General information on registering a company in Singapore
Now that you have determined which type of business entity you should register your own business as you will have to go through the process of filing your registration papers with the Singaporean government. Singapore’s policies on registering a business is generally fairly simple and be completed very quickly, provided you are aware of and fulfill all of the key requirements and have all the necessary documents at hand. In order to make sure you are perfectly prepared for this registration process and make everything go smoothly we will provide you with some general information and tips that you need to consider. If you follow and comply with all of the bullet points listed in this article you should not have any issues registering your new business within a matter of days.
A local address is mandatory to opening a business in Singapore
This address has to be a registered physical location within Singapore. PO Boxes or similar “work arounds” are not accepted in Singapore and will lead to your application being declined. If your company does not have it’s own physical company location in Singapore then your private residential address may be used as your business address, however, this will require the approval of the respective authorities of Singapore.
Make sure your company’s name registration is successful
Before going through the formalities of providing all the necessary papers and documentation to legally incorporate your business one of the first steps to complete will be registering your businesses name. In most cases this process can be completed within a single day. The key factors for a successful name registration are simple: your chosen company name can not be identical or too similar to any already registered company names and may not contain any offensive or sensitive words and phrases. In case your name registration gets rejected you can either file an appeal or change your chosen business name. In some cases, mostly if your company name implies a business activity that is regulated by the Singaporean government authorities (e.g. media, financial, bank), your name registration might be “referred” to the appropriate governing body for inspection before approval, this process may take a couple weeks.
The minimum financial investment at the time of your application is only S$1
The only officially required financial investment is a paid-up capital of 1 Singapore Dollar when registering your business. Obviously, the higher your paid-up capital at the time of your registration the better the chances that your request will be approved by the authorities, because a bigger investment will increase your future company’s credibility. If you are planning to relocate to Singapore under the so called Singapore Entrepreneur Pass you will be asked for a minimum paid-up starting capital of S$50.000 at the time of your registration. Despite some people claiming otherwise, it is important to note that a paid-up capital of S$50.000 is NOT necessary for foreign business people planning to relocate to Singapore on a Singapore Employment Pass, however, please note that we still recommended a solid paid-up capital at the time of registration in order to increase your chances of successfully applying for a Singapore Employment Pass. Paid-up capital is the amount of money that has been invested into the company by it’s shareholders that has been fully payed into the company’s account. This means that any sum of money that you state on your business registration form will be treated as paid-up capital and you are therefore expected to be ready to transfer this amount of money into your company’s account immediately. For convenience it is best to state this amount in Singapore Dollars, though any major currency is accepted by the authorities.
A business in Singapore needs to have at least one local resident director
In order to be eligible to take on this role the person must be a citizen or permanent resident of Singapore or a foreigner holding a Singapore Employment Pass or Singapore Entrepreneur Pass. Your Employment or Entrepreneur Pass should be granted through the same company that you want to serve as a local resident director for. In case you are a foreigner and do not hold the appropriate Pass to be eligible for this role and you do not have a Singaporean business partner or a trustworthy citizen to nominate for this role there are agencies that nominee local director service. They will nominate a local person to act as your local director for the sole purpose of satisfying Singapore’s legal requirements, however, this person will not be involved in any of your businesses matters. Most foreigners that do not plan to relocate to Singapore choose this kind of service.
Foreign and local entrepreneurs have the same rights and restrictions under Singapore law
Foreigner entrepreneur or entities can own 100% of a Singapore based company and no additional forms of approval are required by a foreigners for any business related actions. There are no special restrictions applying to foreigners owning or running a business based in Singapore. Legally, all local residents or citizens of Singapore and foreign entrepreneurs are treated identical in regards to all business related activities.
Keep all business related documents and records for at least 5 years
Singapore requires all companies to store any and all documents related to business transactions or financial activities for a minimum of 5 years. If your company ever faces any legal issues or the Singaporean authorities request any documentation regarding your business activities for whatever reason you are obligated to show a transparent record of your accounting activities going back at least 5 years. Failure to provide proof could potential cause a lot of trouble for your company and it’s credibility.