Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • UK
  1. Osome Blog Singapore
  2. How Can Expat Open a Company in Singapore?

How Can Expat Open a Company in Singapore?

How Can Expat Open a Company in Singapore?

You’re in Singapore under Employment Pass and thinking about setting up a company in Singapore. Congratulations! Here’s what you need to do.

Can I incorporate if I have an Employment Pass?

Sure. There are two options: you can be only a shareholder in your company if you don’t want to change your status. You can’t officially work for your company in this case.

Or you can be a director. For that, you need to get a new Employment Pass (EP) issued per your new company. It’s best if you are not a shareholder in this scenario to ensure receiving an EP. You’ll have to leave your current employer, too.

Can I become a resident director myself?

You don’t have to, but it might be cheaper. Singapore law requires each company to have at least one resident director. There are three ways to go:

  • Invite someone you know to be a local director.
  • Hire a Nominee Director, it’ll cost you S$1,800 - S$2,500 a year (many agencies also charge a refundable deposit of S$2,000 which we’ll explain below).
  • Apply for EP and become one yourself. It usually takes 3-6 months, so you’ll still need the nominee service while you’re waiting.

Who is a nominee director?

A Nominee formally holds director’s position, without any actual decision-making powers or authority to run the company. He is a company officer on paper, necessary to meet the requirements of the law. When you hire a Nominee, many agencies ask you to place a refundable deposit of S$2,000. It works as insurance for the nominee, you get it back when his contract expires.

Can I keep my old Employment Pass and still become a director?

Only if your current company is affiliated with the new one. Then the Ministry of Manpower can issue a special approval. If not, you will have to apply for a new Employment Pass.

Can I transfer my Employment Pass to my new company?

No, EPs are issued per one specific company. You can only work for the employer that sponsors your visa. So after you’ve incorporated, your new business has to apply for your new Employment Pass. Do it seamlessly: there’s no need to cancel your old EP before you secure the approval of a new one.

What do I need to start a business?

You need a local address, a corporate secretary, and a resident director. Remember, existing Employment Pass does not qualify you to be a resident director, so invite a local, or hire a nominee.

What does the incorporation process look like?

Usually incorporation is handled by an agency which also provides you with necessary services such as corporate secretary, nominee director or local address. They will fill in an application and submit it to ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). The application contains your passport details, company name, resident or nominee director data, corporate secretary details, all your shareholders, and local address. Normally an application can be confirmed within minutes.

How much does it cost to open a company in Singapore?

The expenses include incorporation, government fees and the first year of necessary services – corporate secretary, local address, and nominee director. The total may vary depending on whether you apply for a new EP or not. Here are the two options:

You want to be a shareholder only, not a director, and you don't apply for an EP
You'll need a nominee director all the time
You want to be a director, and you apply for an EP
Hire a nominee for 3–6 months while waiting for an EP
S$2,550-S$5,000 S$2,650-S$4,500

+ S$6,000 monthly salary you pay yourself to qualify for EP

OR

S$900-S$2,500 S$1,700-S$3,500
If you have a resident director If you have a resident director

At Osome, we bundle them together into Islander package for S$2,650 a year. That's a deal that covers Employment Pass plus all the Incorporation essentials for a foreigner: company registration, local address with resending correspondence to you, Unlimited Secretary including all resolutions, and a Nominee Director without any deposit required. At S$2,650, the price provides a S$390 discount, making it one of the best offers for a foreigner.

Next steps

You have chosen the right place to register a business. Singapore offers great opportunities – but even here setting up a company can be a challenge. Our experts are ready to help you with the procedure and to answer all your questions.

Share this post:

Tips to run your business smarter.
Delivered to you monthly.

You'll receive a verification email you'll have to open and confirm the subscription.

You might like it

10 Tips To Prepare For Fundraising From a Venture Capitalist
Entrepreneur's Bootcamp

10 Tips To Prepare For Fundraising From a Venture Capitalist

The most difficult part of starting your own business can be raising capital. For practical tips, we asked Jason Edwards of VentureCap Insight. He’s seen many startups ask for money from his experience as a venture capitalist.

11 Reasons to Choose Osome to Take Over Your Accounting
Accounting

11 Reasons to Choose Osome to Take Over Your Accounting

To get the best chance at success, entrepreneurs have to make sure they have the right partners around them when starting their own business. Here’s why we are the right partner for your accounting tasks.

The Ultimate List of Best Banks for E-commerce Businesses in Singapore
Entrepreneur's Bootcamp

The Ultimate List of Best Banks for E-commerce Businesses in Singapore

E-commerce has advanced so rapidly that not all banks can keep pace. Choosing the right bank will help you succeed in your business and grow.

The Only Guide You Need To Create Your First Invoice
Accounting

The Only Guide You Need To Create Your First Invoice

Simple invoices can help save time with all basic accounting details you require to bill clients for your work. Think of them as organised documents that are easy to understand and create.

New Business Owners' Guide to Reading Balance Sheets
Accounting

New Business Owners' Guide to Reading Balance Sheets

When it comes to managing your business, one of the most crucial financial statements is the balance sheet. We cannot emphasise how important it is to learn how to read a balance sheet to ensure your company's financial health.

The Guide to Tax Deductions: Expenses You Can Write Off
E-commerce

The Guide to Tax Deductions: Expenses You Can Write Off

In this article, we will go through what kind of business models will require you to pay tax, what counts as business expenses, what tax exemptions mean, and how to claim exemptions.

Filing Requirements to ACRA and IRAS: What All SG Companies Need To Know
Secretary

Filing Requirements to ACRA and IRAS: What All SG Companies Need To Know

Every year, Singapore companies are required to file their annual returns and tax returns to two government agencies – the Accounting Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

5 Benefits of a Digital Business Account vs. Traditional Bank Account
Incorporation

5 Benefits of a Digital Business Account vs. Traditional Bank Account

In an increasingly digital world, the way we bank is changing. Digital banks are probably something you may have heard about while thinking of setting up your business in Singapore but wondering how they can help you run your business better.

Your New Entrepreneur’s Guide to Selling on Lazada, Qoo10, Carousell and Shopee
E-commerce

Your New Entrepreneur’s Guide to Selling on Lazada, Qoo10, Carousell and Shopee

Today, we will go through the four biggest E-commerce platforms in Singapore - Lazada, Qoo10, Carousell and Shopee, to see how you can make full use of their platform to kickstart your business.

Calculating the Taxable Income of My Company
Tax

Calculating the Taxable Income of My Company

When it comes to tax season, it is crucial for you to understand which part of your business is taxable, so you can stay compliant with the law.

A New Entrepreneur's Guide to Selling on Amazon
E-commerce

A New Entrepreneur's Guide to Selling on Amazon

Sell on Amazon, the world's biggest e-tailer, and break into the Hong Kong market.

Q&A on Paying Taxes as International Seller on Amazon.sg
E-commerce

Q&A on Paying Taxes as International Seller on Amazon.sg

Planning to sell your products to Singapore on Amazon.sg as an international seller? Many sellers are often confused about the tax liability on their sales online. Every country has its own set of tax regulations and tax rules are always changing.

Tips to run your business smarter. Delivered to you monthly.

You'll receive a verification email you'll have to open and confirm the subscription.

We’re using cookies! What does it mean?