Can I Open a Company in Singapore under Dependant Pass?

3 min read

You’re in Singapore under Dependant Pass and time has come to open your own business. Congratulations! Here’s what you need to do.

Can I incorporate if I have a Dependant Pass?
How do I get a Letter of Consent?
What are the restrictions for DP holders?
Who is a nominee director?
What do I need to start a business?
What does the incorporation process look like?
How much does it cost to open a company in Singapore?

Can I incorporate if I have a Dependant Pass?

Yes, you can, but there are conditions. The process towards incorporating are essentially the same as registering your business as a foreigner who would want to open a business in Singapore.

Here are the steps to incorporate your company when you are in Singapore on a Dependant Pass.

Step 1:  Register a Private Limited Company

You would need to:

·       Draft the incorporation documents

·       File them with ACRA

·       Obtain the Certificate of Registration

·       Obtain all the licenses needed to operate.

Step 2: Appoint local directors who are Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents

Find a local contact, for example, your friend or a trusted contact with a Singaporean Citizenship or Permanent Resident as your local director. This requirement is important to register your company in Singapore.

Step 3: Open your corporate bank account

Arrange for an executive director to open your corporate bank account after your company is incorporated as a Private Limited Company.

As a DP holder, you cannot open a bank account on your own.  You would need to apply for an Employment Pass. That’s one thing we can also help you with.

Read More: How to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Singapore

Letter of Consent (LOC) is a permission to work granted by the Ministry of Manpower. It takes about 3 weeks to receive. There are three requirements to get one:

  • The application has to be submitted by your employer – that is, your new company.
  • Your DP has to be valid for 3 months.
  • Your DP has to be sponsored by an EP, EntrePass, or a Personalized EP holder. If your spouse has an S-Pass, you can’t choose this option.

What are the restrictions for DP holders?

Your DP status is tied to the Employment Pass of your spouse. If the original EP expires, so does your DP and your LOC. So your status in Singapore is completely dependent on your spouse.

Another issue is the local director. Singapore law requires each business to have a resident director. DP holder can’t be one, so you either ask a local you know to play the role or hire a Nominee director. It’ll cost you S$1,800 - S$2,500 a year, plus many agencies charge a refundable deposit of S$2,000.

Employment Pass takes 3-6 months, while you’re waiting you’ll spend about S$500 – S$1000 on the nominee. Once your EP is ready, you fire the nominee, and become a resident director yourself.

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.

What do I need to start a business?

To register a business in Singapore you need to have a local address, a corporate secretary, a resident director and paid up capital of $1.

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 depends on whether you apply for a new EP or not. Here are the two options:

You want to be an employee 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$2,500–S$5,000 S$2,200–S$4,500

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


S$900–S$3,500 S$1,700–S$3,000
If you have a resident director If you have a resident director

Next steps

Setting up a company in Singapore can be tricky. There are quite a few documents to take care of. Our experts can help you with the procedure and are ready to answer all your questions.

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