Business Incorporation

Business owners are always looking at ways to improve their bottom line and this may involve optimising their marketing channels, sales processes, and operations. Take advantage of the favourable business environment, processes, and international networks by setting up a company in Singapore and enjoy attractive financial benefits along the way.

Grab the opportunities to grow your business in Singapore with IASG!

Establish A Business Presence in a Globally Competitive Economy.
Seamlessly.

1 st
easiest location in the World to do Business
1 nd
in Asia for Innovation
1 rd
in World Competitiveness Ranking (1st in Asia)
0 days
to set up — 17x faster than regional average
S$ 1
minimum share capital to Register a Business
0 K+
Total Live Registered Entitites
1
New Business Formations in 2022
0 M
Total Labour Force
US$ 1 B
Gross Domestic Product (2021)
0 %
GDP Growth 2022 (Q3)

Looking for a one-stop solution to incorporate or expand your business to Singapore? Look no further. Regardless if you are a seasoned business professional or a budding entrepreneur, IASG is at a position to best advice you on the various options available to establish a foothold for your business in Singapore.

Consistently ranked as one of the World’s Most Competitive and easiest economies to do business, Singapore is the perfect gateway to Asia and the World. Setting up in Singapore is seamless and efficient for Small to Medium Enterprise owners as well as Large Corporate Multinationals.

Setting up a business, especially if you are a non-Singaporean, requires that you be familiar with the policies and systems in place. As such, it may be worthwhile to engage the services of a professional firm that has the relevant track record and expertise. After business incorporation, it is also critical that you continue to receive best-in-class immigration advisory. This ensures that your business complies with local immigration laws and policies and you are well positioned to operate optimally.

Singapore as a Business Hub

Why do Smart Businesses Choose Singapore?

As a gateway to ASEAN and Asia, many companies have settled on Singapore not only for their expansion, but also for their operational headquarters.  This can be attributed to Singapore’s attractiveness for:

Business-friendly environment
Having a stable government and political climate
Supportive government policies (Taxation, Laws and Intellectual Property rights etc.)
Diverse talent pool with the right expertise
Access to fast growing markets in the region.
State of the art infrastructure and connectivity
Good quality of life

In a series of national ministerial broadcasts on Singapore’s post-COVID-19 future, Singapore Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong reaffirmed how “Singapore is well placed to connect to the new channels and flows”.  Further, he added that the Singapore government will be “Digitising both private and public sectors, building R&D and innovation capabilities”. They will be committed to “Retain and Attract talent, and making investments to contribute to the economy”.

Singapore has what it takes for your business to thrive. 

With its pro-business environment and laws, Singapore has established itself as a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting organizations both small and large as the choice destination to relocate. In 2020, with Covid-19 globally impacting the world, it was widely reported how Singapore has yet again proven its efficiency. Most recently in July 2022, Singapore ranked 3rd World’s most competitive economy (1st in Asia) in the latest edition of the Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) World Competitiveness Ranking.

Regardless of whether you are a corporate or individual investor, as one of the world’s easiest places to do business, setting up in Singapore can be seamless and efficient when you work with the right partners.

Singapore Immigration Roadmap

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Current Goal

  • Business Incorporation + Apply Relevant Work Pass (as employee or as Director)
Documents and Folder

Key Steps to Setting up your Business in Singapore

Your business journey into Singapore starts here. The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) acts as the Company Registrar and will regulate the entire Singapore company registration process in accordance to the Companies Act. 

Business owners must fulfill all compliance requirements. Cut through the clutter by engaging IASG to help you get your operations up and running in the shortest possible time.

Step 1: Deciding which is the right business structure for you

There are several types of business structures that can be set up in Singapore. Whether you’re running the business on your own or with partners, choose the structure that best suits you with short to middle term future plans in mind. In general, common company structures include:

  • Private Limited Company (Pte. Ltd.): A business form which is a legal entity separate and distinct from its shareholders and directors.
  • Sole Proprietorship: A business owned by one person
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): A partnership where the individual partner’s own liability is generally limite

The most common type in Singapore, especially for Foreigners, is the Private Limited Company.

Other options that may be relevant for Foreigners include :

  • Transfer of Registration / Re-Domiciliation: Transfer a foreign entity registration to Singapore (re-domiciliation). Foreign entity will become a Singapore company and is required to comply with the Companies Act.
  • Branch Office: A foreign company can choose to set up a branch in Singapore. Unlike a local entity with its own legal personality and liabilities, a branch is an extension of its head office incorporated overseas. Liabilities of the branch office will be extended to its parent company and the branch office is not eligible for tax incentives.
  • Representative Office: A temporary arrangement for conducting market research and feasibility studies. Businesses may use this option to assess Singapore’s business environment before setting up permanently in Singapore. Such an entity cannot generate income or solicit usiness. Should the business decide to continue its presence, a legal business entity registration with ACRA is necessary.
  • Single Family Office (SFO): Conducts various activities to facilitate the day-to-day management of a family’s assets that includes tax filing, management of the family’s investments and consolidation of the family’s accounts.

Click here to understand more about the different types of companies.

Step 2: Coming up with a Suitable Name for your Business

Shortlist 3 Names of your liking / relevant to your nature of business and IASG will assist to check its availability. The proposed company name cannot be identical to an existing business entity or contain prohibited and undesirable words.

You will have higher chances of getting the name you want by keeping the following things in mind:

  1. Unique, meaningful, easy to read
  2. Devoid of vulgar / obscene words
  3. Does not infringe copyrights / trademarks
  4. For inclusion of the ‘Singapore’ in the company name, it will have to be bracketed. Example : ABC (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Higher Approval required if name contains words like “Bank,” “Finance,” etc.

Step 3 : Preparing Documentation & Information for Business Registration

After the approval of the company name, the company registration ensues. If all your documents are in order, this process can be accomplished fairly quickly. You will need to prepare the following documentation in clear and sharp formats:

  • IASG Company Profile Form to determine your Financial Year End, Shareholding Structure & Share Capital etc
  • Foreigners – Copy of passport and residential address proof
  • Singapore Residents – Copy of the Singapore identity card (NRIC)
  • Particulars of shareholders
  • Particulars of directors

Step 4 : Opening a Corporate Bank Account

With the business successfully incorporated, opening a corporate bank account is a must for Companies however it is optional for Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships and Limited Partnerships. A corporate bank account keep your business expenses separate from personal savings and helps track business cash flows, for accountability and filing taxes.

For Foreign Directors, the next step is to secure a relevant Work Pass such as an Employment Pass (EP) to officially run the business physically from Singapore or to proceed with the necessary Recruitment.

How Does IASG Help?

IASG will front the entire business registration process so as to get your business operational in the shortest possible time. This includes :

  • Conducting an Initial profiling
  • Advisory on local laws and policies necessary for foreigners registering businesses in Singapore
  • Registration of company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore
  • Preparation of all necessary documentation
  • Opening of Corporate Singapore Bank Account
  • Work Pass Applications (Employment Pass , Personalised Employment Pass (PEP), Dependant’s Pass)

Relocation Services

The decision to migrate to another country (for career or personal) is a big one. It is a life-changing experience for the family you are leaving behind and the ones that come along. Depending on the destination, making hard changes in living environments and lifestyles are to be expected. Other factors to contend with include language differences, business environment, government policies, as well as social structure and acceptance.

For a country like Singapore — consistently awarded Most Competitive Economy in Asia to do Business and Safest to Raise a Family — the systems and infrastructure built over time comes at a cost. Sound policies and processes in place are the backbone of such efficiencies and as such, you will need all the help you can get to ensure a smooth transition. To ease the move, Immigration@SG (IASG) offers a full-suite of critical service solutions to navigate you pass the finish line:

  • Home Search & Rent/Purchase: Whether you are planning to rent or purchase, we can help you look for a property based on your requirements such as proximity to workplace and/or amenities, price range, and type of property. This can be done before you arrive in Singapore or shortly after.
  • School Search & Registration: If you are relocating with your family, we can assist in searching for schools for your children to enrol in and register them for the school year.
  • Packing & Moving: All of your belongings that you plan to move to Singapore will be handled with proper packing and moving from your origin country.
  • Storage Solutions: While you finalise your permanent home in Singapore, we can help move your belongings into a secure storage temporarily. We can also help if you need a more permanent storage as well.
  • Pet Relocation: Moving your pets requires some permission and documentation from the Singapore authorities. We can help move your beloved pets safely to Singapore with proper processes.

Enquire with us for any relocation services should you need it or if what you are looking for is not listed here. We will try our best to assist.

FAQs

Foreigners are allowed to register businesses in Singapore but it can be difficult to set up a new company in Singapore by themselves. Hiring a local business registration provider like IASG can ease up the process significantly. However, foreigners will eventually require a valid Singapore work visa or pass to run the newly incorporated business.

However, if all the partners or directors running the registered business do not reside in Singapore (either at the point of or after registration), at least 1 authorised representative or a Nominee Director must be appointed.

The Nominee Director must be:

  • A resident or Citizen of Singapore;
  • At least 18 years of age; and
  • Of full legal capacity

You can either incorporate your business on your own or save the hassle by engaging a local business registration provider like IASG. The steps to incorporate the business have already been simplified in the page above.

There are many reasons to incorporate your business in Singapore. In short, business owners love Singapore because of its :

  • Ease of conducting business
  • Suitable business environment
  • Strong connections with the rest of Asia and global
  • Stable political and government environment
  • High quality of living and life

It is entirely legal for local residents (Singapore Citizens and PRs), however, it automatically elevates you to the status of a Sole Proprietor and your business activities are taken to be that of a sole proprietorship. This has legal and financial implications that might be disadvantageous. If you are a foreigner, it is illegal to run a business without registering in Singapore. Foreigners looking to earn an income in Singapore must hold on to a valid Work Pass such as an employee or a director of their own company.

Registering a business has several advantages as it offers your business activities legal protection, credibility, branding, as well as limiting your liability (depending on the business structure).

Registration is done through ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Authority), the company registrar administrating and authorising all business registrations. Registration can be done in-person or online.

Incorporation can be processed fairly quickly (as fast as 2 business days or average within 1-2 weeks) if all the documentation are in place and if the business directors, shareholders are of a generally clean background. Those that are politically exposed may require additional time to complete the required due diligence.

Cost ranges depending on the suite of services required, the level of strategic involvement, or on the complexity of the business. Incorporating a Family Office or a Venture Capital Company will cost more than a standard Private Limited Company.

Over the counter agencies cost less because the service will be transactional in nature. Those that seek customised and strategic approaches will find value working with more specialised firms such as IASG.

You can incorporate your business at any time of the year. There are no disadvantages or preferences for a given particular window of time. It may however be beneficial to time the application in tandem with your business moves and plans or to take advantage of grants and incentives.

It is entirely legal for local residents (Singapore Citizens and PRs), however, it automatically elevates you to the status of a Sole Proprietor and your business activities are taken to be that of a sole proprietorship. If you are a foreigner, it is illegal to run a business without registering in Singapore. Foreigners looking to earn an income in Singapore must hold on to a valid Work Pass such as an employee or a director of their own company.

At most, you can only start your business in the form of conducting preliminary research or legwork leading up to the formal incorporation. Such work should not be revenue generating in nature.

Any nationality can attempt to incorporate a company in Singapore, however if you are politically exposed or come from a sanctioned country, additional due diligence will be done prior. Should you fail the due diligence, depending on circumstances, appealing would be futile.

Yes, Malaysians can register a company in Singapore. However if you are politically exposed, additional due diligence will be done prior. Should you fail the due diligence, depending on circumstances, appealing would be futile.

Singapore relies on its pro-business mentality. It is easy because there is a central authority governing and administrating the process (ACRA). Coupled with efficient online infrastructure and an adept workforce, processes in place are designed to assist business owners to start running their business in the quickest time possible.
Yes, however the Singapore company must also appoint a local Nominee Director. A Nominee Director can be someone the Director knows personally or one can be appointed for the Director. A Nominee Director will not have any say in the running of the company however a Deed of Indemnity will have to be agreed on prior to incorporation to protect the rights of the Nominee Director.

The process is the same as incorporating any company in Singapore via ACRA. You can either incorporate on your own or engage a local business registration provider like IASG.

Yes, all companies that wish to conduct business physically in Singapore must register an entity with ACRA. Depending on the nature of your business, there are different types of companies that can be opened.

Yes however the Singapore company must also appoint a local Nominee Director. A Nominee Director can be someone the Director knows personally or one can be appointed for the Director. A Nominee Director will not have any say in the running of the company however a Deed of Indemnity will have to be agreed on prior to incorporation to protect the rights of the Nominee Director.

Non-residents can however be Shareholders of the company without holding on to a Director position.

Incorporation can be processed fairly quickly (as fast as 2 business days or average within 1-2 weeks) if all the documentation are in place and if the business directors, shareholders are of a generally clean background. Those that are politically exposed may require additional time to complete the required due diligence.

Yes, the company will require at least one director who is either a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident. If neither are readily available, a Nominee Director will be assigned for a fee.

Yes, successfully registered businesses will be issued with the relevant registrations and certificates as proof of business registration. Such registrations can also be purchased via ACRA’s website for a fee.

The steps to incorporate the business have already been simplified in the page above.

Singapore has a thriving startup community thanks to progressive and supportive government policies and sound infrastructure. As at mid 2022, Singapore houses more than 9,300 start-ups and 12 unicorn companies (start-ups that have valuations of US$1 billion & above).
Incorporating the business is fairly straightforward and simple and is often the first step. The success of the business ultimately depends on several factors including having a well-researched plan, a resilient business process, sound strategy and decision making, as well as the drive of its Directors and employees.

The documents required are:

  • IASG Company Profile Form to determine your Financial Year End, Shareholding Structure & Share Capital etc
  • Foreigners – Copy of passport and residential address proof
  • Singapore Residents – Copy of the Singapore identity card (NRIC)
  • Particulars of Shareholders
  • Particulars of Directors

Set Up Your Business in Singapore via IASG!

Take advantage of Singapore’s attractive economic and political environment today! Let us help you get started. Book a consultation with us today!