Home Business Insights & Advice How can a foreigner start a business in Singapore?

How can a foreigner start a business in Singapore?

by Sponsored Content
6th Dec 21 10:14 am

Starting your business in Singapore is a good idea. You can gain benefits from the country’s tax system and policies, especially many schemes to reduce the payable tax.

Incorporation procedure in Singapore is also very fast and simple. You can establish your business in Singapore within a few steps and in a short period of time.

1. Choose the type of business entity

There are many kinds of companies in Singapore. The most common ones are sole proprietorship, partnership, private company limited by shares, and public company limited by shares. 

You are highly recommended to register a private company limited by shares (or private limited company for short).

A Singapore private company limited by shares has a separate legal status, which allows it to enter contracts and apply for loans in its own name. The members will have liability limited only to their owned shares. Also, a private limited company can be eligible for many exclusive tax-cut schemes and policies. Most other business types, including sole proprietorship and partnership, do not have all of the above advantages. 

2. Use Singapore company incorporation services

According to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), to register a company in Singapore as for a foreigner, you need to have an agent submit the application on your behalf.

There is another reason why you should aim for a Singapore company incorporation service. That is it can help you satisfy all the incorporation requirements,, including:

  • Having a director who locally resides in Singapore
  • Having a registered office address in Singapore
  • Appointing a corporate company within 6 months of incorporation
  • Appointing an auditor within 6 months of incorporation

If your company is a small company, it will be exempted from the auditor requirement. With a nominee director and secretary services, a service provider covers most things you need.

3. Provide the required documents

The service provider will be the one who is going to register the company on your behalf. The first thing you need to do is tell them the company name. 

There are some guidelines that you should follow:

  • The name should be unique 
  • The name should violate copyright law or convey bad and offensive meaning.

Then, you need to provide the service provider with other required documents. They include:

  • A short description of your company’s business activity
  • Detail of the local office address in Singapore
  • Details of the directors, including the local director
  • Details of the company secretary (if any)
  • Details of the shareholders of the company (address proof for individuals and registration certificates for corporations)

Upon the receipt of the required documents, the service provider will continue to file and submit the application to ACRA. In most cases, the processing time is only 1 day. However, the time may be extended to a couple of weeks if your application needs further examination from another government agency.

If your application is approved by ACRA, you will receive an email to inform you that your company is successfully registered in Singapore. Attached to this email will be a business profile and unique entity number of your company. 

4. Open a corporate bank account

To make transactions and receive payments in its own name, your company needs a corporate bank account. Having a bank account from a world-class banking system in Singapore can improve your company’s image significantly. Most incorporation service providers can further support you to open a bank account for an additional fee. You can consult them to choose the best-fit banking option. Recommended ones are DBS, UOB, and OCBC. Note that each bank will have each set of conditions for an account opening, that’s why you should use a service to better instruct you and minimise the rate of rejection. 

5. Move to Singapore

You can manage a Singapore company from your home country. Or you will move to Singapore and directly run your company.

You can do that by getting an Employment Pass, a pass for foreigners to work for Singapore companies in high positions. So, this means your company will hire you as a director. At the time you come to Singapore and take on the position, you will be considered a director who is locally resident in Singapore.

In summary

Starting a business in Singapore is a common choice for entrepreneurs around the world thanks to the pro-business environment. Despite plenty of benefits magnetising foreign investors, the company incorporation process is still lengthy and may confuse you as a new-comer. 

Choosing a trusted service provider will relieve you from the related stress and have more time to focus on building your business in Singapore. 

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