You’ve read that Singapore is one of the best places to do business in Southeast Asia and you want to see it for yourself. Before you hop on a plane to the island-city, it is best that you equip yourself with some information first. Doing so will not only help you prepare some questions when you meet an incorporation services company, it will help you avoid any hiccups during the filing and registration process.
In this post, we will fill you in on some of the fundamentals that make a company registration process smooth and painless. Read on to know more about some of the criteria and conditions that you would be required to meet to successfully register your company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Choose a Suitable Business Structure
Figure out which business structure is most appropriate for your business. In Singapore, this could be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability partnership or a private limited company. However, know what options are available to you as a foreigner. If in doubt, seek assistance from experts as these decisions have several legal and financial implications.
Give your Business a Good Name
Do give this one some thought before arriving at a decision. Hastiness in this matter can hurt your business from the very beginning. Go for a name that reflects your company’s philosophy, products and/or services and personality. The name has to be unique and should be available for use i.e. it should not be identical to any existing company’s name. You can check for the availability of the name at ACRA’s online directory.
Remember that you would probably be building a portal and creating an email address for your company with the same name. Hence, ensure that you choose a name that is easy to pronounce, spell and enables a good measure of brand recall for your company. Avoid names that are complicated or obscene. These aspects are crucial in getting approval for the name of your choice.
Pick the right Address
You will need to use a local physical address to register your company in Singapore. If you are thinking of using your residential property as your business address, know that it should be approved by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (for private property). The address cannot be a post box number.
Which SSIC Code?
The Singapore Standard Industry Classification (SSIC) code is a mandatory requirement as a measure taken by ACRA to categorise your business.
The MA&A shouldn’t be MIA
The Memorandum of Articles and Associations (MA&A) too is a requirement for incorporating companies in Singapore. It lays out the significant aspects of the business entity – including the details of its members, share capital, number of shares allotted, and regulations for managing the company.
Remember to Apply for Licences and Permits
Running certain businesses in Singapore may require licences or permits. These include, but are not limited to, drug manufacturing, the sale of alcohol, weapons and tobacco, news publishing, broadcasting, investment advising and transportation services. Occupations such as financial advisors, cosmetologists, building contractors, medical practitioners, etc. may require license and permits from the respective national agencies as well.
Most licenses and permits can be obtained online. It might take anything from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the nature and complexity of the documentation and information provided to attain them.
Prepare these Documents
You will be required to furnish these documents to prove your credentials before the incorporation takes place:
- A copy of your passport
- Overseas residential address proof
- Bank reference letter, personal and business profile, etc.
- An EntrePass (if relevant).
Ask for help
If you still find yourself unsure about the process of registering your business in Singapore, you could always engage the services of professionals who will help you out with it. Foreigners cannot self register companies and are required by law to engage the services of an incorporation firm to register a company in Singapore.
Starting a new business in a new country can be quite daunting for expats. However, going step by step and completing one procedure at a time will give you some clarity and keep you calm throughout the entire process.
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