How to Register a Company in Singapore

The World Bank’s “Doing Business” Annual Report evaluates the ease of doing business in over 190 countries. It has consistently ranked Singapore at the top.  It’s no wonder then that unlike in other countries, Singapore company registration is free of red tape.

You deal with one entity; The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) which acts as the Company Registrar for the entire process. ACRA is a statutory board under the Ministry of Finance of the Singapore Government. It is the national regulator of business entities, public accountants and corporate service providers in Singapore.

There are rules and requirements as per the Companies Act, Chapter 50 that you have to fulfil to register your company. If you plan to set up a business in the City-State, this guide breaks down how to register a company in Singapore. It includes types of companies, the process, requirements and other considerations to make things easier for you.

Why Register a Company in Singapore?

But first things first; why Singapore and not any other country? Other factors that make the Asian nation an excellent place to invest include:

  1. An investor-friendly tax regime (no dividend or capital gains taxes )
  2. Affordable tax rates (low corporate and personal tax rates)
  3. No restrictions on foreign ownership
  4. State of the art communication facilities
  5.  An advanced road transport system
  6.  Availability of skilled labour
  7. Flexible immigration policies
  8. Political stability
  9. No exchange control in Singapore.

Many multinationals continue thriving in the city due to the relaxed business environment. When approaching the company registration in the company, it pays to understand the steps required in advance. The best Singapore company registration services break down this process for you and guide you through it till you receive your certificate.

Consider Type of Businesses

ACRA allows the following types of businesses for registration:

  • Private Limited Company (Pte. Ltd.)
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Take your time to determine the best business structure to maximize tax benefits.

Requirements for Singapore Company Registration

  1. Company name: Propose and reserve a suitable name and submit a name application via ACRA’s electronic filing and information retrieval system
  2. Director: Need at least one director who is above 18 years old and either Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident or EntrePass holder. Must not have been disqualified to hold a directorship locally or elsewhere. At all times, you will need at least one locally resident director.
  3. Shareholders:  1 – 50 shareholders (can be an individual/ legal entity like a trust or another company. The law allows 100% foreign ownership of Singapore companies.
  4. Initial Paid-Up Capital: Minimum paid-up/share capital is S$1
  5. Registered Local Address: must be located in Singapore
  6. Company Secretary: Appoint at least one company secretary. They help directors to prepare and file all necessary documentation to keep the company compliant. This should be within six months from the registration date of the company.

Working with one of the established company incorporation services in Singapore can help smooth the process. There’s indeed no bureaucracy but maneuvering all the steps and compiling all documents requires an experienced professional.  

Company Registration Process in Singapore

Now that you understand the requirements for company registration in Singapore, it’s time to start the process. Here are the steps:

Get ACRA’s Approval for Your Company Name

Getting your company name approved by ACCRA is the most critical step to start the company registration process. To increase the chances of name approval, choose a unique, meaningful and easy-to-read name. It should be devoid of the vulgar or obscene word. Also, avoid names that infringe on copyright.

For terms such as Bank,” “Finance,” “Educational,” “Media” you might need further approval for your company. Using a company incorporation service at this point can help a lot. You can provide at least three names for the company to check with ACRA.

After company name approval, ACCRA automatically reserves it for you for 60 days from the date of application. Your incorporation service can request an extension if you can’t manage to register your business within this time.

Preparing Documentation

You need the following documents to set up your business:

  • Particulars of shareholders, directors, and company secretary
  • Company constitution 
  • Brief description of activities & SSIC Code
  • Company name
  • For residents (Scanned copy of Singapore NRIC (front and back) and Proof of address
  • For non-residents (Scanned copy of passport, Proof of overseas address (such as a utility bill or bank statement)
  • Memorandum & Articles of Associations for Foreign Companies
  • Share capital details

Submitting Company registration Application

Once you have all the documents and your company name has been approved, the next step is to visit BizFile+ (ACCRA’s electronic filing and information retrieval system).

If your application is successful, you’ll receive an email confirmation that includes the company registration number. A soft copy of this is the official certificate of incorporation in Singapore. For a hard copy of your certificate, you can make a request online, and a nominal fee applies.

Final Thoughts

Registering a company in Singapore is one of the smartest investment decisions you can make. When you partner with the best Singapore company registration company, you learn everything about the process including tax benefits, immigration policies, registration process, fees, documentation, and so much more.