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?
Yes, you can. There are two ways to go: become a regular employee or a director in your company. The first option is simpler: you incorporate, get a letter of Consent, and remain on a Dependant Pass (DP). If you want to be a director, apply for an Employment Pass (EP) from your new company after you’ve incorporated. It takes more time and effort, but gives you independence and helps save some money.
How do I get a Letter of Consent?
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$6,000 monthly salary you pay yourself to qualify for EP
|If you have a resident director||If you have a resident director|