How a Foreigner Can Easily Register a Company in Singapore
by Avery Devereaux
Singapore is a well-established and acclaimed business hub in the Asian region and the world over. Some of the factors that contributed to its emergence as a commercial center include well-developed infrastructure, friendly tax regime, political stability, zero tolerance to corruption, and government support, just to mention but a few.
Foreigners are free to start their business in the city-state, just like the locals, and they mostly opt for limited liability companies. A limited liability company has numerous advantages such as the owner’s liability is limited, it is a separate legal person when it comes to debts and liabilities, and it enjoys several tax incentives, among others.
How can a foreigner register a company?
A foreigner is not legally allowed to register a company on their own in Singapore. As such, they need to engage a director who resides in Singapore or hire a professional firm that specializes in providing business registration services to help them with the process. The experts will advise the foreigner on the requirements by the registrar of companies, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). They will also enlighten them on the various work passes that the foreigner can apply for to operate their business in Singapore as well as the incorporation documents that they will have to avail to the authorities.
Before applying to the ACRA for registration of a company, the following criteria must be met:
- At least 1 shareholder
- At least 1 resident or local director
- At least 1 company secretary
- Minimum initial paid-up share capital of $1
- A registered company office, which must be a local address
A foreigner would need a resident director to register a company in Singapore in any field. The people who are eligible to hold this position are either Singaporean citizen, a permanent resident, a holder of either an employment pass, or an entrepreneur pass (Entrepass). As a foreigner, you can apply for the Entrepass from the Ministry of Manpower (MoM). Once you get the Entrepass, you can self-incorporate your company in Singapore and act as its director.
For a hassle-free Entrepass application process, you should work with a reputable and experienced agent. To get in touch with one of these firms, you can check the details here on how to reach them and all will be smooth.
Another approach that a foreigner would use to register a company in Singapore is to hire the services of a nominee director and appoint a company secretary. The company secretary will spearhead the process of obtaining your employment pass from the MoM. Once you have an employment pass, you can take over from the nominee director to hold the position of the director of your company. But if you have no interest in working in Singapore, you don’t have to get any pass.
Process of company registration in Singapore
During the registration process, you must complete two procedures: approval of the company name and the registration with ACRA. As the company founder, you need to furnish your incorporating agent several possible names for your proposed company so that they can check the availability of the name on the ACRA’s website. Picking the company name should be done cautiously since ACRA can reject a name if it is the same as another existing business, is offensive, blacklisted, or for other reasons. If the name is approved, it is reserved for use within 60 days after paying the specified amount. If you wish to prolong the name reservation period, you will have to pay an extra fee. It is advisable to settle on a name that can make people know what you deal with and is effective as a domain name of your company’s website.
Having all of the relevant registration documents and a registered company name, the incorporating agent acting for you is ready to apply ACRA for the registration of the company in Singapore.
Documents required from foreigners for incorporation
Foreigners needs to submit the following documents to their agents for incorporation:
- Business activity description
- Articles and Memorandum of Association
- Copies of passports
- Proof of overseas residential address
- Bank reference letter
- Personal profile
- Business profile
- Particulars of the company secretary, directors, and shareholders
Once the registration process is done successfully, ACRA will send an email with all of the relevant details of the company. The agent can get the hardcopy for the founder(s) upon payment of the required fee. The foreigner registering the company can then do several things like opening corporate bank accounts and other activities before starting to operate.
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