How to Reserve or Change Company Name in Singapore?

7 min read|Last Updated: December 12, 2023|

What’s in this article

Book a consultation for your business expansion today.

Company and brand names set the stage for your business success, and rightly so. Consider it like a first impression – your company name is one of the first things that customers see that could shape their overall brand perception.

The starting ground before you decide to incorporate a company is getting a name. Let’s go through the entire company naming reservation process, including how to check if your desired company name is available and the procedures for changing them!

How to check company name availability in Singapore?

Before you select your company name, here are some important points to consider:

  • Needs to be unique
  • Show positive connotations
  • Not trademarked
  • Website-friendly
  • Memorable

The Registrar also has their own set of criteria when choosing a company name:

  • Undesirable
  • Identical to a business or company in Singapore
  • Identical to a name being reserved by a business or company in Singapore
  • Instructed by the Minister to the Registrar not to accept trademarked registration (e.g. Temasek)

If your proposed name violates these rules, the Registrar will reject the proposed name.

Letitia - Business Development

Decided on your company name? Check if your desired name is available on our free tool – company name checker now.

Reserving company name in Singapore

After checking your proposed company name is available, the next step is to get them reserved with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

It is important to note that usage of words such as bank, insurance, university, and education in a company name could be subjected to control and regulation by Government authorities. This will require permission and appeal before you can proceed to set up the company. The appeal process will take 1 to 14 days in general.

Even after approval, the Registrar still has the discretion to direct you to change your company name if anyone lodges a valid complaint within 12 months of your incorporation.

A company name can be reserved for up to 120 days before registering the business. There are a few ways which a business name can be reserved.

  • For Sole Proprietorship/Partnership:

    • Register directly through GoBusiness
    • Log into SINGPASS
    • Use the e-Advicer for Starting a Business to create a Guided Journey
    • Apply for business name online
  • For all types of business structures:

    • Register directly through BizeFile+
    • Engage a registered filing agent to submit an online application on your behalf.

Tips for Successful Approval of Your Company Name

To ensure a higher likelihood of your company name being approved, please consider the following before submitting the company name application to ACRA:

  • Follow ACRA’s guidelines
  • Refrain from choosing vulgar or offensive terms
  • Refrain from using terms that bear similarity to any government bodies
  • Conduct a thorough check for any identical company name via a company name search took. This avoids the risk of future complaints against your company name.
  • Reserve a name with ACRA to ensure that your selected company name will not be taken by another company
  • Adhere to ACRA timelines. Incorporate your company within 120 days from the name reservation date. If the deadline is missed, the reserved company name will be released

Procedure for Company Name Approval

The name approval application is filed online with the Singapore company registrar ACRA. If everything is in order, your name application will be approved quickly, in some cases, in less than an hour. Some name applications may be referred to the Referral Authorities for approval. In these cases, processing times can take between 14 and 60 days.

During this time, you will need to specify the primary and secondary activities of the business and choose the most appropriate Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code that accurately represents your business activity.

Can I register an identical company name that is currently owned by an inactive company in Singapore?

If you wish to reserve names that are identical to the names of inactive older companies or businesses, you can do so only after a certain period has passed from the date of their dissolution or cancellation. Section 22 of the Companies (Amendment) Act 2014 states that the Registrar will refuse an identical name of the company if:

  • A company that is dissolved, unless 2 years have passed from the date of dissolution following the winding up of the company or 6 years have passed from the date of dissolution following the name of the company being struck off.
  • A cancelled business name whose registration has also been cancelled or business ceased to exist unless 1 year has passed from the date of cancellation/dissolution

  • A foreign company name that has given a dissolution notice unless 2 years have passed from the date of dissolution.

  • A limited liability partnership name that is dissolved unless 2 years have passed from the date of dissolution in the case of winding up or 6 years have passed after the date of dissolution in the case of its name being struck off the register.
  • A limited partnership name that is dissolved or cancelled, unless the aforementioned timeline is to be followed by companies who wish to register identical names. The Singapore Companies (Amendment) Act 2014 incorporated several other changes apart from the naming rules.

How to Change Your Company Name in Singapore?

It is very common for brands to change their company name. Check out the process to kickstart the process of changing your company name in Singapore below!

Step 1: Choosing an appropriate name

  • Ensure that the new name meets the requirements of ACRA

Step 2: Applying for approval with ACRA

  • Submit your name change documents to ACRA
  • The process of authorising the name change is the same as registering a new company name

Step 3: Communicating the name change to other stakeholders

  • After approval by ACRA, you have to communicate the decision to other stakeholders
  • This can be done via a general meeting
  • The new name is approved if 75% of the shareholders with voting rights vote in its favour

To successfully execute a name change, you will need to submit the following documents/ information to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS):

  • Tax reference number

  • Previous name registered under ACRA

  • New name registered under ACRA

Once completed, IRAS will send a confirmation email noting that the change has been duly completed. This process is usually done by your company secretary.

Letitia - Business Development

Singapore Trademark Registration

Be it a Private limited company or a partnership, every legal entity can trademark their company names. It grants them the mark, the statutory right to use and exploit the mark in the jurisdiction of its registration and certain priorities and advantages in registering the trademark in other jurisdictions.

The benefits of trademarking your company include:

  • Right to exclusive usage of the mark
  • Barring others from copying it
  • Benefiting from the increasing market value of the mark
  • Branding through mark recognition
  • License for commercial use by third parties thus creating a source of revenue
  • Quality assurance for your customers
  • Up to 400% tax rebates from the Singapore Government under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme to offset the incurred cost for registering your trademark.

You can find out the process of Singapore trademark registration here.

Letitia - Business Development

KICKSTART YOUR COMPANY REGISTRATION IN SINGAPORE TODAY

Come to our office or get in touch virtually for a consultation on your company incorporation and other corporate services.

FAQs

How long does ACRA reserve my approved company name?2020-11-20T10:09:17+08:00

ACRA will reserve your approved company name for 120 days. 

How long does trademark protection last?2020-11-20T10:09:44+08:00

A registered trademark is valid only for 10 years from the date of application. It can be renewed indefinitely for 10 years at one time by paying the applicable renewal fee. 

When did the Business Names Registration Act receive government approval?2020-06-24T12:56:31+08:00

The Business Names Registration Act was passed by Parliament on October 8, 2014. President Tony Tan supplied assent on November 6, 2014; its date of commencement was January 3, 2016. 

Are there any companies in Singapore which are not allowed to change their name?2020-06-24T12:56:07+08:00

The Business Names Registration Act only specifies which names may or may not be used. It does not specify the identities of the companies which are barred from doing so. Therefore, any company in Singapore may apply for a name change. 

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Related Business Articles

Undecided or got questions

Got other questions?

Drop us a message on WhatsApp or connect with us through our contact form.

Join the discussions

Go to Top