GUIDE: How to register a company in Singapore

This article was originally posted on   Want to register company in Singapore? This guide contains key facts on opening a company and doing business in Singapore – the requirements, procedures, and timelines.

How to start a business in Singapore?

To start a business in Singapore, you need to: 1. Select your desired business structure 2. Register your company with the Singapore Company Regulator ACRA 3. Set up your corporate bank account

What is ACRA?

ACRA refers to The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority which is a statutory board under the Ministry of Finance of the Singapore Government. ACRA is the national regulator of business entities, public accountants and corporate service providers in Singapore.

How long does it take to register a Singapore Company?

The timeline needed to register a new company can vary from a few hours to days. When working with a company secretary the timeframe is primarily determined by how quickly each shareholder and director can send to the company secretary their personal documentation for verification such as a proof of identification and residential address.

How much it cost to register company in Singapore?

How can a foreigner register a company in Singapore?

If you are a foreigner, you might not be aware of the regulations in Singapore. To understand each and every process can also take up a lot of time so to avoid the hassle, you are advised to hire a company secretary firm like Sleek who can help with their entire business registration process and also provide services such as nominee director and registered address. 

Registering a Singapore Company: high-level overview

  • Company name: We recommend having a shortlist of three in case your first choice isn’t available.
  • 1 or more directors: Directors must be individuals, aged 18 and above, who have not been disqualified to hold a directorship in Singapore or elsewhere.
  • 1 or more resident directors: At all time you will need at least one locally resident director. At the time of company registration this is someone who is a Singapore citizen, Permanent Resident, or holder of an EntrePass visa.
  • Between 1 – 50 shareholders: A shareholder can either be an individual or a legal entity like a trust or another company. Singapore permits 100% foreign ownership of Singapore companies.
  • Paid-up capital: The minimum paid-up/share capital for a company to register in Singapore is S$1. Any time post business registration, the share capital can be increased.
  • A registered address in Singapore: The address that is provided for the company must be located in Singapore. It must be a physical address and a P.O. Box will not be accepted.
  • Company secretary: Every company must appoint a company secretary. This individual will help the directors to prepare and file all necessary documentation to keep the company compliant.
  • Auditor: Unless the company has been exempted from audit (which is the case for most start-up companies), within 3 months of registration, every company must appoint an auditor.
Other helpful things to keep in mind when registering a company:
  • Company Name: Aside from the obvious strategic and brand value there are other considerations that may guide your choice of company name.
  • Tax Incentives: Many new companies in Singapore are eligible to receive appealing tax incentives and exemptions. This is one of the primary reasons that entrepreneurs from around the world prefer to form their Singapore company.
  • Business Activity Classification: At the time of incorporation every business in Singapore must select an SSIC code intended to describe their intended business activity. SSIC codes are used as a means Government Statistics purposes and some codes require the need for specific licenses. Stumped as to which SSIC code to pick for you company?
  • Licenses & Permits: Some SSIC codes, company name and business activities are restricted and require the application of a license prior to being able to conduct business. The good news is that Singapore has set up a business license portal that aims to deliver user-friendly and efficient licensing experience. For more information you can refer to  ACRA’s guidelines on restricted company activities.
  • Insurances: When starting a business in Singapore, it is important to think about what insurances your business may need. By having such protection in place, it will allow you peace of mind to run your business.
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