Can Foreigners Register A Company In Singapore?

Updated October 6, 2023

If you’re thinking about starting and running your own business in Singapore, there are a few things you should know before you move on with registering a company.

Moving and starting over is never an easy thing to do, let alone starting a business in a foreign country, but things tend to look a bit easier with the right advice on your side.

The good news is that it’s possible to register a company in Singapore and run your business. If you’re new to this, we have a few useful tips to help you get started.

How to Register a Company in Singapore

Although you’re a foreigner, you can easily register your company without any problems and become a proud owner of its 100% shareholding. The first condition is to be over 18 years of age to start a business, but it’s vital that you haven’t been through bankruptcy or convicted of any legal offense.

Setting up and registering your business requires your physical presence. You’ll need a permanent resident or a holder of Dependent Pass, EntrePass, or Employment Pass, as Singapore’s business law demands that a local must be one of the shareholders.

Key Requirements for Registering Your Business in Singapore as a Foreigner

The first step to registering your company in Singapore is to appoint a local or resident director. They can self-register a company on the BizFile+ portal. All shareholders must pass a resolution to appoint the resident director, who should be a person of full legal capacity and over 18 years of age.

As a foreigner, you must:

  • Appoint a local as one of your directors.
  • Find a registered filing agent to register your business, as you’re not allowed to self-register a company in Singapore as a foreigner.

There are three easy ways to handle the appointing of a local director:

  • Select an EntrePass holder, Permanent Resident, or a Singaporean
  • Appoint a nominee director for your newly registered business
  • Apply and obtain EntrePass to be able to form a company by yourself

You can also consider allowing an Employment Pass holder to do the registering for you. Holders can own 100% shares since they’re employed full-time with their Singapore employer who provided their EP for them. However, the law states that they can’t be resident or local directors of their own companies.

The Cost of Incorporating a Company in Singapore

Since foreigners aren’t allowed to self-register a Singapore company, the easiest way is to hire a registered filing agent. Since the procedure goes through ACRA, the fees associated with the procedure are:

  • A fee for company registration – S$300
  • A fee for company name application – S$15

Keep in mind that a company name application buys you two months. If you want to extend it, there is an extra fee involved. If the registration process is successful, ACRA will deliver an incorporation email, which is your incorporation certificate.

You can also hire a business incorporation partner to do your incorporation for you. Piloto Asia offers a wide range of customized solutions to help you deal with company incorporation and administration.

We are a local affiliate network, and we have all the expertise you need to start your business in Singapore. If you need to register a Singapore company, these services can be used to complete the procedure successfully.

Setting Up a Company

Setting up a company in Singapore requires the completion of two procedures. The key to completing company registration is to determine the appropriate business structure. This will also determine the taxation of your business.

Essentially, there are three options for foreigners to choose from:

  • Private limited company – 1-50 shareholders, local director, pays corporate tax and has perpetual existence with natural person rights.
  • Sole proprietorship – unlimited liability towards losses and debts, the proprietor has no separate legal entity, pays personal income tax.
  • Limited liability partnership – includes separate legal existence and liability; partners pay personal income tax.

Foreign small business enterprises can choose to register:

  • Subsidiary company
  • Branch office
  • Representative office

Additional Essentials to Know About

Setting up a branch office of the parent company is the easiest way to expand your on-going business. The best way to do this hassle-free is to hire a company incorporation agent.

There is a wide variety of most excellent locations for your business in Singapore. The best thing about starting a business here is that the country offers a wide range of support programs for start-ups.


Setting up and registering a Singapore company isn’t that much of a challenge if you know all the rules. With that in mind, Piloto Asia is your partner that can make things a lot easier for you by handling all the legal work. Contact us today and get your quote.

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