A Step By Step Guide for Foreigners to Start a Business in Singapore
Singapore, a name that signifies economic powerhouse in Asia, has been one of the favorite investment hotspots for foreigners. Many think that starting a new business in Singapore is a daunting task. However, it is straightforward if you are guided with professional advice and assistance. Read on, as this article will help you to navigate through the company incorporation procedures in Singapore.
What to Consider Before Incorporating a Singaporean Company
However, an EP or EntrePass is not needed if you intend to run your business without relocating to Singapore. Furthermore, you can appoint a local nominee director to fulfill the requirement of Company registration in Singapore.
2. Are you age 18 years and above?
In Singapore, any person age 18 years and above is eligible to register a company in Singapore. Apart from the age limit, he or she cannot be a criminal (convicted any legal offense). Also, the person can’t be bankrupt.
3. Do you need/have professional assistance and help?
As mentioned, setting up a new company in Singapore can be a daunting task without the advice and help from professionals. For one, getting help from a Singaporean company incorporation service provider will save you time and energy when dealing with the incorporation process. Besides that, professional help and advice will help you to navigate the ins and outs of doing business in Singapore in a breeze.
How to Incorporate a Company in Singapore?
- You can setup a sole-proprietorship in Singapore and run it from abroad with the condition that you hire an authorized representative. This representative must originally be a resident of Singapore, i.e, Singapore citizens or permanent residents. Well, you can also appoint an Entrepass holder as your representative. Likewise, you will need an Entrepass if you wish to live in Singapore and run your business.
- Other than sole-proprietorships, you can register your business as a partnership in Singapore. For this, at least one of your partners must be ordinarily residing in Singapore. Similar to sole-proprietorships, you will also need an authorized representative if you want to run your business from outside the city-state. You can also stay and run your business from Singapore. In this case, you will need an Entrepass.
- A subsidiary company is the standard type of business structure for a foreign entity. In Singapore, a subsidiary company is a type of limited liability company that its foreign parent company can have 100% shareholding. Also, a subsidiary company is a separate entity from its foreign parent company.
d) Branch Office
- A branch office is a proper legal entity after registration where a branch is usually an extension of its parent company. A branch office has to employ a minimum of one employee. Similarly, the person should be an ordinary Singapore resident. However, a branch office is not a separate entity from its parent company (unlike a subsidiary company). Due to this, the parent company is liable for all its debts and liabilities.
e) Representative Office
- As the name implies, a representative office is set up only for market research and feasibility studies. You can’t do profit generating business activities. Furthermore, a representative office does not have a separate legal identity from its foreign parent company, and it has to employ not more than five employees. Thus, you can open a representative office if you want to analyze the market before establishing a full business house.
The second step is to decide a business name for your company. In Singapore, be sure you do a name check (to determine the availability of your proposed business name) before you register your desired company name with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”). According to the regulations, your name can’t be vulgar. Besides, the proposed name can’t be too similar to other companies.
A. Before the incorporation, make sure:
- a) Your business name is the ACRA-approved company name.
You have at least one shareholder.
At least one of your company directors is residing in Singapore. In Singapore, having at least one local director (he or she can be either a Singapore citizen, or a Permanent Resident, or a person holding an EntrePass, Employment Pass, or Dependent Pass) is a mandatory requirement.
- d) You have appointed one Company Secretary.
The person must be Singapore’s resident. On the other hand, he/she should have the required skill set.
You have at least S$1 of paid-up capital.
- f) Your business has a local address as the registered company address.
B. What are the documents required by ACRA (for company registration)
- a) Company Name
- b) Short description of business activities
- c) Details of shareholder(s)
- d) Details of the director(s)
- e) Details of company secretary
- f) Registered Address
- g) Company Constitution
C. Company registration process
ACRA fully computerizes the company registration’s process in Singapore. A company can be incorporated in a two-day window. After the company incorporation process, the new company can purchase a Business Profile from ACRA. You will need this profile for bank account opening and also the business licenses application. The business profile contains the following:
- registration number (UEN),
- date of registration,
- the profile also consists of other relevant information.
The next step is to open a bank account in Singapore. On top of its competitiveness in economic performance, Singapore is famous for its well-established financial sector. Moreover, from OCBC Bank, DBS Bank to foreign banks like SCB Bank, you have a wealth of choices. In fact, you will need to choose one according to your interest and convenience.
Long story short, it is a known fact that Singapore is not only an economic powerhouse in Asia as well as in the world; it is also one of the safest countries to do business. Do not hesitate to reach out to our professional team if you have any inquiries about company incorporation in Singapore!