Singapore Company Incorporation with Paul Hype Page
Company Registration at Paul Hype Page Singapore

Many businesses in Singapore require the appropriate licenses before they may begin business operations. Among the businesses which require licenses are restaurants, telecommunications companies, real estate agencies, and shipping companies.

Business License in Singapore

Why Business Licenses Are Important

In Singapore, businesses in certain industries require licenses before business operations may commence. These licenses are required because the relevant government authorities have to pay closer attention to businesses in these industries for various reasons. Many foreign-owned or new startup companies may not be aware of their registration needs for the relevant Singapore business license. The agencies which issue the licenses needed for business operations depending on which industry is related to their business. Therefore, each business that requires a license needs to be licensed by different authorities. Some businesses need more a basic operating license. They may need specific permits, such as an environmental permit. Regulations vary by industry and profession. Therefore, it is crucial for business owners to understand the licensing rules for the industry related to their business. Failure to comply with regulations for licenses and permits can lead to expensive fines and jeopardize the future of a business.

License Permit

Businesses Which Require Licenses

In Singapore, all businesses in certain industries require official licenses before they may commence business operations. This is because the nature of these industries requires that they be placed under closer monitoring by the authorities. Among these businesses are hotels, recruitment firms, travel agencies, financial service providers, restaurants, shipping companies, event-organizing companies, telecommunications companies, and publishing companies. The following is a list of these businesses paired with the name of the license they require.

Business Incorporation License and Permit Application

Hotels – Hotel Keeper’s License
Recruitment firms – Comprehensive License / Select License
Travel agencies – Travel Agent License
Financial service providers – Capital Markets Services License / Financial Adviser’s License
Restaurants – Food Shop License / Liquor License (if applicable)
Shipping companies – Harbor Craft License / Port Limit Manning License / Ship Station License
Event-organizing companies – Arts Entertainment License / Public Entertainment License
Telecommunications companies – Many to choose from; which one is chosen depends on the business activity of the company
Publishing companies – Printing Press License

It is also worth noting that before one may obtain a license for a business, the business has to already have been incorporated. If such is not the case, the license cannot be obtained.

If your business has not yet been incorporated, we at Paul Hype Page & Co are able to assist you with this task. Our team of experts has considerable knowledge and understanding about company incorporation in Singapore. We will put this knowledge to use to ensure that the setup of your Singapore company takes place without any problems.

Other Specific Permits and Certificates Required

Businesses in certain industries might need a permit or certificate instead of a license before they may begin their business operations. Others may require a permit or certificate and a license. Those businesses which require both a permit or certificate and a license are typically in industries which are required to be regulated more tightly for various reasons. Among the businesses which require permits or certificates to operate are hotels, shipping companies, event-organizing companies, educational institutions, publishing companies, companies involved in importing controlled goods into Singapore, and companies involved in international trade. The following is a list of these businesses paired with the name of the permit they require.

Hotels – Certificate of Registration
Shipping companies – Port Clearance Certificate / Ship Registration Certificate / Launch a New Vessel Permit / Ship Sanitation Control Certificate
Event-organizing companies – Copyright Permit / Trade Fair Permit
Educational institutions – Singapore Quality Class Certification / EduTrust Certification
Publishing companies – Newspaper Permit
Companies involved in importing controlled goods into Singapore – IN Permit
Companies involved in international trade – IN Permit / OUT Permit

Just as is the case with licenses, only businesses which have already undergone the complete process of incorporation are allowed to receive permits or certificates.

Procedures of License Application

Everyone who intends to obtain a license for their business must apply for it by completing all the legally required steps. The steps, the authorities to which one must apply, and other procedures will vary depending on which industry the business in question is set to enter.

To give examples of such differences, the license application procedures of businesses in two different industries will be compared and contrasted. The businesses used for these examples will be recruitment firms and event-organizing companies.

An owner, director, or partner of a recruitment firm who intends to obtain a license must apply with Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower. The first step to do so is to log in to LicenceOne and apply there. While there, the applicant must pay a fee of S$400. The applicant should soon receive either an email or a text message stating the granting of in-principle approval (IPA). The next step is to log in to LicenceOne to download the IPA document. The duration of the IPA’s validity is four weeks. Before the IPA’s validity expires, the applicant must submit documents regarding security bonds and banker’s guarantees to the Ministry of Manpower via mail. Once this has been done, the applicant will be notified of the application’s approval. The processing time is seven working days. The last step is having the license issued. This takes place after the applicant logs in to LicenceOne and pays an issuance fee of S$100. The processing time is three working days.

One of the licenses that can be obtained by an event-organizing company is the Arts Entertainment License. Either organizations or individuals may apply for this license; however, individuals who do so must either hold one of the necessary work passes or be a citizen or permanent resident of Singapore. To receive an Arts Entertainment License, the applicant must first submit a completed application form as well as several necessary supporting documents. Supporting documents may include exhibit photographs, synopses, scripts, song titles and lyrics, stage layout plans, and program schedules. After paying the license fee of either S$5 or S$10 per day (the fee depends on the type of event being held), the applicant will receive the license within eight weeks. The license may only be used on the days on which the event is being held.

As can clearly be seen in the preceding two examples, the procedures of each type of business license application in Singapore can differ greatly. Therefore, it is necessary to do all the necessary research and if needed, ask a representative from any of the relevant authorities before beginning the application process.

Government Agencies Which Oversee Business Licenses

In Singapore, certain government agencies oversee the approval and issuance of business licenses. These agencies also serve as immediate authorities for those in the relevant industries. Each industry with businesses which require a license must answer to a different government agency. Examples of these agencies include the Hotels Licensing Board which supplies the Hotel Keeper’s License, the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore which approves the Arts Entertainment License and the Printing Press License, and the Singapore Food Agency which oversees the Food Shop License. Owners of businesses which require a license must familiarize themselves with the government agency that pertains to the business’s industry as well as the agency’s inner workings. By doing so, business owners will gain a better understanding of the optimal ways to conduct business operations.

Should you require any assistance in your dealings with Singapore’s government agencies, we at Paul Hype Page & Co will give you our best efforts. Our specialists who are experienced in liaising with government authorities will see to it that you are able to receive everything that you need.

Singapore Business License FAQs

Can a S Pass holder Register a Business?2020-06-24T16:49:12+08:00

The terms and conditions as stated on the S Pass will determine if the S Pass holder is allowed to register a businessThose who are unsure should consult the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). 

What does a Foreigner have to do before Registering a Business in Singapore?2020-06-24T16:48:53+08:00

A foreigner needs to apply for an Employment Pass (EP) to register a business and act as the local manager of the business. To do so, the foreigner must also have a Singapore residential address. Proper approval from ACRA is, of course, required. 

Although it is possible for a foreigner to use other valid work passes before registering a business in Singapore, it is much simpler and more manageable for foreigners to do so if they use the EP for this purpose. 

Do all Singaporean Companies require Business Licenses?2020-06-24T16:48:31+08:00

Many companies in Singapore require additional business licenses before they may begin business operations. However, this is not necessarily true of every company in Singapore. This is because the licenses required, if any, differ from industry to industry.

2021-06-03T17:09:43+08:00January 9, 2015|10 Comments

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  1. Veni July 16, 2020 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul, I’m planning to join a partnership with my fren who own an eyelash extension shop. Currently I’m holding an EP, in the MNC company, I knw if i give up the EP, I’m difficult to get the PR as I’m also planing to re-apply for it after the 2 times rejected.

    • Tiwi July 22, 2020 at 11:31 am - Reply

      Hi Veni
      While maintaining your current EP, you can apply for a new EP under the new company. Only once your new EP is approved, will your original EP be cancelled. Alternatively, if your friend is a Singaporean, they can incorporate the company under their name. You can also submit your PR application using your EP with the MNC currently, or under the new company that you are setting up. Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

      Thank you for your question.

      Warm regards

  2. SO TENG SEONG June 7, 2019 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Hi Paul,

    I looking to set up a vending machine business in Singapore. The goods i going to selling which supplier from oversea. I have yet to register any license and business entity, so what kind of license should I apply for?

    • Kumaran Tiwiyah July 17, 2019 at 8:17 am - Reply

      Hello Teng Seong,

      It depends what kind of products you are selling, different license applies. For example if it is food, You may apply the license online from Singapore Food Agency’s website.

      You will need to setup a company before you can apply, We will be able to assist you in company incorporation. Contact us should you need more assistance.


  3. feroze ali October 8, 2017 at 7:36 am - Reply

    am looking to setup a trading company in singapore to export goods from singapore to middle east (kuwait)
    please give more details about how to open a limited company to export goods from singapore to kuwait

    with regards
    Feroze ali

    • Paul Hype Page October 9, 2017 at 9:21 am - Reply

      Hi Feroze,

      Our company specializes in helping entrepreneurs like yourself set up a business quickly and efficiently in Singapore through our all-in-one Incorporation with Employment Pass package. Our dedicated team will contact you regarding the information that you need. In the meantime, please contact us if you have any further queries you would like us to assist with.


  4. Paul Moor May 25, 2017 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Hi! We are going to incorporate in Singapore as transport broker. We will provide intermediary services in transportation and logistics. Can your company help us to incorporate and obtain licenses if needed?

    • Paul Hype Page May 30, 2017 at 1:55 am - Reply

      Dear Paul,

      We are happy to be of service. Our Corporate Specialists can provide you with a smooth one stop solution from incorporation to your business setup. Do drop us an email at for more details and charges. We look forward to working with you!


  5. Rasika Nuwan Jayasundara March 12, 2017 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Hi sir,madam
    I am Rasika and from business type is srilankan shop name is SG Mobile.I am buying some items from sg and selling in my country.please I want to know how can I get business licence in sg..last time my wife worked there as a nurse past 4 years.she still planning to work in can I open new shop in sg?waiting for your best response.thank you

    • Paul Hype Page March 23, 2017 at 7:30 am - Reply

      Dear Rasika,

      The best way will to setup a Private Limited company in Singapore. We will need more details from you about what kind of licenses you need to advise more. Do drop us a note via CONTACT US page.


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