If you’re a foreigner thinking of doing business in Singapore, you’ve come to the right place. In most cases, Singapore law requires you to engage a company like Sandhurst Consultancy to complete the necessary documents and guide you through the process of registration of companies in Singapore.

There are a number of options for foreigners who wish to start a business here. One of the key decisions you’ll have to make isn’t the type of legal entity you want to have. Instead, it’s whether or not you wish to base yourself here, and run your business whilst living in Singapore.

If you already have a company and do not wish to move to Singapore, the process is fairly simple. You just have to appoint at least one local person ordinarily resident in here as the director of the company.

If you wish to relocate, however, the situation becomes slightly trickier because of the Singapore business visa requirements.

The EntrePass Dilemma

The long-term Singapore business visa is known as the EntrePass, and is meant for entrepreneurs who wish to live, and start a business, in Singapore.

Current EntrePass Requirements (valid till end August 2013)

Until September 2013, when more stringent EntrePass rules will apply, the EntrePass requires you to incorporate a Private Limited company, leaving no option for those who wish to run Sole Proprietorships or Partnerships. It also demands that your company has at least SG$50,000 in paid-up capital and a Singapore-based bank account, in which your $50,000 is deposited. As an applicant, you will need to have at least a 30% share in the company.

Additionally, there are certain criteria you’ll have to meet in terms of the type of business you’ll be running. The following are examples of businesses that will not grant you an EntrePass:

Coffee shops, hawker centres, food courts

Bars, night clubs, karaoke lounges

Foot reflexology, massage parlours

Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal dispensing

Employment agencies, geomancy

New EntrePass Requirements (from 1 September 2013)

From 1 September 2013, EntrePass applicants will have to meet certain additional requirements on top of the existing ones. Specifically, the business must meet one of the following requirements:

i. Receives funding from a recognized third-party venture capitalist or business angel;

ii. Holds a proprietary or licensed Intellectual Property (IP) recognized by an approved national IP institution;

iii. Has research collaboration with a research institution recognized by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) or any local tertiary institution;

iv. Is an incubatee at a recognized incubator supported by SPRING Singapore or National Research Foundation (NRF); OR

v. Receives support from a Singapore Government agency.

    -Ministry of Manpower website

News regulations also require that successful Entrepass applicants prove that your business is operational, on a regular basis. These requirements include the submission of tenancy contracts, employee’s CPF statements and your company’s shareholding structure.

The government has also introduced a year-on-year, progressive renewal criteria framework, which means your EntrePass will only be renewed if your business meets certain criteria each year. Your EntrePass, therefore, will only be valid for one year and is subject to renewal every year.

New criteria include adding 2 new employees to your company per year and spending a minimum sum on your business each year ($100,000 for the first year of business, $150,000 for the second, and so on).

E-Sandhurst can help your clarify any issues you might have regarding the EntrePass. Contact us for more information.

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