Entrepreneur Pass in Singapore
While foreign professionals can work in Singapore on an Employment Pass or Personalised Employment Pass, foreign entrepreneurs who are shareholders in their Singapore company and wish to relocate to Singapore must apply for an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass). Entrepreneur Pass visa program in Singapore has gone through a drastic tightening over the last few years. Whereas in the past, anyone with an entrepreneurial background, small capital, and a reasonable business plan was likely to be granted the pass, nowadays, the applicant must satisfy a range of additional requirements including third-party funding, ownership of the relevant intellectual property asset, and others conditions.
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The EntrePass is one of the several types of work visas in Singapore. This article will discuss the eligibility criteria, application process, renewal and cancellation guidelines for the EntrePass.
What is the EntrePass?
The Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) is a visa applicable to foreign entrepreneurs who wish to launch their startup in Singapore and relocate to the country to run it. The validity of the Pass is up to 1 year. To be eligible for the EntrePass, the candidate must fulfill the criteria outlined by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.
A candidate must apply for an EntrePass either before formation of the company or within a period of 6 months from the date of registration of the company. After 6 months, the entrepreneur should apply for Employment Pass instead.
A foreign national is eligible to apply for the EntrePass if:
- The candidate has or intends to set up a private limited company registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore. If the company is already registered, the company must not be more than 6 months old on the date of application.
- The minimum paid-up capital of the company must be S$50,000, and
- The candidate must hold at least 30% of the share capital of the company.
The private company set up by the candidate must fulfill at least one of the following requirements:
- The company must be funded by a Government-accredited VC or business angel.
- The company must hold an intellectual property asset.
- The company must have a research collaboration with A*STAR or a university.
- The company must be an participant at a Government-supported incubator.
You can find additional details of these requirements here.
Businesses that are not eligible for the EntrePass
Coffee shops, food courts, massage parlours, bars, night clubs, employment agencies, etc are not eligible for the EntrePass. The complete list of businesses not eligible for the pass is listed on the MOM website.
How to Apply?
A candidate or someone on behalf of the candidate has the authority to apply for the EntrePass. The MOM outlines the following steps for the EntrePass application:
- A candidate must submit the EntrePass application form along with supporting documents.
- On approval of the application, the MOM will issue an in-principle approval letter. A candidate must register the company (if not already registered) with ACRA within one month of the receipt of the letter.
- The EntrePass must be issued within 6 months of the in-principle letter.
- The candidate must register fingerprint and photo on the issuance of the EntrePass.
- The MOM will deliver the card to the address mentioned in the application.
When applying for the EntrePass the following documents must be submitted:
- Copy of the personal particulars page of candidate’s passport;
- Past employment testimonials; and
- A business plan stating the entrepreneur’s business idea, market analysis, market plan, products or services to be offered, etc.
Note that if at the time of application, the business is already registered with ACRA, the candidate will have to submit a copy of the company’s latest profile (as available on the ACRA website) and a bank statement showing the required minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000.
Renewal, Cancellation and Replacement of the Pass
Renewal of the Pass
An EntrePass holder can apply for renewal of the pass 3 months before its expiry. One of the renewal criteria is that the EntrePass holder must follow the original business plan submitted to the Ministry at the time of application. To renew the pass, the holder must also ensure that the local jobs created in Singapore and the total business spending are as follows:
|Years you have held the EntrePass||Local jobs created||Minimum Total spending (SGD)|
|5 or more||10||400,000|
If you meet the renewal criteria you can fill in the renewal form and submit it to the Work Pass Division of the MOM. The renewed pass is valid for a period of 1 year.
Cancelling the Pass
An EntrePass holder, a representative of a company or an employment agent can cancel the EntrePass. The pass must be cancelled and returned within a period of 1 week of closing the business.
Replacing the Pass
If an EntrePass card is stolen, lost or damaged, either the pass holder, a company representative or an employment agent can apply for a replacement within a period of 7 days. If an EntrePass holder’s card is stolen, he or she has to file a police report.
An EntrePass holder needs to notify the MOM in case of changes which include a change in any of the following:
- A business activity;
- Candidate’s personal details, residential address, company address;
- Company name and financial information and
You can find additional details of how to notify these changes and the timeline applicable to these changes on the MOM website.
Passes for the Family of the EntrePass holder
- Common-law spouse.
- Unmarried and legally adopted children under the age of 21 years.
- Unmarried handicapped children above the age of 21 years.
- Unmarried step-children under the age of 21 years.
An EntrePass holder can bring a family member to Singapore only on successful renewal of his or her pass. This implies that an EntrePass holder cannot bring a family member on the first application. Additionally, to bring a family member to Singapore the EntrePass holder must ensure that he or she fulfills the total business spending and job creation criteria as set out by the Ministry.
If you are a foreign entrepreneur looking to register and run a company in Singapore, you will need to apply for the EntrePass. Please keep in mind that when applying for the EntrePass, the MOM will not only review your application but also the business plan that you are required submit. To ensure that your business plan and application is in line with the requirements of the Ministry, it is best to take the assistance of a corporate services provider who can help with the application process, drafting the business plan and the renewal process.