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Guide to Starting Your Business in Singapore

By FastLane Team, November 22, 2019 (10 mins)

Singapore is frequently touted as one of the easiest cities in the world to do business. Its geographic location, forward thinking economic policies, and international community make the city among the most desirable locations to start a business. But what exactly does it take, and what is the process to get your business started in Singapore?

 

Minimum Setup Requirements to Register a Company in Singapore

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Singapore is frequently touted as one of the easiest cities in the world to do business. Its geographic location, forward thinking economic policies, and international community make the city among the most desirable locations to start a business. But what exactly does it take, and what is the process to get your business started in Singapore?

 

Minimum Setup Requirements to Register a Company in Singapore

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Approved company name

Before incorporation, company names must first be approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”), the governing body for business incorporation in Singapore

 

Appoint a minimum of one Resident Director (Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident, or holders of Singapore work visa (EntrePass or Employment Pass)

 

Appoint a Company Secretary

A Company Secretary must be appointed within 6 months of your Singapore company’s registration (must be a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident, or holders of a Singapore work visa (EntrePass or Empoyment Pass)). It should be noted that sole directors and/or shareholders cannot act as the Company Secretary. In addition, private companies are not required to appoint a properly qualified person as a Company Secretary unless mandated by the Singapore Company Registrar, ACRA.

A qualified company secretary from another country can act as a company secretary of a Singapore company only if they are a Singapore Resident

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Appoint a Company Secretary

A Company Secretary must be appointed within 6 months of your Singapore company’s registration (must be a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident, or holders of a Singapore work visa (EntrePass or Empoyment Pass)). It should be noted that sole directors and/or shareholders cannot act as the Company Secretary. In addition, private companies are not required to appoint a properly qualified person as a Company Secretary unless mandated by the Singapore Company Registrar, ACRA.

A qualified company secretary from another country can act as a company secretary of a Singapore company only if they are a Singapore Resident

Possess a minimum of SGD 1 of share capital

The minimum amount of share capital required to incorporate a company in Singapore is only SGD 1. Additionally, the Singapore Government does not put restrictions on the currency to be used as share capital. Companies may register their share capital in any major currency, provided that the amount is equivalent to SGD 1.

Registered Address

Incorporated companies in Singapore must maintain a physical Singapore address as their registered address. The registered address cannot be a P.O. box. However, in the event that a residential address is chosen to be used as a business address, prior approval from Singapore’s Housing Development Board (for HDB flats) or the Urban Redevelopment Authority (for private properties) must be obtained

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Possess a minimum of SGD 1 of share capital

The minimum amount of share capital required to incorporate a company in Singapore is only SGD 1. Additionally, the Singapore Government does not put restrictions on the currency to be used as share capital. Companies may register their share capital in any major currency, provided that the amount is equivalent to SGD 1.

Registered Address

Incorporated companies in Singapore must maintain a physical Singapore address as their registered address. The registered address cannot be a P.O. box. However, in the event that a residential address is chosen to be used as a business address, prior approval from Singapore’s Housing Development Board (for HDB flats) or the Urban Redevelopment Authority (for private properties) must be obtained

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Documentation Required for Incorporation
  • Company Name and SSIC code
  • Brief description of business activities
  • Details of Shareholders, Directors and Company Secretary
  • Registered Office Address
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association

Incorporation Process – Steps

1. Name Reservation

The first step of incorporating a company in Singapore is to reserve a company name for your business. Company names are approved by the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”) with the process generally requiring only an hour to receive confirmation of approval.

 

Upon approval, company names are reserved for the applicant for a period of 120 days. It is recommended that incorporation be completed within this period.

 

There are broad guidelines for choosing an appropriate company name. Names which are identical to an already reserved name, identical to other registered business names or includes words that are “undesirable” are not allowed.

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1. Name Reservation

The first step of incorporating a company in Singapore is to reserve a company name for your business. Company names are approved by the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”) with the process generally requiring only an hour to receive confirmation of approval.

 

Upon approval, company names are reserved for the applicant for a period of 120 days. It is recommended that incorporation be completed within this period.

 

There are broad guidelines for choosing an appropriate company name. Names which are identical to an already reserved name, identical to other registered business names or includes words that are “undesirable” are not allowed.

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2. Register the Company

Upon the approval of your company name, the following registration process for companies in Singapore is simple and efficient! Typically, if all required documentation is in order (e.g., duly signed and certified), the registration process can be completed within one business day upon submission to ACRA.

 

Unfortunately, non-resident individuals cannot self-register a Singapore company. Non-residents should engage a professional firm to assist with their registration process.

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The following documents should be prepared for registering your Company

 

  • Company Name and SSIC code (a code that classifies the company’s business activity which can be searched for through ACRA’s)
  • Description of the company’s business activities
  • Details of the Shareholders, Directors and Company Secretary
  • Registered Office Address
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association

 

Singapore Residents should supply the following additional information

  • Scanned copy of Singapore’s National Registration Identity Card (both sides)

Non-Residents should supply the following additional information

  • Scanned copy of passport
  • Proof of overseas address
  • KYC documentation
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Singapore Residents should supply the following additional information

  • Scanned copy of Singapore’s National Registration Identity Card (both sides)

Non-Residents should supply the following additional information

  • Scanned copy of passport
  • Proof of overseas address
  • KYC documentation

Corporate Shareholders (if any) should supply the following additional information

  • Scanned copy of the Certificate of Incorporation
  • Scanned copy of Business Profile
  • Scanned copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Proof of address

Upon approval of a company name (which can be completed within 1 day), the assembled documents should be submitted to ACRA for their approval.

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Corporate Shareholders (if any) should supply the following additional information

  • Scanned copy of the Certificate of Incorporation
  • Scanned copy of Business Profile
  • Scanned copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Proof of address

Upon approval of a company name (which can be completed within 1 day), the assembled documents should be submitted to ACRA for their approval.

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3. Certificate of Incorporation

Upon successful registration of your company with ACRA, you will receive an auto-generated email stating your company’s registration number. This number serves as the confirmation of your successful incorporation

 

If printed copies of your official certificate of incorporation are desired, they can be purchased for a fee, and can be collected at ACRA’s office the next business day

 

Incorporation of a Singapore company is easy and efficient. The FastLane Group can help you complete your incorporation process within 2 business days! For assistance, please contact our regional corporate service team!



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