How to Register a Company in Singapore

A company registration is the first step in establishing your business. It offers a number of benefits such as protection of shareholders’ assets, perpetual existence and a common seal.

The most preferred business structure in Singapore is a Private Limited Company. Incorporating a business in Singapore is quick and easy with the help of professional business incorporation services providers.
Choosing a Company Name

Choosing the right company name is an essential step in Singapore business registration. This is because the company name will reflect the image of the business and determine the type of business that can be registered in the country. Therefore, the company name should be carefully selected by observing the rules of Singapore’s Companies Act and identical names regulations.

In addition, the company name must be approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) before proceeding with the company incorporation process. ACRA will refuse to approve a proposed company name that is identical or similar to an existing reserved name.

In order to check whether the proposed company name is available, you can use ACRA’s online search portal or a free tool such as Lanturn. The latter will provide you with the results of ACRA’s database in real time, which is more accurate than other tools that purchase lists from third parties. Moreover, these other tools may display incorrect information due to outdated databases.
Filing an Incorporation Application

Once your company name has been approved, the next step is to file an incorporation application with Singapore’s company registrar, ACRA. ACRA’s BizFile+ portal allows you to check if the name you want is available for use.

When you submit your application, it must contain your company’s registered address and the date of its incorporation. You must also provide the details of your shareholders (unless you are registering a Private Company that has been exempted by the Minister) and its paid-up capital, which is the amount that each shareholder has paid for their shares.

You will need to include a company constitution, which sets out the company’s basic rules and relationships between its key actors. A standard form is available from ACRA, or the professional firm you engage may draft one for you. If your company has foreign shareholders, you will need to provide their passport copies and proof of identity. You must also provide a bank reference letter.
Obtaining a Certificate of Incorporation

A Certificate of Incorporation, or COI, confirms your company’s successful incorporation. It also demonstrates that your business is a legal entity separate from its owners and that it meets the minimum statutory requirements.

The registrar of companies, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), will first send you what’s called an incorporation e-notification, a statement that closely resembles a COI. Afterwards, you can purchase an electronic copy of the document from ACRA’s BizFile+ website with your SingPass login.

The cost of a COI depends on the type of business structure you have chosen. You must also have a company constitution, or articles of association, ready. You can use a standard template provided by ACRA or ask the professional firm you engage to draft one for you. The constitution will need to list the company’s directors and shareholders, as well as the company’s address and the type of business you intend to carry out. You may also need to apply for a business licence or permit if your company will operate in a regulated industry.
Obtaining a Business Registration Number

Just like a job applicant is required to conduct background checks on potential employers, business owners are recommended to verify the Singapore company registration of their future partners. This simple check is usually carried out before entering into any major contracts.

Entrepreneurs may choose to register their businesses as private limited companies or limited liability partnerships. Private limited companies are the most common choice since they operate as a separate legal entity from their shareholders and offer protection against personal liabilities.

To register a company in Singapore, entrepreneurs must meet the following requirements set by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). They must have at least one locally resident director that is either a citizen of Singapore or holds a valid work visa. In addition, all companies are required to appoint a professional company secretary within six months of their incorporation. Moreover, companies are required to file for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if their taxable turnover exceeds S$1 to register a company in Singapore