Singapore is the globally- connected, multi-cultural and cosmopolitan place. It’s potential to let the business grow globally, well- developed infrastructure and more than 50 DTA (Double Taxation Avoidance) Agreements attracts many countries to choose Singapore as its place of doing business. Most of the formalities and procedures are similar as that in India.

Singapore offers following options for doing business:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • Public Limited Company
  • Private Limited Company

Almost, all the aforesaid business entities have similar definition, features and taxation requirements as in India. However, Limited Partnership is one where atleast one partner has limited liability and atleast one has unlimited liability.

Unlike India, where only Companies are mandatorily required to be registered, all business structures in Singapore are required to be registered with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.

While setting business in Singapore, the most preferred form of entity for foreign investors is Private Limited Company.

Prerequisite to form a Private Limited Company in Singapore:

  • Shareholder: A minimum of one shareholder is required to incorporate Private Company; however such a shareholder need not be a resident in Singapore. Therefore >100% foreign ownership by foreign individuals/ entities is allowed.
  • Director: A minimum of one director is needed to be:
    • Singaporean Citizen (whether resident or not), or
    • Singaporean Permanent Resident, or
    • A foreigner holding a valid EntrePass/ Employment Pass or Dependent’s Pass
  • Company Secretary: For a Private Company, Company Secretary is the one “who appears to have requisite knowledge and experience to discharge the functions of secretary of the company. “Similar to a director, a Company secretary is a natural person who can be:

    A director is allowed to be the Company Secretary, unless he is the sole director. However, it is highly recommended to outsource this function to avoid any mistakes in future. A >Company Secretary must be appointed within six months of date of incorporation of the Company.

    • Singaporean Citizen (whether resident or not), or
    • Singaporean Permanent Resident, or
    • A foreigner holding a valid EntrePass/ Employment Pass or Dependent’s Pass
  • Auditor: An Auditor must be appointed within 6 months from date of incorporation. However an >Exempt Private Company (EPC), whose annual turnover is less than S$ 5 million is exempt from statutory audit requirements and hence does not require appointing auditor. An Exempt Private Company is one whose shares are held by not more than 20 shareholders who all are natural persons.
  • Physical Address: A local registered address is required for a private company in Singapore. However, Post Office Box address is not allowed. Premises must be approved for business use by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Persons who own home in Singapore are allowed to conduct small-scale businesses in their homes under Home Office Scheme. This scheme applies to both private and Housing and Development Board (HDB) properties. Eligible home-owners must seek prior written approval from HDB or the Urban Development Authority (as the case may be) to use their homes for home office use.
  • Paid-Up Capital: A company can be incorporated in Singapore with a minimum paid-up capital (also often known as share capital) of S$1 only. However, you must keep the following in mind:
    • If you are applying for relocation visa Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass), the company must have a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000.
    • If you are applying for relocation visa Employment Pass (EP), although there is no official minimum paid-up capital requirement, it is recommended to have a paid-up capital of at least S$50,000 in order to improve chances of EP approval.
    • If the company business is a regulated business (e.g. travel agency, recruitment agency, financial services, etc.), the minimum paid-up capital requirements will be dictated by the relevant licensing requirements.

The concept of authorized capital has been abolished in Singapore. The paid-up capital can be listed in Singapore Dollar or any other major currency, although Singapore Dollar is the preferred currency of choice as a matter of convenience.

Also, the above explained Shareholder(s), Director(s), Company Secretary, Auditor etc should be above the age 18 and should not be bankrupts, convicted of dishonesty or having any other disqualification. Shareholder and Director can be the same person.

Procedure to form Private Limited Company in Singapore:

  • Deciding name: As in India, the name for the company to be incorporated in Singapore:
    • should not be identical to any other entity
    • obscene or vulgar
    • any other prohibited name

    The name can be searched online at for availability. A web presence is now a critical marketing channel and is an important consideration in your start-up process. Even if one does not intend to create a corporate website in the beginning, he may need to use this name for his email address. It can be checked whether a business name is available as a >website address, known as a domain name, on Singapore Network Information Centre (SNIC) at .

  • Find SSIC Code for your Business: The Singapore Standard Industry Classification code is compulsory when registering your business with ACRA. You can search it on ACRA’s official website. However, the same can be checked while doing registration online.
  • Applying for name approval: If one, himself, wants to apply, then he/ she have to apply for Sing Pass at , and then apply for approval of name online at . Alternatively, one can get all this work done by a professional.
  • Registration: After approval of name, it’s time to get the company registered. It is recommended to hire the services of professional agency to register the company. No visa is required if the company is not relocating to Singapore, it can operate from overseas. But if relocating is desired then Employment Pass or Entre Pass is essential. The documents/ information that are required are:
    • Name of the Company.
    • A short description of the business activity to be undertaken in Singapore.
    • Particulars of the Shareholders and the Directors.
    • Registered address.
    • Particulars of the Company Secretary.
    • Memorandum and Articles of Association (MMA).
    • For non-residents: copy of passport and overseas address proof, Bank letter and personal and business profile.
    • For Singapore resident: Copy of Singapore Identity Card.
    • If the shareholder happens to be a corporate: A certificate of Incorporation and MMA.

      Registration can be done online on the website

  • Approval and Licenses: Approval of other Authorities may be needed. It must be got beforehand. For some business activities one has to apply for licenses at

It’s clear that SingPass will be required at every stage and SingPass id will work as identification of shareholder/ director applying for the incorporation.

An Established Foreign Company may set up its branch in Singapore. For this no SingPass is required if all the work is allotted to a professional service providing agent (minimum 2).