A Guide to Incorporation in Singapore

If you’re hoping to start a company in Singapore, rest assured the process is relatively simple and stress-free. In fact, Singapore is renowned for being one of the best places to conduct business due to its generous tax rate and start-up schemes.

So, how can you get your business off the ground and start trading legally? If you’re new to the process, read our helpful guide below.

Who oversees company registration in Singapore?

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) supervises all company registrations in Singapore. Domestic start-up owners are generally expected to liaise with the ACRA when setting up a business. However, foreign entrepreneurs are not permitted to self-register a new company and must hire the services of a corporate registration provider. Many locals could also benefit from the help of a professional, particularly if they’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of Singapore’s corporate compliance laws.

Is there anything else foreigners should know?

Business owners from anywhere in the world can set up a company in Singapore, provided they are over 18 and don’t have a criminal record. However, foreigners must fulfil a few additional requirements before setting up a company in Singapore, including:

  • They must employ a Singaporean, a work visa holder, or an EntrePass holder as a company director
  • They must show the ACRA a copy of their passport and proof of their overseas address


What elements will you need to register a company?

Before you approach the ACRA to register your company, you must ensure you’re aware of the requisite elements you will need to present, including:

  • A company name: You will need approval for the company name before proceeding with the rest of the registration process.
  • A named director: Remember, you must have at least one director who is a resident of Singapore.
  • Shareholders: Companies must have at least one, and a maximum of 50, shareholders. These shareholders can be corporate entities or natural persons, and all of them can be foreign if necessary.
  • Registered address: Your company address must be in Singapore, and you must keep all statutory documents in this building. Please note that you cannot use a PO box as a registered address.
  • Company secretary: All new companies should appoint a minimum of one qualified company secretary within six months of incorporation. This person must be a resident of Singapore.
  • Share capital: You only need paid-up capital of S$1 to start a company and are free to
    increase your share capital at any point.

What does the registration procedure involve?

The company registration process can be completed online and is quick and intuitive. You will
need to pay two sets of fees:

  • S$15 for applying for a company name with the ACRA
  • S$300 for registering your company with the ACRA


Key steps include:

Applying for your company name

You will need to apply online for a company name before doing anything else. The rules
surrounding business names are relatively liberal, but you must abide by the following

  • The name must not violate any trademark
  • You cannot use an identical name to a company that already exists in Singapore
  • The name must not be vulgar or offensive
  • You must avoid names already reserved for other companies

If your name abides by these rules, the ACRA is likely to approve it in a matter of minutes. If
the name contains regulated business words such as “law”, “legal”, or “finance”, the ACRA will need to obtain further approval from another government branch. In such cases, approval may take a few weeks.

Once your name has been approved, you can reserve it for up to 120 days. If you don’t
complete the incorporation process within that timeframe, the name will be released for
others to claim.

Prepare your company documents

Next, you must prepare the relevant documents to show to the ACRA, including:

  • A company constitution: If you’re unsure how to draw up a constitution, a standard example is available from the ACRA. This document is acceptable for most organizations to adopt and includes terms designed to encourage fair business practices
  • Consent to Act as Director: This document must be signed and dated by the director.
  • Consent to Act as a Company Secretary: This document must be signed and dated by the company secretary.
  • Proof of the residential addresses for each company officer and shareholder
  • Documents for verifying the identity of the director

Please note that all these documents must be presented in English or professionally translated to English.

Register with the ACRA

Once you’ve prepared your documents, you can complete the registration process online. This step typically takes less than an hour.

Find out more with Ascentia Ace Pte Ltd.

As you can see, the incorporation process in Singapore is quick and seamless. If you would like help getting your new business off the ground, Ascentia Ace Pte Ltd is ready and waiting to take your call. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to find out more and chat with a friendly advisor.