Singapore is a highly urbanized place that attracts foreign investors on the strength of its stable currency, vibrant investment & corruption-free climate, and tax benefits. Many of them prefer to start their business by registering a private limited company.
A private limited company (Pte Ltd) is a business structure that offers limited liability. It has a separate identity. It is a legal person responsible for its debts and liabilities. There are other business structures too, like Sole Proprietorship and Limited Liability Partnership.
Is it Easy for a Foreigner to Start a Business in Singapore?
Easiest way? No, Sir, there is only one way of registering a company in Singapore as a foreigner. The foreign entrepreneurs must hire experts from an experienced Singapore company registration services provider for the task.
The experts advise you on the criterion set out by the Company Registrar, i.e., ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). They also advise you on the work passes that you need to work in Singapore and the incorporation documents that you need to submit to the authorities. There are also a few post incorporation activities that you must accomplish before starting your business activities.
Pre Incorporation Requirements
At least 1 resident director
At least 1 shareholder
At least 1 company secretary
Minimum of $1 in initial paid-up share capital
Registered office address
Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&AA)
As you can see, you need a resident director to Incorporate a company in Singapore. A Singapore citizen, Permanent Resident, or the holder of an employment pass or Entrepreneur pass (Entrepass) can assume this position. As a foreigner, you may not be able to fulfill the requirement.
However, you can apply to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for the Entrepass. After receiving the approval, you are free to incorporate your company and work in Singapore as its director.
The alternative is to hire a nominee director service and register your Singapore company. Then, appoint a company secretary who will initiate the process for acquiring your Employment pass with the MOM.
After receiving the pass, you can replace the nominee director and start working as the director of your company. The entrepreneurs who are not interested in working in Singapore do not have to apply and acquire any passes.
Singapore Company Registration Process
During the Singapore company registration process you have to complete only procedures, a)Company Name Approval and b)Company Registration with ACRA.
You need to pass on to your incorporation agent a list of names for your proposed company. They then can check the availability of a name online on ACRA’s website. The available name can be registered for your use for 60 days after paying the required ACRA fees.
You have to pick a company name carefully, as ACRA can reject it for being identical with that of an existing company, vulgar, black-listed, etc. It should let the others know what type of business you run. You should come up with a name that will also be effective as the domain name of your business’ website.
With all the incorporation documents in hand and a registered company name, your incorporation agent is ready to apply to ACRA to register your company for you. They remain with you till your company is successfully registered.
Incorporation Documents for Foreigners
You need to submit the following documents to your agent:
Description of business activity
Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&AA)
Copy of passport
Overseas residential address proof, Bank reference letter, Personal and business profile, Particulars of directors, company secretary, and shareholders
Post Incorporation Activities
After successfully registering your company, ACRA sends an email containing all the relevant details of your company. Your agent can pay the required fee and get its hard copy for you. Before you start your business activities, you should tackle the following post incorporation tasks.
Obtain a tax number for your Singapore business
Register for GST
Opening a corporate bank account
Open Central Provident Fund (CPF) account and top it up
Register for the Skills Development Levy (SDL) and pay the fees
Appoint an auditor within the 3 months
Singapore is one of the top-notch financial hubs and a prominent marketplace in the world. The report prepared by the World Bank places it on the 2nd spot for the ease of doing business indicator. It is on the OECD White List and is considered as a transparent offshore jurisdiction. It is no wonder that the foreign entrepreneurs are looking for the easiest way to register a company in Singapore. It is a land of opportunities for the hardworking business owners to realize their dreams.