Incorporating in Singapore?
That’s a smart choice.
Singapore is the best jurisdiction for incorporating a company.
Learn why and get a step-by-step guide to setting up a Singapore company.
Why incorporate in Singapore?
Here are a few of the many reasons…
Rated #1 in the world for ease of doing business
#1 foreign investment destination in Asia
Asia’s best Intellectual Property protection laws
Welcoming to foreigners, investors and entrepreneurs
No corruption, no red-tape and the rule of law prevails
Low taxes with no tax on dividends and capital gains
Extensive tax treaty network to prevent double-taxation
Generous government incentives for all new startups
World class physical infrastructure and excellent quality of life
What do you need to incorporate?
Minimum Requirements for a Private Limited Company
100% of the ownership of the company can be held by foreigners. If required, your corporate service provider can act as a nominee shareholder.
At least one director of your company must be a local resident of Singapore. If required, your corporate service provider can offer this service.
$1 Share Capital
A company can be incorporated with only S$1 of share capital. However, certain industry licenses may dictate a higher share capital
1 Company Secretary
Every Singapore company must appoint a secretary who is a local resident. If necessary, your corporate service provider can deliver this service.
Local Registered Address
Your company must have a local address in Singapore as its official address. If necessary, your corporate service provide can offer an address service for your company.
Those are all the requirements, there are no other hidden costs, requirements that you have to fulfill in order to setup your company.
Service Provider Can Assist
Your corporate service provider can help you meet one or more of these requirements as necessary.
To learn more, see our article on Legal Structure of a Singapore Company.
What’s the incorporation procedure?
A set of quick and simple steps.
Get name approved
Get your proposed company name approved from the Singapore company registrar.
Sign all of the incorporation documents (constitution, shareholder agreements, etc.).
The company is incorporated with ACRA, Singapore’s company registrar and gets its unique ID.
You are in business! Bank account can be opened. If required, licenses are obtained.
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Are the costs acceptable?
Make sure that you understand the one-time and on-going costs of operating a Singapore company and are comfortable with them.
Pick a company name
Select a few names you would like for your company. Follows the guidelines from Singapore company registrar. This will help speed up the name approval.
Get ID verification documents ready
Decide who will be the shareholders and officers. All such key persons have to provide documents for KYC and identification verification. You should get these documents ready.
Provide incorporation details
Fill out the incorporation form on the online platform and provide the required information about your new company.
Sign incorporation documents
Your service provider will prepare all the necessary documents for your review. If they are in order, sign and return them.
Get your new company
Your company will be incorporated by the service provider and you will receive the notification electronically.
Open bank account
You can proceed to open a bank account for your new company so that it can start accepting and making payments.
Obtain any business licenses
If you are in an industry that requires business licenses, work with your corporate service provider to obtain them.
That is all there is to starting a new company in Singapore. You are in business and hopefully making good money soon!
A good corporate service provider will hand-hold you through each of these steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can be the shareholders of a Singapore company?
Any individual aged 18 or above or a legal entity (such as another company or trust) can be the shareholder of a Singapore company. The shareholders can be local residents of Singapore or they can be foreigners. For a private limited company, a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 50 shareholders are allowed. A Singapore company can have 100% foreign shareholding i.e. all of its shareholders can be foreigners.
Who can be the director of a Singapore company?
Any local or foreign individual aged 18 or above can be the director of a Singapore company. However, individuals who are bankrupt or barred by Singapore authorities to act in the capacity of a director cannot take that role. The director cannot be a corporate entity. Furthermore, at least one of the directors must be a locally resident individual i.e. Singapore citizen, permanent resident, or work pass holder.
Who can be the company secretary of a Singapore company?
Any individual above the age of 18 who is a Singapore resident and understands Singapore company law can act as the company secretary.
What is the amount of minimum capital required to setup a Singapore company?
The minimum share capital required to register a Singapore company is only $1. It’s quite common to incorporate a company with the minimum share capital initially and then increase it as needed. Note that certain business licenses may require a higher share capital as part of the licensing requirements.
What documents are required to register a Singapore company?
The required documents for registration of a Singapore company can be grouped into two categories as follows.
Documents required by the Singapore company registrar (ACRA):
- Signed constitution of the company
- Signed Consent to Act as Director by each director
- Signed Consent to Act as Company Secretary by the company secretary
Documents required by your Corporate Service Provider:
- Identification documents for each of the shareholders and officers of the company
- KYC documents and information for each of the shareholders and officers of the company. Usually, these documents consist of residential address proof, bank reference letter, and professional resume.
How long does it take to register a Singapore company?
The company registration process in Singapore consists of 2 steps: name approval and incorporation. Both steps are conducted online and can be completed in a matter of minutes, assuming all details have been submitted correctly and the proper guidelines are followed.
As a foreigner, do I need to visit Singapore to register a Singapore company?
With our online platform, you do not need to visit Singapore. All necessary information is collected through our platform. However, you should note that you may have to visit Singapore when opening the bank account for your company. Most banks in Singapore prefer a face-to-face meeting with one or more key persons of the company before they open the bank account.
After incorporation, do I need to register with any other government bodies?
You will be impressed with how Singapore makes everything so simple, easy and efficient.
- Your company will be automatically registered with Singapore tax authority – Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
- When you hire your first local employee, you will have to register with pension fund authority Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB).
- There are no other registrations required with any other government bodies!
- A few business activities require a business permit or license in Singapore. If your company’s business does need a license, the requirements are always very clear-cut, application is filed on-line, and approval comes quickly.
How long does it take to open a corporate bank account in Singapore? What are the requirements to open such an account?
With the tightening of banking regulations worldwide, the Singapore banks now take a slightly longer time than they did in the past for opening new bank accounts. Now banks are required to conduct a thorough KYC due diligence process. As a result, the opening of a bank account can take 1-2 weeks. But with proper documents, there should be no problem in opening a bank account. A bank will typically require the following documents in order to open an account:
- Identification documents for company shareholders and directors e.g. passports
- Details of the ultimate beneficiary owners of the company, if different from the shareholders
- Details of company’s planned business activities, operations, and banking transactions
In addition, the bank will usually conduct a personal interview with one or more of the key persons of the company.
What are the ongoing compliance and filing requirements for Singapore companies?
The ongoing maintenance of a Singapore company is very straightforward. There are only two mandatory filings each year: Annual Return with Singapore company registrar and Annual Tax Filing with Singapore tax authority. For most of the private limited companies in Singapore, no other annual filings are required.
Can a foreign shareholder, director, or employee of a Singapore company relocate to Singapore?
Foreign staff of a Singapore company who are in professional or executive roles can relocate to Singapore by applying for a visa called Employment Pass. But note that the Employment Pass visa is not automatically granted; the application is subject to review and approval by Singapore government. However, individuals with good educational qualifications and professional experience usually do not face any issues in obtaining this visa.
If are listed as a shareholder of the company and you wish to relocate to Singapore within the first 6 months of company incorporation, you must apply for the more restrictive visa called Entrepreneur Pass. After 6 months from the date of the company’s incorporation, you are eligible to apply for Employment Pass visa.
To learn more about these various immigration options, see our guide on Singapore immigration options.