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EI FAQ Series

How can I start a business in Singapore from scratch with an Employment Pass or a Dependant Pass?

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How can I start a business in Singapore from scratch with an Employment Pass or a Dependant Pass?

The company registration process is almost similar for both EP and DP holders. To register a Singapore business, you must fulfill these requirements:

  • Register a company name
  • Minimum paid-up capital, which can be S$1
  • At least one local director or a nominee director
  • Company’s registered address in Singapore
  • One company secretary who is a local resident in Singapore
  • Minimum one shareholder of the company

The registration is done via ACRA’s online portal, BizFile+. You must submit your application with the required documents on BizFile+, and within a day (in most cases), you get your business registration approved.

However, there are some specific differences in the initial process and certain requirements when applying as an EP or a DP holder.

Let’s understand them separately.

EP holder starting a Singapore business

There are two ways for an EP holder to start and run a Singapore business.

  • You register a company in Singapore and apply for an Employment Pass under that company. Once your EP application is approved, you can relocate to Singapore (Or leave existing job in Singapore and start working for this new company) and act as your company’s director. Until then, you will have to hire a nominee director to fulfill ACRA’s requirement of having a local resident director, or get your PR/ Citizen friend to be the director of the company.
  • If you are already an EP holder, it means your Employment Pass is tied to the Singapore company you are working in. If you register a new company, you must hire a local director. If you want to act as the local director of your new company, you must obtain a LOC (Letter of Consent) from MOM and your current employer.

DP holder starting a Singapore business

DP holders can also register a Singapore company, however, to act as a local director of the company, they must obtain either an employment pass or Letter of Consent from the MOM. Only after getting the letter of consent, they can fulfil this role.

Please note the rules regarding obtaining a letter of consent got changed in May 2021.

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