibraltar offers a range of merchant account services to suit various business needs. These accounts allow you to accept credit and debit card payments, both in-store and online, which is essential for retail success. Some of the local banks have their own facilities which can be utilised.

Payment Page Hosting

For retail businesses with an online presence, hosting a secure payment page is vital. This ensures that your customers can make purchases safely and confidently. Many merchant account providers in Gibraltar offer integrated payment gateway solutions that include secure payment page hosting.

With Gibraltar being a small place, online presence was limited but it is a growing market in Gibraltar with many retailers now offering an online service with delivery.

Ensuring Retail Business Success

Success in the retail sector depends on several factors, including location, product selection, and customer service. Gibraltar’s diverse population and high tourist footfall which includes daily cruise ships and coach trips in the summer months provide a steady stream of potential customers. Focus on offering unique products and exceptional service to differentiate your business from competitors. Octopus works with local estate agents to help source suitable premises as required.

Move to Gibraltar: Practical Considerations

Live in Gibraltar

Moving to Gibraltar involves several practical considerations. Securing accommodation is a priority, and there are various options ranging from apartments to houses, often with stunning sea views. The cost of living in Gibraltar is comparable to major UK cities, though certain goods and services may be more expensive due to import costs. Local advice should be taken as certain apartments can be restricted to individuals who have been resident for a minimum of three years.

Tax in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is known for its favourable tax regime, which is a significant draw for businesses and individuals alike. There is no VAT, and personal tax is capped at 25% and corporate tax rates are 12.5% although most likely to increase to 15% soon. This is still lower than the UK and many other jurisdictions. This tax-friendly environment can greatly enhance the profitability of your retail business.

Gibraltar Residency for UK Citizens

For UK citizens, obtaining residency in Gibraltar is relatively straightforward. While Gibraltar is no longer part of the EU following Brexit, UK citizens retain the right to live and work in Gibraltar. The residency process involves proving that you have sufficient means to support yourself and securing suitable accommodation. This could be via employment or self-employment. Octopus help individuals set up companies and manage their payroll to satisfy the criteria required.

Does Living in Gibraltar Count as Living in the UK?

While Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory, living in Gibraltar does not count as living in the UK. However, Gibraltar residents enjoy many of the same rights and privileges as those living in the UK, including access to British consular services and the ability to travel freely between Gibraltar and the UK. Gibraltar follows the UK educational curriculum with several newly opened schools. If your children are in the educational system from the age of eleven, the government will pay for the child’s university on the proviso that they bring their skills back to benefit the Gibraltar community. The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) is Gibraltar’s version of the NHS and providing individuals pay social insurance contributions (same as national insurance in the UK), they have medical cover in Gibraltar. If Gibraltar does not have the expertise the GHA will send you to Spain or UK for treatment.

Retiring to Gibraltar from the UK

Gibraltar is also a popular destination for retirees from the UK. The warm climate, high quality of life, and favourable tax regime make it an appealing choice for those looking to enjoy their retirement years. UK pensioners can receive their pensions in Gibraltar, and healthcare services are of a high standard. Pensioners would need to transfer their state pension to Gibraltar to obtain residence.


Opening a retail business in Gibraltar offers numerous advantages, from a favourable tax environment to a supportive business infrastructure. Living and working in this vibrant region provides a unique blend of British and Mediterranean lifestyles, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and retirees alike. Whether you are starting a new business or considering a move to Gibraltar, the opportunities are plentiful, and the quality of life is exceptional. Embrace the chance to live and work in one of the most unique and welcoming regions in the world.
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