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How Can Foreigners Start A Business in Singapore?

Singapore is one of the world’s major financial centers. Therefore, many foreigners select Singapore as a destination to start their business. Singapore is one of the world’s least corrupt countries, even by the standards of developed nations. Therefore, it is easy for foreigners to conduct business in Singapore. A viable destination for foreign businesses, exchanges of currency, and other financial transactions, Singapore is a prime area for global business and investment. A nation full of diverse cultures, Singapore is home to abundant business opportunities for locals and foreigners alike. Foreigners can take advantage of these business opportunities by gaining an understanding of Singapore business laws and the methods of starting and expanding their businesses in Singapore as foreigners.

Foreigners can Start A Business in Singapore

Registering a Singapore Company as a Foreigner

Every foreigner who intends to start a company in Singapore must be able to meet the requirements necessary to register a business there. Before one can register a company in Singapore, a resident director has to be appointed and the company’s name must be approved. The proposed company must also have a number of shareholders between one and 50. A local registered address in Singapore for the company office is also required. Another requirement is that someone has to be appointed to the position of company secretary within six months of the company’s incorporation. The company is also required to have paid-up capital of at least S$1.


Foreigners who intend to start a company in Singapore must fulfil several other criteria. They must utilize the services of a professional firm to register a company in Singapore. This is because Singapore’s business laws forbid foreigners from registering companies on their own. Most foreigners who plan to start a Singapore company will also need to open a bank account at a bank based there. To do so, they will have to visit the country for themselves. Foreigners who will be operating their proposed company from abroad are not required to have a Singapore work visa. However, in such situations, they must appoint a local director so as to fulfill the requirement which states that every company must have a resident director. Foreigners who plan to relocate to Singapore to run the business which they plan to set up must obtain either an Employment Pass (EP) or Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass). These passes allow a foreigner to become the company’s local resident director.

Singapore company registration can be simplified by using Bizfile. Bizfile is an online filing system set up the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). It can also be used by those who plan to expand their Singapore company. Applicants can access BizFile by logging in through the use of their Foreign Identification Number (FIN) or National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) number.

We at Paul Hype Page & Co are able to help you with the incorporation of your Singapore-based company. Regardless of whether you are a local or foreigner, our team will take you through every necessary step so that your company will be fit for business operation as soon as possible.


Singapore Work Visas

There are multiple work visas that exist in Singapore today. The most well-known of these is the EP. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower, the EP is intended for foreign professionals in Singapore who fulfill the eligibility criteria. The criteria are as follows: the foreigner must have been offered a job in Singapore; work in an executive, a specialized, or a managerial job; have the requisite qualifications for the job; and earn a fixed monthly salary of S$3,600 or more. An EP is valid for two years and can be renewed. Each renewal extends the EP’s validity by three years. The Ministry’s Self-Assessment Tool can be used to allow candidates to learn if their EP application is likely to be approved.


Another important work visa issued by the Singaporean government is the EntrePass. The EntrePass is meant to be used by innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs with intentions to operate a business from within Singapore. Those allowed to apply for an EntrePass are foreigners who have started or plan to start a Singapore private limited company which has been registered with ACRA. If the company has already been registered, it must not have existed for more than six months on the date of application. If it has not been registered, registration can be done after completion of the application. There are also criteria to be fulfilled for entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors applying for the pass. Eligible entrepreneurs must have a track record of business networking and entrepreneurship, have funding from a venture capitalist or business angel which is recognized by the Singaporean government, or own or plan to own a company which is an incubatee at an accelerator or incubator in Singapore. To be eligible for an EntrePass, an investor must have a proven track record of investments. Innovators who qualify for an EntrePass must hold an intellectual property, attained significant achievements in important areas, or have previously worked with a research institute or institute of higher learning in Singapore for research purposes.


Receiving an EP or EntrePass is not always easy. This is where we at Paul Hype Page & Co come in. We can help you with the application process and guide you to a point where you should have no problems in receiving the pass that you need.


Roles of Singapore Government Agencies


Singapore’s government has multiple agencies which make it much easier for foreigners to start a business in the country. These agencies provide guidance and advice to foreigners who plan to expand their business to Singapore or establish a branch office there. Relevant information and procedures that concern the process of registration can also be obtained from agencies such the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The AGC provides help and information with regard to legal issues that businesses face. The MAS performs the same function regarding financial and accounting issues.  Therefore, foreigners can use the services of these agencies if they plan to start a Singapore company.

Economic Development Board

The Economic Development Board (EDB), established in 1961, is one of the Singaporean government’s many statutory boards. Its primary task is to create and execute strategies to help Singapore maintain its status as one of the world’s primary hubs for investment and business activity. It also formulates plans to assist the growth of the Singaporean economy, designs and carries out solutions that create value for Singapore’s businesses as well as those who have invested in the country, and helps provide greater economic opportunities for everyone living in Singapore.

The EDB can provide help on all sorts of matters regarding Singapore businesses. On its website, the EDB provides guides about company incorporation in Singapore and hiring workers for a Singapore tech company, among other topics. The EDB can also give information to those interested concerning viable Singapore business locations for companies and offices. This information provided by the EDB regarding business locations will help foreigners know about what are the best possible business locations available.

Enterprise Singapore

Enterprise Singapore is another of the Singaporean government’s statutory boards. It is run by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and was formed in 2018. It came about after a merger of SPRING Singapore and International Enterprise Singapore. Its main focus is assisting Singapore’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Enterprise Singapore seeks to help the country’s SMEs develop, innovate, internationalize, and generally improve their overall capabilities. It serves as the national standards and accreditation body of Singapore.

Enterprise Singapore attempts to encourage foreign traders to establish a regional presence by setting up business operations in Singapore. As it is in charge of Singapore’s accreditation and national standards, Enterprise Singapore also oversees the Singapore Standardisation Programme and Singapore Accreditation Council. Most importantly, however, it supports SMEs, startups, and corporations through partnerships, programs, grants, and initiatives, among others. To cater to foreigners, Enterprise Singapore even has an international SME network involving multiple overseas centers, Bilateral Business Forums, and the Plug and Play Network. Therefore, foreigners who are interested in starting a business in Singapore may contact Enterprise Singapore to receive their assistance and make the entire process much simpler.



Many foreign entrepreneurs have chosen to set up their businesses in Singapore and achieved great success by doing so. Those who choose to live in Singapore and run their business from within the country tend to be more successful than those who do not. This is because living in Singapore allows them to be more well-informed of the cultural boundaries and differences present in the country. This in turn helps them connect with the people of Singapore – an important advantage to have before starting a company.

However, regardless of where they live while running the business, foreigners who plan to start a business in Singapore must understand the challenges and advantages of starting different types of businesses in Singapore. No two businesses will grow and develop in the same way, and no two businesses will face the same problems. Nevertheless, foreign business owners who persevere, make wise decisions, and build their business in the right way will end up reaping tremendous rewards.