Register a Business in Singapore

More information on how to register a business in Singapore is stated below.

Business Start Up

Sole Proprietorship

A sole-proprietorship is a business owned by one person or one company. There are no partners. The sole-proprietor has absolute say in the running of the business.

Partnership

1) A partnership is a business firm formed by two to twenty partners. Once there are more than twenty partners, the partnership must be registered as a company under the Companies Act, Cap. 50.

2) Partnership including General Partnership (GP), Limited Partnership (LP) and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).

Requirements to Register a Business in Singapore

  1. Business Name: owners may choose any name of sole-proprietorship as long as the proposed name is not : a) undesirable (vulgar, offensive, obscene, prohibited); b)identical to the name of a business entity on the register; c)reserved under the Business Names Registration Act, the Companies Act, the Limited Liability Partnerships Act or Limited Partnerships Act; d) restricted i.e. a name which the Minister has directed the Registrar not to accept for registration e.g. Temasek
  2. Address : principal place of the business and any other place where the business is carried out. However, a P.O Box address is not allowable for business address.
    Using a home address as business address

    Under the Home Office Scheme, homeowners are allowed to conduct small-scale businesses using their residential premises. This scheme applies to both HDB and private properties.

    Application for approval under the Home Office Scheme can be submitted before or after business/company registration with ACRA.

  3. Local authorised representative: The Business Names Registration Act 2014 states that where an individual proprietor or all the partners of a firm do not reside in Singapore, the individual proprietor or firm must appoint at least one authorised representative.
    Who can be appointed as the local authorised representative?

    Authorised representative must be a) a natural person; b) at least 18 years of age; c) otherwise of full legal capacity; and d) ordinarily resident in Singapore.

  4. Owner and Partners
    Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents

    From 1 January 1994, all self-employed persons are required to top up their Medisave account with CPF Board before they register a sole-proprietorship or partnership, become the new partner of an existing sole- proprietorship or partnership, or renew their business registration. This requirement is only applicable to Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents.

    Foreigner

    A foreigner, who would like to register a Sole-Proprietorship in Singapore, is required to appoint a locally resident authorised representative whilst he continues to reside outside Singapore.

    If a foreigner wishes to register a Partnership in Singapore whilst he continues to reside outside Singapore, there must be a least a locally resident partner in the business firm. If all the partners are foreigners, a locally resident authorised representative must be appointed.

    Foreigners who wish to register a business in Singapore and be present in Singapore to manage its operations are strongly advised to seek approval from MOM before registration.

Company Set Up

Private Company Limited by Shares

A private company has a maximum number of shareholders limited to 50.

Exempt Private Company Limited by Shares

An Exempt Private Company (EPC) is a private company which has at most 20 shareholders and none of the shareholders is a corporation. It can also be a company the Minister has gazetted as an EPC (see section 4(1) of the Companies Act).

Public Company Limited by Shares

A public company limited by shares can have more than 50 shareholders. The company may raise capital by offering shares and debentures to the public. A public company must register a prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore before making any public offer of shares and debentures.

Public Company Limited by Guarantee

A public company limited by guarantee is one which its members contribute or undertake to contribute a fixed sum to the liabilities of the company by way of guarantee. It is commonly formed for carrying out non-profit making activities, such as for promoting art, charity etc.

Requirements for Business Registration in Singapore

  1. Director: Under the Companies Act, A company must have at least one director who is ordinarily resident in Singapore.
  2. Secretary: Every company must appoint a secretary within 6 months from the date of its incorporation; And the position of company secretary must not be left vacant for more than 6 months. The sole director of a company and the company secretary cannot be the same person.
  3. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) :It is not compulsory for a company to appoint a CEO. It is the company’s discretion to decide whether to appoint a CEO. Such a person may be appointed as both a director as well as a CEO. The officers of the company will be the director, secretary and the CEO, if the CEO is employed in an executive capacity.
  4. Auditor: A company shall appoint an auditor within 3 months from the date of its incorporation, unless it is exempted from audit requirements under Section 205B, or 205C, of the Companies Act.

Information Required to Register a Business in Singapore

  1. Proposed Company Name
  2. Company’s Activity
  3. Registered Office Address
  4. IC/Passport Copies, Residential Address, Email and Contact no. for Directors and Shareholders
  5. Share Capital and Shares Allotment

Foreign Company Set Up

Representative Office

Information Required For RO Set Up
  1. Foreign entity’s Certificate of Incorporation or Registration Certificate (as applicable) in softcopy as an attachment
  2. Foreign entity’s latest Audited Accounts in softcopy a an attachment

Branch of a Foreign Company

Information Required for Singapore Branch Set Up
  1. IC/Passport Copies, Residential Address, Email Address and Contact No. for local authorised representative and/or local director 
  2. Company’s activities
  3. Registered Office Address
  4. Certificate of Incorporation (Certified true copy)
  5. Memorandum and Articles (Certified true copy)
  6. Passport copy and residential address of ultimate beneficial owner (Certified true copy)

Subsidiary of Foreign Company

Information Required for Singapore Subsidiary

  1. Proposed Company Name
  2. Company Activities
  3. Registered Address
  4. IC/Passport Copies, Residential Address, Email Address and Contact No. of directors/shareholders
  5. Certificate of Incorporation (Certified true copy)
  6. Memorandum and Articles (Certified true copy)
  7. Register of members and directors (Certified true copy)
  8. Passport copy and residential address of ultimate beneficial owner (Certified true copy)

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Register a Business