5 minutes

Can Foreigners Register a Company in Singapore?

can foreigners register a company in singapore

Singapore is ideal for starting a new company. With state-of-the-art infrastructure and government support, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better business location in the Asian market. With the significance of the Asian market currently rising, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.  The big question that comes to mind is, can foreigners register a company in Singapore?

Yes, foreigners can register a company in Singapore, as evident from the number of high-profile companies already present. The business landscape is positive, but registration for a foreigner isn’t as easy as most other countries.

The Reasoning Behind Singapore’s Business Appeal

Singapore attracts foreign business owners with its 100% foreign ownership policy, competitive tax regime (corporate tax rate of 17%), a wide range of banking facilities, and stable political and social environment. Foreigners can fully own a company, with varying registration fees based on the chosen business entity, and sole proprietors only pay personal income tax on business profits. Incorporation involves submitting documents to the ACRA and ensuring compliance with taxation, employment, and intellectual property regulations. Overall, Singapore offers tax efficiency, government incentives, a strong legal framework, and a positive business reputation, making it an ideal location for company incorporation.

Business Entities Available for Foreigners

In Singapore, foreigners seeking to establish businesses have several entity options, each offering distinct advantages and considerations. Among these, the Private Limited Company (Pte Ltd) stands out as a widely favored choice. Operating under the Companies Act 1967, Pte Ltd entities enjoy considerable flexibility and tax benefits. With the ability to accommodate up to 50 members, these companies are structured to endure beyond individual partnerships, providing a separate legal identity. Additionally, they offer reduced regulatory burdens compared to public companies, making them attractive for foreign entrepreneurs seeking efficient operations and growth.

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What are the Minimum Legal Requirements for Registering a Singapore Company for a Foreigner?

Registering a company in any country must be done the right way to avoid legal issues down the line. Certain requirements must be met before you can own and register a company in Singapore. Some of the minimum requirements for a foreigner to own a company in Singapore are:

1.    Minimum Age Requirement

To own a company in Singapore, you must be a legal adult, at least 18 years old. Anyone who meets this age requirement is eligible to start a company in Singapore. The only people exempt from this, despite meeting the legal age limit, are:

  • Bankrupt individuals
  • Legally convicted individuals

2.    Resident Director

The director of the company must be Singaporean and available in the country. Anyone that is a Singaporean resident or holds the eligible employment pass qualifies for this. You must have at least a resident or local director when registering a company. If you aren’t based in Singapore, you may need a professional service provider to help with the appointment. Premia TNC, serving as your proxy, can provide local nominee director services to you.

3.    Local Address

To register a company in Singapore, the company will need to have a local address. The address will need to be a physical location, not a virtual one or a P.O box. The address will serve as the registered office address of the company’s business operations in Singapore. Premia TNC can provide the local register address to meet the company registration requirements if you do not have a physical office in Singapore during the initial process.

4.    A Company Secretary

The company is required to have at least one company secretary during registration. The company secretary must be a Singapore resident or someone with a Singapore address or work pass. The secretary will need to be hired in Singapore, a process that Premia TNC can handle for you.

5.    Minimum Capital Requirement

There is a minimum capital requirement of S$1 or its equivalent in international currencies. This doesn’t mean you will need only S$1 to run your company. You will need to have enough money to fund the initial business operations until the company becomes financially independent.

6.    A Physical Presence

You do not need to be physically present to register a company in Singapore. However, if you prefer to be, you can achieve this by obtaining a work pass and relocating to Singapore. Alternatively, you can appoint a nominee resident director to stand in your stead. Premia TNC can serve in this capacity, giving you a physical presence and handling the company’s registration on your behalf.

Singapore Company Registration Process for Foreigners

There is a specific process that needs to be followed when registering a company in Singapore:

  • Defining the company’s business operations: The type of business you intend to conduct.
  • Filing the registration with ACRA: The registration process is done online at the ACRA portal once all requirements have been met. You will need to provide documents proving all requirements have been met before the company can be registered. Documents like the approved company name, among others, will be needed in this stage.
  • Detailing the company members: During the registration process, you will be required to provide the local registered office address and the details of the resident director and secretary. Identification of all registered members of the company, including shareholders, will also be needed at this stage.

Can a Foreigner Own 100% Equity of a Singapore Company?

Yes, A foreigner can own up to 100% equity of a Singapore company. The ownership of equity of a Singapore company may be subject to certain legal requirements like minimum age. You don’t have to be in Singapore to own and run the company.

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Can Foreigners Register A Company in Singapore? The Cost of Registering a Company in Singapore

As a foreigner, the registration of your company must be handled by an approved service provider. Premia TNC handles registration on behalf of individuals or companies looking to expand to Singapore. The total cost of registration is difficult to estimate most times, as it involves several processes. Each process in the registration carries a different cost, with licenses costing you as well.

The main administrative fees that will be incurred are related to ACRA registration. You will spend approximately S$315 on ACRA registration. The first S$15 is to reserve the name of your company, subject to approval. You have 60 days reservation for the company name you have chosen. If you wish to extend the registration, that costs extra.

The main ACRA registration fee costs S$300. Once ACRA confirms your registration, you will be notified via email with a business profile. To complete your set of statutory documents, a certificate of incorporation should also be purchased, for an additional cost.

Besides the above administrative fees, kindly note that costs for documentation, a registered office address, company secretary fees and local director service fees should also be taken into consideration. Taxes and other fees will also be necessary and cost different amounts, depending on other factors like company type.

Premia TNC’s Assistance

At Premia TNC, we simplify the incorporation process with tailored solutions designed to meet your business needs. Our expert guidance ensures compliance with regulations while streamlining paperwork, saving you time and hassle. With ongoing support, we stand as your partner for growth, committed to helping your business thrive. Contact us today to kickstart your journey towards achieving your business goals.

Can foreigners incorporate a company in Singapore?

Yes, foreigners can incorporate a company in Singapore. However, they need at least one resident director, which can be fulfilled through a local nominee director service. All other requirements remain the same.

What are the benefits of incorporating a company in Singapore?

Incorporating a company in Singapore offers limited liability protection, attractive tax incentives, access to skilled talent, political stability, strategic location in Asia, ease of doing business, and a robust legal framework. Singapore's extensive Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAs) further facilitate international business expansion.

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