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How Can Foreigners Start A Business in Singapore?

Highly urbanized, Singapore is regarded as the 4th major financial centre in the world. No wonder many foreigners favor Singapore to start their businesses with. As a corruption-free country in Asia and among the other developed nations, Singapore makes it easy for foreigners to do business in the country. A viable destination for foreign businesses, exchange and transactions, Singapore is reputed as an effective region for global businesses and investment. A locale with diverse cultures, Singapore is endowed with abundant business opportunities for both the locals and foreigners. How foreigners can avail of such business opportunities is not difficult provided they first understand Singapore business law and know how they can start or expand their businesses in Singapore as foreigners to the nation.

How Can Foreigners Start A Business In Singapore

For foreigners who wish to establish a Singapore Company they have to make sure that they obtain the accurate visas, must be able to meet the requirements necessary for the registration of foreign businesses and must know properly the registration process of their businesses in Singapore. A work pass known as the Employment Pass should be obtained by the foreigner who wishes to do business in Singapore and so he can optimize the available business opportunity in Singapore. The Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board Singapore and the Ministry of Manpower or otherwise known as the MOM are the ones processing the EntrePass applications. Once the EntrePass application is approved, the successful applicant can use the working pass in Singapore for a maximum of two years. This validation term is true for first time EntrePass applicants. After the expiration of the EntrePass, it is possible to renew it. The renewal awards an EntrePass that is valid for a maximum of 3 years to the business. The list of basic requirements for an EntrePass application includes:

  • The business must be legal.
  • It must be a registered company as a Private Limited Company.
  • The company must not be registered for over 6 months at the time of application.
  • A minimum share of 30% in the business must be owned by the foreigner applicant.
  • The company must have a minimum paid-up capital of SGD$50,000.


private listed companies is easily done through Bizfile, a filing system set up online by ACRA- Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority in Singapore. To register for an expansion of a Singapore business, one can use this system as well. Applicants can have access to BizFile through logging in with the use of their FIN or NRIC number as well as SingPass. If there is any possibility of a foreign expansion of a Singapore business and an extended company branch office, various government agencies offer guidance and advice on this matter. Relevant information and procedures that concern the process of registration can be obtained from agencies like the Attorney-General Chamber’s and MAS –Monetary Authority in Singapore. The former agency provides help and information on legal businesses while the latter provides help and information on financial and accounting businesses. The International Enterprise of Singapore provides help and information related to other types of industry.


The Economic Development Board can provide help on matters concerning viable Singapore business locations such as the position or place of the business companies and offices. The EDB provides great information regarding Singapore business and industrial parks as well as business locations in order to furnish foreigners with information concerning possible business locations available. Singapore is abundant in domestic business talents that can effectively address the human resources needs of a business or company. Through recruitment agencies and recruitment portals online, the business’ or company’s human resources sector is able to find help. The EnterpiseOne website has the information regarding the availability and training of possible recruits and the EDB helps in giving training programs especially for possible national business recruits. In addition to the ACRA, the site of EnterpriseOne and the EDB, other agencies of the government such as the IE Singapore- International Enterprise Singapore and the SPRING-Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board provide further assistance as well. The links to authorities, agencies and websites mentioned are on the Ministry of Manpower website. More often than not, foreign entrepreneurs who have the conviction of living in Singapore comfortably set up their businesses in Singapore. To be successful, they should be well-informed of the cultural boundaries and differences before starting a company. Not to mention the importance of understanding the fallbacks and positives of starting different type  of business in Singapore.