Fiji has many restrictions against the foreign ownership of the vast majority of its land. The laws are written to favor the natives of Fiji. Foreign investors should be aware of the different types of land regulations that exist in Fiji.
Attorneys and Real Estate Agents
It is a wise idea to hire an attorney when purchasing real estate in Fiji. There are many restrictions and a good deal of red tape in this process, and legal guidance can be very helpful.
Foreign buyers will most likely end up working with real estate agents.
Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
There are several restrictions on the foreign ownership of property. For the most part, people cannot buy land if they do not have a residence or work permit in Fiji. The amount of land that is reserved for foreigners to buy is also restricted heavily.
There are three different types of land in Fiji. The first is “Native Lease Land,” which is owned communally by the Fijian people, and is divided into commercial, residential, industrial, agricultural and special lands. This is the vast majority of land that exists in Fiji, and foreigners can only lease it if it is considered surplus land.
The second type of land is “Crown Lease Land,” which is about 8.3% of Fiji. The government owns this land and is allowed to lease it. Fijians who wish to lease this land come first in priority over foreigners.
The third type is “Freehold,” which is 9% of the total land in Fiji. Foreigners are allowed to buy this type of land, but if they wish to buy over one acre, this must be approved by the Minister of Lands. Foreigners have the right to buy apartments in Fiji, but these are rare.
Also, foreigners may not freely rent out property. They must obtain permission from the Fiji Trade and Investment Board, but this is a simple formality that takes five days to clear.
If everything clears past the restrictions, buying land in Fiji is a straightforward process, but it takes a while to complete (about 3-6 months). Foreign buyers are required to obtain a title from the Torrens system, which does not require title insurance or abstracts. This title secures the new owner of the property.
Before applying for the Torrens title, sales contracts must be drawn up by either a real estate agent or attorney, and signed by the buyer and seller of the land.
To then obtain a title to own property, foreigners are required to fill out an wide array of paperwork, as well as submit a criminal background check and pay several duties to the state.
After all of the documents are forwarded to the government and approved, the foreigner can move into the new property.