• Entrepass Approval Renewal Information in Singapore

Background of MOM Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) Visa

Ministry of Manpower launched the EntrePass back in October 2003 to boast Singapore business activities by creating new jobs and protect local job seekers from foreigners. This pass was introduced to attract foreign entrepreneurs to start a business. Those who are awarded the visa may start a joint venture with local Singaporeans to kick off the business.

Therefore, in qualifying condition, this is also another way that the Singapore government is trying to promote entrepreneurial activities beside creating new jobs. Before 2015, the business activity to qualify for an Entrepass visa can be any legitimate businesses such as restaurants, education centre or consulting and etc, it not restricted to the current criteria where it has to be venture-backed or owns innovative technologies.

Does a foreign Venture Capital Backed or Technologies entrepreneur need an EntrePass?

Let us go into the 2 qualifying conditions for this visa:

1) Have started, or intend to start, a private limited company registered with ACRA that is venture-backed or owns innovative technologies.

2)Applicant meets any of the following innovative criteria as an entrepreneur, innovator or investor listed below.

a. Entrepreneur

  • Has funding from a government-recognised VC or business angel
  • Is an incubatee at a government-recognised incubator or accelerator
  • Has business network and entrepreneurial track record

b. Innovator

  • Holds an intellectual property
  • Has a research collaboration with an IHL or research institute in Singapore
  • Has extraordinary achievements in key areas of expertise

c. Investor

  • Has investment track record and want to grow new or existing businesses in Singapore by starting an investment-related company.

From the above, the first condition of registering a Singapore company involved in innovative technology is very achievable. To do so, you need less than $2,000 and have a local resident director. If you don’t have one, the ACRA Corporate service provider can provide you with a nominee local resident director.

The second condition is significantly more difficult to achieve, as the applicant needs to have either of the 3 types of experiences, namely Entrepreneur, Innovator or Investor. Why is it difficult to achieve? The reasons as follows:

  • As an entrepreneur who already possess venture back funding with wide business network would means that he or she is people oriented with excellent communication skills who can convince millions of funding. Therefore, there will be a lot of business opportunities who would invite him to joint venture to start a subsidiary or branch of an established firm with qualified staffs. In this case, there is no need to apply for an entrepass visa and can apply for any other work visa such as employment pass where the applicant can still be a shareholder as well.
  • As for an innovator who holds intellectual property right and involved in research activities, he is considered high achiever in the field of technology innovation. This would normally mean that the applicant had obtained excellent education from a higher education institution such as Harvard or Stanford University. With such high education, the applicant can easily start a company as director or shareholder and apply for an employment pass.
  • Lastly, an investor who wants to invest is the best suited applicant for this entrepass visa.

The reasons are: Starting an investment company in Singapore is a very good choice due to the fair Tax and legal framework where investors feel secure in their investment. Any legal agreement signed, all parties can seek for a case to be heard in Singapore court which is relatively speedy and impartial. Furthermore, if the investor set up a family office, tax structure for the investment company can enjoy 13R and 13X tax incentive scheme under Income tax act.

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Tip: If you want to apply for entrepass and plans to do a lot of investments, please ensure that you qualify as a Singapore personal tax resident, where you will not be taxed on your passive overseas income if remitted to Singapore.

Why is Entrepass Visa unsuitable for Married Entrepreneur with extended family members?

As an EntrePass holder, you can only bring your family in AFTER you meet the requirements for total annual business spending and local employment:

This means that during the first year after visa approved, you cannot bring your family members to live with you in Singapore.

To bring your

Your total annual business spending must be at least

You must employ at least

  • Spouse (common-law or legally married)
  • Children
$100,0003 LQS
(full-time employees, formerly known as FTE)OR1 local PME (professional, manager or executive)
  • Parents
$200,0006 LQS

OR

2 local PMEs

LQS (formerly known as FTE) refer to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who earn a monthly salary of at least $1,400, and receive CPF contributions for at least 3 months.
Local PMEs refer to professionals, managers and executives who are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents, earn a monthly salary of at least $3,900 and receive CPF contributions for at least 3 months.

Highlight:
In order to apply for Dependant’s Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass, you need to request for an assessment of your eligibility to apply for the Passes. Therefore, it seems more like a privilege rather than an entitlement of the entrepass for bring in their family members. These above factors made entrepass visa unfavourable to apply, especially for someone who is married or has an extended family to take care.

What happens after EntrePass is approved

If everything that is necessary has been done in a proper manner and all criteria have been fulfilled, the applicant should have the EntrePass application approved. Upon approval, the applicant will receive an EntrePass which will be valid for one year.

During that one-year span, there will be an audit conducted. This audit is intended to assess the level of progress attained by the EntrePass holder’s business. The EntrePass holder is required to supply documents which prove that the business has made the required amount of progress and grown at an acceptable rate. Some documents which may serve as such proof include:

  • Research collaboration documents,
  • Tenancy agreements,
  • Staffs’ CPF statements, and staff employment contracts.

The purpose of this audit is to confirm the approval of the EntrePass. It ensures that all foreign entrepreneurs will maintain their efforts to complete the plans they may have had for their business ventures.

What are the chances of Renewal and its procedures?

Those who intend to renew the pass before it expires must meet the renewal criteria. Renewals of the EntrePass are contingent on meeting the requirements stipulated by MOM. According to these requirements, the business venture must demonstrate that over a one-year period,

  • It has met the employment requirement of a minimum number of Singaporean or local workers
  • Spent at least a certain amount on total business spending

There are two reasons why a progressive renewal framework was implemented:

  • to encourage EntrePass holders to continue to develop their business, helping it grow as much as it can, especially during the start-up and development phases.

  • to ensure that the EntrePass holder’s business is contributing to the economy of Singapore.

NOTE:

Total business spending is calculated by deducting the following from the total operating expenses:

  • Expenses due to purchase of royalties, franchise and technical know-how fees from overseas companies.
  • Expenses due to outsourcing of work overseas.
  • Total remuneration to company’s EntrePass holders.

How to Increase the Chances of EntrePass Approval and Renewal?

There are certain ways in which you can increase the chances of EntrePass approval and renewal. In the case of approval, there are multiple criteria which may be fulfilled by those who are applying as either an innovator or an entrepreneur.

An application can also be strengthened by submitting documents which, while not necessary, can be helpful. These documents include:

  • Recent invoices issued, contracts awarded, corporate bank statements over the preceding three months, and

  • Referral letters which have been received from customers.

The chances of a successful renewal of an EntrePass can be increased if:

  • the amount of local employment created by the business is well above the required minimum,
  • the total business spending is exceptionally high.

This is because these two factors reveal just how much the EntrePass holder has contributed to Singapore’s economy through his exception high business activities.

EP & Visa checker

Conclusion

Singapore Entrepass is not for everyone – it suits foreigners with technology or investor background. Furthermore, it does not automatically entitle you to bring your family members over in the first year. Therefore, it requires one year of business expenditure with local hiring during the first year until family member’s visa is approved. Once your visa renewal is approved, you can apply for Permanent Residency (PR) visa which gives you the flexibility and stability for family and business planning without the renewal constraint.

FAQs

I am an EntrePass holder. Can I register a business?2020-06-23T12:11:44+08:00

Yes.

If I am holding a valid EntrePass for the company that currently employs me but wish to leave the current post to start my own business venture, must I cancel my existing EP before applying for AIP EP?2020-06-23T12:11:29+08:00

Yes, you will need to cancel your existing EntrePass before applying for AIP EP.

If I am holding a valid EntrePass (EP) for the company that currently employs me and at the same time, wish to start my own business without resigning from my present job, must I cancel my existing EP before applying for AIP EP?2020-06-23T12:11:06+08:00

No, you need not cancel your existing EP. Rather, you should apply for AIP EP along with a letter of no objection from your current employer. Your AIP EP will be treated as an application for an additional EntrePass to work for another company.

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