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Registration for a Singapore Representative Office

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

Keen to explore the bountiful opportunities in the region offered by Singapore but unsure about setting up a permanent office?

A Representative Office allows you to assess the viability of doing business in Singapore and the region, before committing to any large-scale investments.

A Representative Office is a temporary facility with no statutory obligations to file financial accounts and tax returns with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). It is therefore the ideal entry mode for a foreign entity to evaluate the business environment in Singapore before deciding to set up a permanent establishment.

As the Representative Office is intended as a stepping stone to a full-fledged operation, it can only engage in market research and feasibility studies such as:

• Gathering market information, competitive intelligence and customer data

• Conducting market research on product demand, customers’ requirements and price expectations

• Collating information on regulatory requirements related to establishing a permanent business entity in Singapore

• Cultivating trade contacts and managing product enquiries

• Participating in trade shows and exhibitions

The Representative Office should not provide services nor render any direct or indirect revenue generation activities on behalf of its parent company.

As the Representative Office is purely temporary, it can only operate in Singapore for a maximum of three years from the date of its inception. During this period, the Representative Office must also be renewed annually upon evaluation by Enterprise Singapore.

Converting representative office into a company

When you are ready to establish a more permanent presence in Singapore, the Representative Office can be converted into a subsidiary company or a branch office.

Requirements to register a representative office

Qualification for foreign parent companies

• The foreign parent company must have a sales turnover in excess of US$250,000

• The foreign parent company must have been established for three years or more

• The Representative Office must adhere to the maximum headcount of four employees


• Copy of the parent company’s Certificate of Incorporation or Business Registration Certificate (where applicable) in English or an official English translation

• Copy of the parent company’s latest audited accounts

Documents required for Employment Pass

You need these documents when submitting an Employment Pass application for regional representatives of overseas companies:

  • A copy of the approval letter from Enterprise Singapore for setting up the representative office in Singapore.

  • A letter from the representative’s office headquarters stating:

    • The purpose of the application.

    • The duration of the candidate’s assignment.

    • A guarantee for the maintenance and repatriation of the candidate.

Application fee

• Non-refundable processing fee of S$200 per year

Contact Bestar for more information.


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