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Can a foreigner set up a company in Singapore?

Can a foreigner set up a company in Singapore?

Singapore is known for being welcoming to foreign entrepreneurs. Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know:

  • Company Ownership: Foreigners can be 100% shareholders of a company in Singapore. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership.

  • Company Registration: You'll need to work with a registered filing agent to incorporate your business.

  • Local Director: Singapore law requires at least one resident director, who can be a Singaporean citizen or Permanent Resident. You can hire a nominee director to fulfill this requirement.

  • Work Pass: If you want to manage the company from Singapore, you'll need a work pass like the Employment Pass or EntrePass.

For more detailed information, you can check out the official resources of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.

What do I need to set up a company in Singapore?

Here are the key things you'll need to set up a company in Singapore:

Basic Requirements:

  • Company Name: Choose a unique and available company name. You can do a preliminary check through ACRA's website.

  • Business Activities: Briefly describe what your company will do. You'll also need to assign the relevant Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code.

  • Shareholders: You need at least one shareholder, who can be a foreigner. There's a maximum of 50 shareholders allowed.

  • Directors: Appoint at least one resident director (Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident or EntrePass holder). You can have additional resident or non-resident directors.

  • Registered Address: Secure a local Singapore address for your company's registered office.

  • Company Secretary: Appoint a company secretary within six months of incorporation.

Documents Required:

  • Company name application

  • Brief description of business activities and SSIC codes

  • Details of shareholders and directors (including KYC documents)

  • Registered office address details

  • Share capital details (amount and number of issued shares)

  • Company constitution

Additional Considerations:

  • Business Structure: Decide if a private limited company is the right structure for your business.

  • Financial Year End: Choose the financial year-end for your company.

  • Work Pass: If you plan to manage the company from Singapore, you'll need a relevant work pass.

How much capital is required to start a company in Singapore?

The good news about starting a company in Singapore is that the minimum paid-up capital requirement is very low. Here's what you need to know:

  • Minimum Capital: There is technically no minimum paid-up capital required for private limited companies, the most common type of business structure. This means you can register your company with just S$1.

  • Higher Requirements for Certain Industries: It's important to note that some regulated industries may have higher minimum capital requirements. For example, travel agencies might need S$100,000 or more.

  • Strategic Use of Capital: While S$1 is the legal minimum, having a higher paid-up capital can project a more credible image and boost investor confidence.

So, the amount of capital you need depends on your industry regulations and your business strategy.

What is the cost of setting up a company in Singapore?

The cost of setting up a company in Singapore can vary depending on whether you do it yourself or use a service provider. Here's a breakdown of the potential costs:

Mandatory Government Fees:

  • Company Name Reservation: S$15 (valid for 60 days)

  • Company Registration Fee: S$300

These fees are payable to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and are relatively low.

Additional Costs:

  • Corporate Secretarial Services: S$500 - S$1,500+ per year. Appointing a company secretary is mandatory within six months of incorporation. Their services include maintaining company records, filing annual returns, and ensuring compliance with regulations.

  • Registered Address: Varies. You'll need a local Singapore address for your company's registered office. Virtual office options can be cost-effective.

  • Other Professional Fees: Variable. Depending on your specific needs, you might incur additional costs for accounting services, legal assistance, or opening a corporate bank account.

Using a Service Provider:

Many companies offer incorporation packages that can streamline the process and handle the paperwork for you. These packages typically range from S$500 to S$1,500, depending on the services included.

Total Cost Estimate:

Here's a rough estimate of the total cost:

  • DIY approach (minimal services): S$315 (government fees)

  • Using a service provider with basic package: S$815 - S$1,800 (government fees + incorporation package)

Remember, this is just an estimate. The actual cost can be higher or lower depending on your specific needs and chosen service providers.


For a more comprehensive guide, I recommend checking the following resources:

How Bestar can Help

Bestar can definitely help a foreigner set up a company in Singapore. Here's how our services might be beneficial:

  • Streamlined Process: We can guide you through the entire company incorporation process, saving you time and ensuring everything is done correctly.

  • Compliance Expertise: Understanding the requirements for foreign-owned businesses in Singapore can be complex. Bestar can ensure your company adheres to all regulations.

  • Local Knowledge: Having a local partner can be invaluable when navigating the Singaporean business environment. Bestar has the experience and connections to make the process smoother.

  • Additional Services: We offer additional services beyond registration, such as obtaining work passes, opening corporate bank accounts, or ongoing accounting and tax services.

By contacting Bestar, you can get a clearer idea of how we can assist you specifically in setting up your company in Singapore.


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