Ministry of Manpower (MOM) launched launched the Singapore Entrepreneurship Pass (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 for the Singapore 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.
Who is eligible for the EntrePass?
Going back to basics, the Singapore Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) holder and business should create jobs for locals and increase spending on the local economy. Therefore, here are three criterion your business plan should meet:
Eligibility for Singapore 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.
- 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
- Holds an intellectual property
- Has a research collaboration with an IHL or research institute in Singapore
- Has extraordinary achievements in key areas of expertise
- 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.
Documents to apply for an EntrePass in Singapore
The EntrePass is a work visa scheme offered by the Singapore government to foreign entrepreneurs and business professionals who wish to start or operate a business in Singapore. It provides an opportunity for talented individuals to contribute to Singapore’s vibrant business landscape. When applying for an EntrePass, several essential documents are required to demonstrate eligibility and support your application as listed on the MOM websites.
Conclusion: When applying for an EntrePass in Singapore, it is crucial to gather and prepare all the necessary documents to support your application. The documents mentioned above, including personal identification, business plan, financial statements, and relevant certifications, will help demonstrate your eligibility, commitment, and preparedness to start and run a successful business in Singapore. Ensure that all documents are accurate, up-to-date, and organized, as they play a crucial role in the approval process of your EntrePass application.
Dependent Pass for Singapore EntrePass Holders
The Dependent Pass program in Singapore allows eligible family members of EntrePass holders to join them in the country. The process involves the primary pass holder submitting an application online, providing necessary documents such as passports and marriage/birth certificates.
After review and approval, an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter is issued. The family members must then visit Singapore to complete formalities, including biometric registration. Upon completion, the Dependent Pass is issued, allowing them to reside in Singapore.
The pass is typically valid for the same duration as the primary pass holder’s EntrePass and can be renewed accordingly.
Cancellation of Singapore EntrePass
The cancellation of a Singapore EntrePass is a significant process that EntrePass holders should be familiar with. This essay provides an overview of the cancellation procedure, including the reasons for cancellation and important considerations to keep in mind.
Understanding the cancellation procedure for a Singapore EntrePass is essential for EntrePass holders. By being aware of the reasons for cancellation, following the proper procedures, and considering important factors, EntrePass holders can navigate the process effectively. Adhering to compliance requirements, maintaining open communication, and seeking appropriate guidance can help minimize the risk of cancellation and facilitate a smooth transition when necessary.
Singapore EntrePass Card Replacement
In the event of loss, damage, or expiry of the Singapore EntrePass card, EntrePass holders may need to apply for a replacement card.
The process of replacing a Singapore EntrePass card involves reporting the loss or damage, preparing necessary documents, submitting an online application, and collecting the replacement card at the MOM Services Centre. EntrePass holders should promptly report the loss or damage, provide accurate information, and follow instructions from the MOM. It is important to maintain records of important details throughout the process. By adhering to these guidelines, EntrePass holders can ensure a smooth and efficient replacement process.
Converting Singapore EntrePass to Permanent Residency
Transitioning from an EntrePass visa to permanent residency in Singapore involves satisfying eligibility criteria, compiling essential documents, submitting an application to the ICA, undergoing evaluation, and fulfilling conditions stated in the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter. EntrePass holders should emphasize their entrepreneurial accomplishments, demonstrate unwavering commitment to Singapore, and consider seeking professional assistance. Adhering to these steps will significantly bolster the likelihood of a successful conversion, granting EntrePass holders the invaluable benefits and stability of permanent residency within Singapore’s borders.
Why is Entrepass Visa unsuitable for Married Entrepreneur with extended family members?
As a Singapore 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|
(full-time employees, formerly known as FTE) OR1 local PME (professional, manager or executive)
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.
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 the Singapore 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:
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 EntrePass 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,
There are two reasons why a progressive renewal framework was implemented:
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:
The chances of a successful renewal of an EntrePass can be increased if:
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.
Alternatives to Singapore EntrePass
Aside from the Singapore EntrePass, you can also consider the following 2 popular options instead:
A new work pass initiated in 2021, the Tech Pass is available for top-notch foreign professionals and experts who are keen to launch businesses, head corporate teams, or become a lecturer in Singapore.
Example: Top-notch e-commerce, AI, and cybersecurity foreign professionals and experts.
2. Employment Pass (EP)
The Employment Pass is suitable for any businessperson who has the relevant skill or experience to operate a business in Singapore and a degree from a reputable institution.
Click here for more information on Incorporation with Employment Pass
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.
The EntrePass visa may be unsuitable for a married entrepreneur with extended family members due to limitations in the scope of dependent pass eligibility. While the visa allows for immediate family members such as spouses and children to be included, it does not extend to cover extended family members like parents or siblings. This can create challenges for entrepreneurs who wish to have their extended family members stay in Singapore and be part of their support system. In such cases, alternative visa options like the Long-Term Visit Pass or exploring other immigration pathways may be more suitable for accommodating the needs of married entrepreneurs with extended family members.
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?
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?
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.