Singapore Company Registration for Foreign Entrepreneur

Thinking of registering a company in Singapore? Want to learn about both the initial and ongoing regulatory-compliance requirements for operating in Singapore? Then you have come to the right place! Read on to find out all you need to know about company registration in Singapore.

Majority of the companies in Singapore today are registered as “Private Limited Liability”. The term ‘Limited Liability’ shows that the company is a separate and legal entity; and that the shareholders of the company are not responsible to pay off the company’s debts beyond the amount of the capital that they have contributed.

Whether you’re a local or foreign entrepreneur, if you’re above 18, you can easily register a company in Singapore by law.

 

Process of Company Registration in Singapore

 

Pre-Registration

Here are some of the key pre-registration steps you must fulfil when forming a company in Singapore:

  1. Before incorporation, it is vital to get the name of the company approved
  2. At least one of the directors of the company should be a Singaporean Citizen or a person who has been issued an employment pass/dependent pass or entre pass in Singapore
  3. Directors of the company must be over 18 years and must not have a past history of bankruptcy or convicted malpractice
  4. There is no requirement by the law stating that only the directors should be shareholders. In other words, non-shareholders can also be appointed as directors
  5. You can have a minimum of one (1) and a total of fifty (50) shareholders, but not more than that.
  6. According to the Singapore Companies Act Section 171, you must appoint a well-qualified company secretary within 6 months from the time of incorporation. Please note, the sole director or shareholder cannot be the company’s secretary
  7. The company secretary must be a local
  8. Paid up capital (also referred to as share-capital) for registration is S$1. However, it is subject to change and can increase once the company is incorporated.
  9. To register your company in Singapore, it is vital to provide a local address. It cannot be a P.O. Box address. It has to be a physical address and can be your residential address.

Once you register, you can enjoy amazing tax exemptions and incentives as companies in Singapore don’t have any capital gains and dividend taxes. In fact, your company will only have to pay less than 9 percent for the first S$300,000 yearly profits and after that, only 17 percent flat.

What Foreigners Opening a Company in Singapore Should Know

Here are some basic requirements for foreigners to open up a Singaporean company:

  1. Under Singapore law, no foreigner can self-register a company, be it an individual or entity. Foreigners are required to engage a professional firm to register the organization.
  2. If you have no plans to relocate to Singapore but only wish to open a company here, then you are exempted from the requirements of obtaining a visa. This means you can freely operate your company once it is incorporated, from overseas, and even visit Singapore on a visitor visa on a short term basis.
  3. As a foreigner, you will have to hire a local director for your company.
  4. For those foreign entrepreneurs who are thinking of relocating to Singapore to run their company here, they must obtain an Employment or Entrepreneur Pass. These are like work permits. Once obtained, they allow you to act as a local director of your enterprise.
  5. Company incorporation formalities can be handled from anywhere. That means; foreign entrepreneurs don’t always have to visit Singapore for the paperwork. However, opening of your bank account may be an exception. This largely depends on the bank you choose to work with.

Documents Required for the Process

For company registration in Singapore, here is the list of documents and information you must provide to the company’s registrar:

  1. Your company name
  2. Particulars of shareholders
  3. Particulars of directors
  4. Registered address
  5. Details of your business activities
  6. Particulars of the company’s secretary
  7. MAA (Memorandum and Articles of Association)

The professional firm who works cohesively with you in the incorporation process will require the following documents from you to prepare the company’s paperwork:
For Foreigners:

  • Personal details and business profile
  • Passport copy
  • Overseas residential address proof
  • Bank reference letter

Please note, all non-English documents must be translated and endorsed.
For Singapore Residents:

  • Copy of your identity card

In case the shareholder is a corporate entity, then you’ll be asked to provide the copy of registration documents like incorporation certificate or MAA.

Processing Time

In Singapore, the registration process of private limited companies is fully computerized which makes it quick and efficient. Normally, it takes about 1 to 2 days for a company to be incorporated.

First, you need to get the name of your company approved, which takes only half an hour unless the name includes certain words like finance, media, bank or law. Such names require review and approval from an external government authority.

Once your company is approved, the filing of the company’s incorporation request and approval from the Registrar of Companies can be completed. This takes a few hours if the documents are in hand and signed by the director of the company. Besides this, you will also be required to pay a registration fee of 300 Singapore Dollars. This fee is payable to the Singapore Registrar of Companies at the time of new company incorporation.

 

Post-Registration

Incorporation Certificate

Once your company is incorporated, the registrar will send you an official email. This email is sent to notify and confirm your company’s incorporation; and also includes the registration number of your new company.

Please note; the hard copy of this certificate is no longer issued. However, if you wish to get a hardcopy, you can request the company registrar via email. To receive a hard copy of the incorporation certificate, you will also have to pay a fee of 500 Singapore Dollars. You can collect the copy the next day from the registrar’s office.

Business Profile Particulars

You can obtain your business profile online by submitting a request and paying a small application fee. It is available in PDF format and contains the key particulars:

  • Your company’s name
  • Registration number
  • Incorporate date
  • Paid-up capital
  • Registered address
  • Particulars of the shareholders, directors and company secretary

Open a Corporate Bank Account

Once your company registration in Singapore is complete, you can easily open a corporate bank account in any bank in the country, such as Standard Chartered, HSBC, DBS, and Citibank etc.

Apply for Business License

Some businesses are required to obtain licenses such as restaurants, financial services, import and export of goods, educational institutes and travel agencies.

For quick and smooth company registration in Singapore, it is advisable to hire a professional incorporation service provider. A professional can help you navigate through the process better and smoothly; and provide you quality assistance with paperwork, ensuring that the registration process is stress-free.