Renowned as a financial hub, Singapore is an attractive choice for entrepreneurs and multinational companies looking to open a business abroad. It is relatively easy for foreigners to register a company in Singapore due to its outstanding tax regime, thriving start-up ecosystem, 100% foreign ownership policy, stable political environment, and advanced banking facilities.
The process of registering a company in Singapore is straightforward and inexpensive, but it requires some financial planning. This article will serve as a foreign guide on how to successfully register a company in Singapore.
Cost to Register a Company in Singapore
The company registration process in Singapore is entirely online and applied via the Bizfile+ portal run by the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), which is the company registrar in Singapore. The ACRA fees include the following:
Company name application fee = S$15
Registration Fee = S$300
A SingPass ID is needed to log into the portal. Foreigners need this ID to incorporate a company on their own. They must hire a corporate secretarial firm to handle it on their behalf.
Most corporate secretarial services in Singapore include company incorporation packages that cost from S$500 to S$1,500, depending on the range of required services. They can charge extra for complex services.
Can a Foreigner Set up a Company in Singapore?
If you’re wondering, can I open a company in Singapore as a foreigner? The short answer is Yes!
Establishing a company in Singapore is a simple process that can be done online. Like a Singaporean citizen, foreigners can easily register a company in Singapore and own 100% of its shares without any difficulties. Anyone who is 18 years old can set up a company in Singapore unless he has not been found guilty of any legal offense or bankruptcy.
Foreigners can register a company in Singapore in the following ways:
- Relocate to Singapore and apply for company registration with an Employment Pass, EntrePass, or Work Permit
- Remain overseas and employ a local or resident director
Requirements to Register a Company in Singapore
Selecting the right business structure is crucial for a successful company registration in Singapore. It can influence your company’s taxation.
A foreign entrepreneur can register the following business entities in Singapore.
- Private Limited Company (Pte Ltd)
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
- Sole Proprietorship
A private limited company is a flexible and popular option because it is seen as credible by financial institutions and considered a separate legal entity.
The minimum key requirements to set up a company in Singapore are:
- One shareholder, who can be an individual or corporate entity
- One resident director, who can be a permanent resident Singapore citizen, holder of an Employment Pass
- One company secretary
- S$1 initial paid-up capital
- Address of physical registered office in Singapore
Work Passes that Allow Foreigners to Start a Business in Singapore
Employment Pass (EP)
If you want to move to Singapore, you can register a company with an Employment pass. To be eligible for EP, you must be earning a monthly salary of a minimum of S$5,000. If you are in your 40s, your qualifying income needs to be twice the minimum qualifying salary for the youngest candidates. Additionally, you should possess accepted qualifications from reputed universities.
Holders of EP can register a company in Singapore and own its shares. However, they can’t act as the company’s local or resident director. For it, they have to hire a nominee for director services. Also, you can’t register a LLP or sole proprietorship.
This pass is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who want to register new private limited companies in Singapore. An entrepreneur can apply for EntreePass before incorporating a company with ACRA or within six months after incorporating a company.
You can apply for an EntreePass from the Ministry of Manpower. After acquiring the pass, you can register a private limited company, sole proprietorship, or LLP. Also, you can be the company’s local or resident director with this pass.
The Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) Pass is Singapore’s new work visa that offers multiple benefits to its holders, including the ability to register and run a company in Singapore. However, applications must be earning a fixed salary of S$30,000 a month or its equivalent in foreign currency to be eligible for this pass.
Appoint a Local or Resident Director
To register a company, you will require a local director and a Letter of Consent from the Ministry of Manpower, even though you have a valid Employment Pass. As a foreigner, you can appoint a local director.
Foreigners can’t self-register their company, so they must hire a registered filing agent.
Here are options for appointing a local director.
Option 1: Employ a local nominee director for your company
Option 2: Appoint a Singaporean, permanent resident, or EntreePass holder as a local director
Option 3: Apply for and acquire EntreePass and form a company
How Long Will It Take to Register a Company in Singapore?
Once all the required documents are ready and submitted, ACRA usually takes 1 to 3 days to register a company. If your application is referred to the Minister, the application approval can take up to two months.
The timeline for registering your company also depends on how soon you, directors, and shareholders submit the required paperwork to your company secretary for verification.
Best Business Practices to Do After Successful Singapore Company Registration
After successfully incorporating a company in Singapore, it’s time to consider the next crucial steps.
Open a Corporate Bank Account
Once your company is registered, one of the first things to do is to open a corporate bank account. A corporate account will keep your business finances separate from the personal one. It allows you to manage your business finances smoothly and keep track of each transaction. You can open a corporate account online with a traditional bank or fintech company in Singapore. If you’re a foreigner looking to open a corporate account and can’t visit Singapore, Fazz Business is a perfect choice for the following reasons:
- Smooth and fast corporate account opening process for foreign companies or directors.
- Available both SGD and USD accounts
- Free local transactions
- Fast and seamless international transfers in 50+ currencies
- Lower FX rates for international transfers
- Partnered with the corporate secretary and immigration services, providing a comprehensive package for seamless incorporation in Singapore
Read the Helpful Guide on How to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Singapore!
Obtain Business License
Business licenses are necessary in many industries before even the start of business operations. When you register a company in Singapore, you’re required to provide the SSIC code in the application. This code tells ACRA about the planned activities of your business. Some codes restrict the company name and business activities you can perform. Therefore, apply for a permit or business license and acquire it before starting your business operations.
If the expected annual revenue of your new company exceeds S$1 million, you need to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). Then, you will collect 9% of GST from your customers, which you must pay to IRAS.
The Bottom Line
Foreigners can register a company in Singapore easily in a fully digital process. As a foreign entrepreneur, you need to get ACRA approval for the company name and submit the application to ACRA with the required documents. ACRA will usually approve your application within one to three days.
Need more guidance? Visit our blog for more Singapore Business Guides!
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