How to register a company in Singapore in 2022?
It’s a dream for many aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own business in a thriving country like Singapore.
It all comes down to the fact that Singapore is a fast-growing economy that supports new companies with better socio-economic policies, a cut-throat workforce, and a favorable business environment.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to set up a new company in Singapore.
But the process isn’t the same for local entrepreneurs and foreign investors who are trying to turn Singapore into the hometown of their business.
This detailed guide attempts to elucidate the step-by-step process of how to do company registration in Singapore.
For any Singapore citizens above 18 years old, the steps for incorporating a company in Singapore are as follows.
ACRA is a Singapore board, finance ministry-controlled board that stands for Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.
ACRA handles Singapore company incorporation requests and concerns.
As a first step in the incorporation of a company, you should come up with a company name that should comply with ACRA regulations.
Having a name that follows the standards gets approved quickly within a few hours.
Keep in mind the following criteria while generating a name by which everyone will address your company.
• It should be a unique name that any other company in Singapore shouldn't have.
• It shouldn’t be reserved for any other company.
• The name shouldn’t be inappropriate or offensive.
• The name shouldn’t possess any trademarks unofficially.
You can keep your name in reserve for 120 days till it gets passed down to someone else.
Now it’s time to define the structure and type of company. A company is classified as private or public based on the shareholders and how they raise funds.
A company with more than 50 shareholders is listed under public companies whether or not its shares are available for the general public to buy.
A company with less than 50 shareholders and those stocks that ain’t available to public consumption comes under the private company list.
Moving on, you should form your team of top operators or directors to run your business.
You can appoint both Singapore and foreign citizens, but the rule is to have at least one Singapore citizen as a director.
They can be residing in Singapore or possess a permanent work permit. Other than directors, you can also appoint the CEO and company secretary.
The secretary should be from Singapore, and they aren’t liable to hold shares of your company.
It’s important to find a place to run your company’s day-to-day activities, and that address must be submitted while processing your application.
It doesn’t have to be the place where you run the operations but the place where you store company-related documents.
The minimum amount to hold as paid-up capital in Singapore is SGD 1. This rule applies to both Singapore natives and foreign aspirants.
While applying, you must also submit the constitution document that comprises the following information.
• Objectives of your company and how you are planning to function
• Guidelines to operate
• Who are key personnel, and what rights and responsibilities do they behold
Singapore lays down straightforward and stress-free procedures for foreigners to set up a new company in Singapore.
Hiring a business registration company can reduce strenuous processes and red-tapism.
You can register your company as
• Private limited
• Sole proprietorship
• Limited liability partnership
As established already, the application submission process happens through ACRA. For that to happen, one requires a SingPass, which only Singapore nationals can obtain and possess.
So, your first step is hiring a professional registration service provider or company to sort your registration and onboarding.
As a foreigner, you are given the option of staying in your country while running a business in Singapore, properly setting up a branch/subsidiary, and hiring people from overseas.
You can appoint a nominee director in this case. The nominee director must be from Singapore.
Other steps and requirements to incorporating a company in Singapore are the same as when you will not locate your company in Singapore.
Additionally, you must also apply for an Employment pass/EntrePass that lets you run a business in Singapore.
In this case, you need to hire a local company that provides registration services to foreigners.
Following are some of the requirements you should be aware of.
Age: The person applying for company registration in Singapore must be 18 years old or above.
Registered company address: While registering, you must provide the local company address, which shouldn’t be a P.O box.
EntrePass: To run a company in Singapore while relocating here, you will require an EntrePass which your registration service provider can manage to obtain for you. You will be required to submit your business proposal plan and supporting documents like a passport copy.
Incorporation process: Once you have all the required documents, your service provider will proceed with registering your company on ACRA online.
The Singapore company incorporation process happens through ACRA’s online platform, where everything is computerized and automated.
So it offers a hassle-free experience to both native Singaporeans and Foreigners.
This is the step-by-step process that happens between coming up with your business plan and the purpose of incorporating your company in Singapore.
1. Find a business registration service provider whose packages meet your requirements if you are not from Singapore and looking to start/expand your business there.
2. Discuss your business plans and proposals with the registrar and support them while they proceed with their client verification.
ACRA requires every service provider to do KYC verification of their incoming clients based on their verification documents.
The list of stakeholders and key personnel backgrounds are verified thoroughly to ensure that the profile is legitimate.
3. Get the name you have chosen for your business approved by ACRA. For native Singaporeans, this will be the first step in the registration process.
Ticking off ACRA’s standards for naming can quicken the name approval process and get it done within an hour.
4. You will have to start the hiring procedure for directors and company secretary, of which one of the directors must be from Singapore.
The details of the key personnel are also handed over while doing the incorporation.
5. You must pinpoint the company's business activities, goals, and objectives. This activity ensures you choose the correct SSIC code while filling out the incorporation form.
Each business and industry has its code. You can view the most used codes here.
6. Proceed with filling and signing incorporation documents and gather other support documents to go with.
The required documents for every company type are given in the next section. Note that all documents must be in English or translated into English.
7. Once the officials properly scrutinize the required documents, the registration is officially over, and you are handed the certificate of incorporation.
In some cases, the verification process has been further transferred to another government agency to go through further.
ACRA demands the following documents from the applicant who wants to do company incorporation in Singapore.
You can find the latest accepted format and adapt it. This constitution is a document that contains your company’s core management, governance regulations, and power owned by directors, their decision-making authority, etc.
• Signed consent to act as a director for every director hired.
• Signed consent to act as a secretary for every secretary hired.
• Personal identification copy and address proof of stockholders and key personnel
Along with this, there are support documents that service providers typically enquire for.
These documents are for KYC verification purposes and vary based on the type of entity your company falls under.
• Basic support documents for companies of any category
• Passport copies
• Sources and documents related to their professional background
• Passport of the shareholders, directors, and other officers.
• Address proof supporting documents like a bank passbook or statement or driver's license.
• If any key personnel is from Singapore, then NRIC or residency card.
• Documents briefly discuss their professional qualifications or background, like CV, Resume.
Following documents have to be submitted for the corporate entity, that is a shareholder in your company.
• Company name, registration number, business activities, and paid-up capital collectively in a document called business extract.
• Registration certificate of the company provided by the jurisdiction’s registrar where the company is primarily located and registered.
• Authorization resolution documents include authorization to hold shares in Singapore and an authorized person's appointment to sign the authorization document on the company's behalf.
And finally, the Ownership structure chart should highlight the list of owners benefiting from the shareholding company.
Once you are done with company incorporation in Singapore, you will have to shift your focus to the following steps.
1. You will be issued the certificate of incorporation through your registered email address. For an additional fee of s$50, you can get a hard copy of this certificate.
2. Once the registration is completed, you can download your business profile by logging into ACRA’s online portal. There is a nominal fee of S$5.50. A business profile is a PDF document with your business-related information like registration number, company name, activities, shareholders, directors, secretary, and owner details.
3. You will have to start applying for a work visa for foreign employees hired to work at your Singapore office.
4. Setting up your corporate bank account. Setting up a corporate bank account is very easy in Singapore, given the availability of premium banking services. Not all banks require you to come down for the account creation process.
5. Investigate your office space and install wiring and electronics.
6. Applying for specific licenses if your business warrants it. E.g., hotel chain, employment agency, educational institution, import and export services.
7. Design and obtain the company seal and rubber stamps.
8. GST(Goods and Services Tax) and tax registration and obligations. Depending on your yearly turnover (if it’s over s$1 million), you will need to register for GST.
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