Company Incorporation Step by Step

Singapore is a very productive country, with an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of over $400 billion, or around $70,000 per capita. It’s ranked number one for ease of doing business by the World Bank.

 

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It’s no surprise that many people want to incorporate a company in Singapore, and we’ll show you how to go about that.

 

Step 1: Choose a Name Before Company Incorporation

The first step is choosing a name that’ll differentiate your business from the competition. It must be a name not already taken by another business; you can check the online registry to confirm this. It must also not be similar to an established brand or trademark to avoid legal troubles.

You’ll submit your intended name to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) for review. If approved, the agency will reserve your name for 120 days, during which you must complete the incorporation or lose the reservation.

 

Step 2: Choose Directors

Every company must have appointed directors to manage its affairs. At least one director must be a Singaporean resident, but the rest can be foreigners. A director must be at least 18 years of age and have full legal capacity. They must also not have been disqualified for holding a director position due to their previous behavior (bankruptcy, fraud, etc.).

 

Step 3: Select Shareholders and Share Capital

Every local company must have an initial share capital of at least 1 Singaporean dollar or the equivalent in another currency. You can always increase the capital later on, so you shouldn’t worry so much about the figure.

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The business must have at least one shareholder, an individual or another registered firm. Shareholders can be local or foreign-based.

 

Step 4: Appoint Company Secretary for a Company Incorporation

The next step to incorporate a company in Singapore is to appoint a secretary. The secretary is responsible for managing the company’s administrative affairs and advising directors on complying with regulations. They must be a Singaporean resident and have “requisite knowledge and experience to discharge the functions of secretary of the company,” according to the Singaporean Companies Act.

 

Step 5: Registered Office Address

Every incorporated firm needs a physical office address to receive mail concerning business-related matters. This address must be open and accessible during work hours. If you don’t have an office location within Singapore, you can rent a shared, virtual office address affordably.

 

Step 6: Prepare Documents

You need some important documents to register a business, including

  • Proof of registered office address.
  • Valid identity documents for all shareholders, directors, and the company secretary.
  • Proof of residence for foreign shareholders and directors.
  • Articles of Association: A legal document outlining the rules governing the company.
  • Memorandum of Association: A legal document signed by all shareholders declaring their intention to form a business.

 

Step 7: Submit Application for a Company Incorporation

Gather all the aforementioned documents and submit them to ACRA alongside your application to incorporate a company. You can submit the documents in person or online via the BizFile portal.

ACRA will review your application and decide whether to approve it. An online application could be reviewed in less than 24 hours, while in-person applications usually take some days. However, your application can take longer to review due to certain factors, e.g., your business operates in a strictly regulated industry like healthcare, insurance, and financial services. In such a case, your application might be forwarded to another agency for secondary review, prolonging the time.If approved, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation confirming that your business is registered and formally recognized by the government.