Singapore company registration in five easy steps
Thinking if setting up a business in Singapore? Find out how to register a company in five easy steps.
Singapore is one of the leading global economies, with a gross domestic product of $400 billion, or about $70,000 per capita. It has a high standard of living and is strategically positioned within a six-hour radius of any Southeast Asian country, making it a gateway into other large economies.
Many people want to set up companies in Singapore and take advantage of its business-friendly environment, and we’ll show you the steps to do that.
1) Understand the requirements
You must first know and understand the requirements for registering a company in Singapore. They include:
- Having at least one shareholder. It could be an individual or another registered business. Foreigners are allowed to hold shares in Singaporean companies. Note that the maximum number of shareholders for a limited company is 50.
- Share Capital. Your firm must have a share capital of at least 1 Singaporean Dollar or the equivalent in another currency. You can always increase the capital after registering the firm.
- Resident director. Your firm must have at least one appointed director who is a local resident. Other directors could be foreigners, but at least one must be a Singaporean resident.
- Company Secretary. Every Singaporean firm must have an appointed secretary who is local resident. The secretary oversees administrative affairs and advises directors on complying with laws.
- Office address. Your business must have a local office address in Singapore.
2) Choose corporate structure and shareholders
You can register your company under one of these structures:
- Sole proprietorship: A one-man show where the owner is responsible for all company liabilities.
- Limited partnership: When two or more persons form a company and agree to share responsibility for managing it. They’re personally responsible for corporate debts.
- Limited liability company: The business assumes a separate legal identity, and the owners are not personally liable for corporate debts.
After choosing the structure, you must decide the number of shareholders and allocate shares to each. Shares come with voting rights, so the higher the shares a person has, the more their vote counts in corporate governance.
3) Select a name and obtain approval
Your business must have a unique name differentiating it from the competition:
- It must be a name not already taken by another company. You can check local registries to confirm this.
- It must not contain vulgar or obscene language.
- It must not be similar to an existing trademark or brand.
After choosing a name, you’ll submit it to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) for review. If approved, ACRA will reserve the name for 120 days, during which you must register your company or lose the reservation.
4) Prepare incorporation documents
You need to prepare certain incorporation documents, including:
- Identification: Valid identification for all directors, shareholders, and the company secretary, for example a government-issued ID card.
- Proof of residence: Proof of residence for foreign directors and shareholders.
- Articles of association: A legal document outlining the rules governing the corporation.
- Memorandum of association: A legal document signed by all shareholders declaring their intention to form a company.
5) Submit documents and get confirmation
You’ll submit the above documents to ACRA, fill out the application, and wait for a review. You can submit them online or in person. Afterward, ACRA will review the application and decide whether to approve it.
Online applications usually take less than 24 hours to complete, and in-person applications take less than a week. If approved, you’ll receive a Certificate of Incorporation confirming your business has been registered and is now formally recognized by the government.