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Singapore Company Incorporation Checklist

open a company in singapore

If you’re thinking of incorporating a company in Singapore as a foreigner, we know the process can seem daunting at first. No one enjoys complicated paperwork! However, the process in Singapore is much faster and straightforward than most other Asian countries. It’s a big part of why many businesses from the UK and the rest of the world have decided to move their global or regional HQ to Singapore and operate remotely after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have been helping businesses relocate or open a new subsidiary in Singapore since 2015 and we’d love to help you through the process. Let’s take you through the checklist of the documents and information you need based on your situation!

Are you relocating just the company, or people too?

Option 1: company in Singapore, director/employees outside

This is a very common case: many entrepreneurs want to enjoy the tax and corporate structure benefits of Singapore, but prefer to live elsewhere. Many of our clients operate this way. Since 2020, we’ve noticed an increase of UK and US companies choosing to do this. This case also applies in case you want to run a business elsewhere in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc.) but prefer Singapore’s reliable infrastructure.

In this case, you’ll need:

  • Nominee Director (a Singaporean citizen, or permanent resident of Singapore)
  • Corporate Secretary to help you with the incorporation
  • Remote bank account opening service

PikoHANA can take care of all 3, and get it all done virtually: our process is 100% paperless.

[P.S. We’re also experienced and equipped to help you with our virtual accounting and compliance services in Hong Kong and Malaysia.]

Option 2: company and employees/director relocate to Singapore

As of May 2021, relocation to Singapore is extremely difficult because of the COVID-19 situation. Even foreigners with valid visas are prohibited from entering the country, and obtaining a new work pass is very challenging for new entities.

The situation continues to evolve, so if this is something you’re interested in please let us know and we will keep you posted on the latest developments.

In this case, you’ll need:

  • Nominee Director
  • Corporate Secretary
  • Remote bank account opening service
  • Working Pass application (specific pass will depend on your company structure)

PikoHANA can help you with the services above, paperless and hassle-free.

What type of company do you want to open?

There are 3 different types of companies you can incorporate as a non-resident foreigner.

i) Sole-Proprietorship – If you plan to set up a sole-proprietorship business in Singapore and run it from abroad, we will help you hire an authorized representative. The authorized representative must hold Singapore citizenship. You can also appoint an Entrepass holder as a representative of your company. 

ii) Partnership – If you are considering incorporating a partnership business, then at least one of the active partners should be a Singapore resident. Just like sole-proprietorship, you will need an authorized representative, if you plan to run a business from any foreign nation. 

iii) Subsidiary – Many foreign companies have subsidiaries in Singapore. A subsidiary company might be a separate entity from its parent company but it can be a limited liability company where the parent company can have 100% share in ownership. 

iv) Private Limited – This is the most common structure we recommend to our clients. A private limited company can have 100% foreign shareholding and can be run remotely. Thanks to our partnership with Aspire, a fully compliant digital corporate bank, we can even take care of opening your bank account remotely.

What’s the name of the business?

The first step is to determine the availability of the proposed business name in Singapore. Once that is done, you can get the desired name registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). 

Please let us know what your desired name is and we can take care of the two steps above.

Here are the documents we will need from you to start the process:

i) Name of the Company 

ii) Description of Business nature and operations

iii) Details of company shareholder/shareholders (passport bio page)

iv) Details of director/directors (passport bio page)

As a non resident foreigner, you are required to go through a Corporate Secretary to incorporate your company. Once you have all the information above, it takes less than 24 hours for your company to go live – and around 1-3 working days to open your bank account.

At PikoHANA, we know what it’s like to be a foreigner opening a business abroad, and that’s why we want to make it as easy as possible for you by reliably taking care of the end-to-end process. This includes everything you need to open, run and scale a company in Singapore:

  • Nominee director service
  • Registered address
  • Work pass applications
  • Quarterly & annual compliance
  • Monthly bookkeeping
  • Tax prep and submission

Ready to set up your company in Singapore?

Fill up this form to start the process.

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