Singapore is one of the countries which offer a favorable environment for starting a business. Local residents and foreigners, 18 years old and above, can register a company in Singapore, as long as it is in compliance with the existing regulations and requirements for companies. It is recommended to seek the services of a professional firm when incorporating a business especially for foreign entrepreneurs because Singapore law doesn’t allow foreigners to self-register a company.
Most private companies in Singapore are registered as private limited liability companies. Aside from being limited to only 50 shares, this type of company limits the liabilities of the shareholders to the amount of share they have in the company. Beyond the value of their shares, they will not be made accountable for the company’s debts.
Company registration in Singapore or converting an existing business to a company in Singapore is quick and efficient because of the fully computerized system. The fastest that a company can be incorporated is 1-2 days. Now, what is the procedure to incorporate a company in Singapore? The following lists the important steps.
- Know the eligibility requirements. Before registering a private limited company (Pte Ltd) at the Singapore Registrar of Companies, there are certain things that must be considered. The company must:
Have at least one director who must be a Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident, an Employment Pass holder or Dependent Pass holder
Have at least one shareholder who may also be the director
Have a business name which is not identical to any other registered business name, not obscene or vulgar or reserved
Have a local address for the place of business which must not be a PO box.
Know its SSIC (Singapore Standard Industry Classification) code which is necessary for categorizing the business
Not have medisave liabilities or have made payment arrangements.
- Get approval for a company name. At least prepare two to three possible business names when filing the application at the Company Registrar. In case your first or second choice is already registered or doesn’t get approved, you’re ready with another option.
This process usually takes less than an hour until you get a notification of approval or rejection. However, if additional approval from other government authority is necessary, the approval may take a few days or weeks. The latter is often the case with company names associated to banks, finance, media and law.
- Register the company. After the company name has been approved, you need to incorporate your company within 60 days.
File the incorporation request together with the incorporation documents such as the Memorandum and Articles of Incorporation which are signed by the director/s and shareholders of the company. Pay the registration fee of S$300 to the Singapore Registrar of Companies.
Registration of companies may also be done through the Online Business Licensing Service or OBLS. This is advantageous for companies, such as private schools, childcare centers and video companies, which need additional permits and licenses. The registration and application for such permits and licenses are done at one go through OBLS.
After the ACRA or Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority approves your registration, there are additional things you need to do. These include appointing a company secretary within 6 months of incorporation, operating the registered office for at least 3 hours on weekdays, printing the registration number on letterheads, invoices, receipts, etc, opening a company bank account and holding the first Annual General Meeting of the company within 18 months of incorporation.
Eapac is a certified accountant and runs a company that specializes in company incorporation services in Singapore.