Secretarial MattersA Foreigner’s Guide to Incorporate a Company in Singapore

Singapore is being recognized as a business’ hub around the world, making it an APAC HQ for many foreign companies. Apart from that, Singapore also has a reputation to help businesses to scale domestically and globally. Furthermore, the country offers great benefits such as grants and attractive tax rates. But the main question is, “Is it easy to register a company in Singapore for a foreigner?” Well, it might be tricky, but with our guidelines below and with the aid of our services, your company will be up and running in no time, with compliance guaranteed.

Before heading into “how”, let’s first cover on “what” is required to incorporate a company.

The Business Game

Before stepping into a new venture, it’s good to first know and identify what your game plan is. Getting your ingredients ready before heating your pot is always a wise choice. 

Setting out a viable business plan, which includes the business activity, corporate structure, and even preparing a list of the top 3 potential company names would be a good start.

A Corporate secretarial Services Provided

Once you have all of your ingredients ready, it’s time to hand it over to the hands of the professional to prepare the rest.

Having the right set of hands to assist you in your incorporation can be a crucial part of setting up a company in Singapore. As a foreigner, you will require a Corporate Service Provider (CSP) to assist in incorporating the company.  Having a reliable and efficient CSP will give you the upper hand to maintain compliance with the regulatory authorities. Services providers like us will ensure that have everything you need that is required by law, and also to provide any updates of any regulatory changes. Thus, making sure that you are on the right side of the road.

For all private limited companies, it is mandatory by the Companies Act to have a Corporate Secretary appointed in the company. The role of a Company Secretary is to ensure that the director is complying with the Companies Act as well as the Annual Compliance filing obligation.

Local Director

Incorporating a Singapore company can be straightforward, especially with the assistance of the professionals. However, most foreign entrepreneurs would face a challenge to have a local resident director.

As part of the incorporation requirements, the company is required to have at least 1 local resident director. The local director is either a Singapore Citizen or a Permanent Resident of Singapore.

The next available option to overcome this is by appointing a nominee local director which can be provided by the Corporate Service Provider. We will be able to provide you with a local nominee director to fulfill the requirement.

Besides a citizen or an individual with the PR status, Employment Pass (The highest tier of a work visa), and a Dependent Pass can be appointed as the local director too. However, there a catch to it that makes the process a little more complicated.

For Dependent pass holders, the individual will have to request for a Letter of Consent (LOC) from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Being a director of a company is considered to be under employment. From our past experiences, the chances of getting approval for LOC is very high.

On the other hand, an Employment pass holder can be appointed as a local director only when the company sponsored the pass. Meaning to say that the company has to be incorporated first before any application of EP can be submitted. Once the pass is approved, the EP holder can be appointed as the local director of the company. Hence, there is still a need for someone else to be the local director until the pass is granted. 

Registered Office Address

As the next point suggests itself, the Company needs to have a registered office address at the point of incorporation. It doesn’t have to be the address of where your business takes place.  Usually, it may be difficult to locate an office in a short period of time, hence you may opt for the registered office address service which most corporate secretarial firm provides.

The company registered office address can be easily found on the internet by interested parties. Therefore, it is recommended to have a prime location to be registered as the office address, so that it can create a better image for the company. Nonetheless, all official correspondence will be posted to the company registered address.


One of the upsides for foreigners to set up a company in Singapore is that they are able to own 100% of the company shareholding. The shareholders can be an individual or a corporate entity However, there will be more compliance obligations if the company has a corporate shareholder. For instance, the requirement to file the full financial statements in XBRL format during the Annual Return filing.

Bank Account

By now, your company should be incorporated at this point as the bank account opening happens post-incorporation. Generally, most local banks offer different fee structures for a corporate bank account. It will be exhausting to compare each bank’s fee and be sure that the service level is acceptable.  

Here in Accountancy Hub, we work alongside with several banks in Singapore, providing the convenience to our clients as we will guide you through your account opening process.

Yearly Compliance

Maintaining of a Singapore company can be straightforward as most of the annual compliance filing is done digitally. However, it is always good to understand your responsibility as a director or a shareholder of a company. Typically, a private limited company has to prepare the financial statements and present them to the shareholders during the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Subsequently, an Annual Return which is a form of the declaration has to be submitted to ACRA. With the final tax computation being done, the company will then submit the tax form to IRAS before the due date.

Now that you are aware of the requirements, it is wise to have a corporate secretary to guide and remind you of your filing duties regularly.

Accountancy Hub provides a wide spectrum of services that helps companies resolve all their corporate needs. Not only supporting as a corporate secretary but also taking care of your accounting, taxation, and audit needs.

Still uncertain about how to prepare for your company? Contact us now as we would love to guide you through your journey here with Accountancy Hub.