Singapore Entrepreneur Pass Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re considering moving to and working in Singapore, you are bound to have questions. At Hawksford we’ll give you the answers and support your business growth.
How long does it take to process EntrePass application?
A rough timeline is as follows:
- It takes about 2 weeks to draft the business plan and prepare the Entrepass application for filing.
- Once filed, it takes authorities approximately 6-8 weeks to review the application and notify of the outcome.
- The authority will issue you an Approval In-Principle (AIP) letter, after which you have one month to incorporate the company and inject the capital. Depending upon whether you are located in Singapore or overseas during this time, this process may take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. The AIP deadline may be extended, subject to the authorities.
- Once the authorities have been notified of the company incorporation and capital, they will take approximately 2 weeks to send the final approval letter (In-Principal Approval), after which you have 6 months to visit Singapore and collect your EntrePass.
Will you prepare a business plan for my EntrePass application?
Yes, as part of our EntrePass application filing service, we will draft a business plan for you. However, you will need to provide us the details of your proposed business venture, including evidence that you fulfill one of the innovativeness criteria.
I own more than 30% of a company. Should I apply for EntrePass or Employment Pass?
- If you want to apply for a work visa before incorporating your company, you can only apply for the Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass).
- If you have a company and it is less than 6 months old, the authorities would usually recommend that you apply for EntrePass (not Employment Pass). Nevertheless, it is still possible to apply for an Employment Pass, and this is subject to the authorities.
- If your company is more than 6 months old, you can only apply for Employment Pass. In this situation, the authorities will look into how active your company has been since incorporation and may ask for the company accounts, contracts, etc.
What are important factors for the success of EntrePass application?
Key factors include:
- The quality of your business idea. Is it entrepreneurial in nature? Will it generate local employment? Does it have the potential to grow big?
- The "innovativeness" of your business idea. Do you have substantial funding from a venture capitalist or accredited angel investor? Are you undergoing any research collaboration with a recognized institution? Are you part of any incubation scheme in Singapore?
- Your personal credentials. Do you have qualifications to pursue the proposed business idea? Is your previous experience relevant to the proposed business idea?
- Proposed investment. How much money are you planning to invest into the business? Is it your personal money or borrowed money? Note that the minimum required amount is S$50,000.
Who is eligible to apply for Entrepreneur Pass?
Foreign owners of a newly incorporated Singapore company who will be relocating to Singapore to manage their company operations should apply for the Entrepreneur Pass, also known as EntrePass. You can apply for the EntrePass either before incorporation of the company or after the company has been incorporated (within 6 months of incorporation). If you are incorporating a Singapore company but don't plan to relocate to Singapore to run your company, you do not require an EntrePass.
Is a medical test required when applying for EntrePass?
When your Singapore work visa or permanent residence application is approved, authorities may require you to undergo a medical test. This will be indicated in your approval letter. Typically, the medical test includes a physical examination and some blood tests (to rule out serious diseases) and would usually require you to undergo an HIV Test and a Chest X-Ray. The physician would need to sign a form that will be attached to the approval letter.
For getting the medical tests done, we encourage you to come to Singapore and go to any clinic or hospital where they can give you the report on the same day. Wherever you go for your medical examination, if time is of the essence to you, make sure you confirm when the report will be ready before you proceed with the exam. Also, make sure to check the approval letter on the latest government policies regarding the medical test.
If you would like to get your medical test done in your home country, you can do so through a reputable clinic/hospital and bring the report with you when you arrive in Singapore. Please be mindful that the medical report must be in English.
I am not a shareholder in the company. Can I apply for EntrePass?
No. If you are not a shareholder or have less than 30% shares in the company, you cannot apply for Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass). You can, however, apply for Employment Pass, assuming that you are going to be employed by the company.
Do I need to visit Singapore to apply for EntrePass?
No, you are not required to visit Singapore to apply for EntrePass. We can work with you via emails and document couriering in order to get the necessary work done. However, once your EntrePass is approved, you will need to visit Singapore to collect your EntrePass. You are also expected to relocate to Singapore after the Entrepass has been issued to you.
What is the definition of “total business spending” criterion for assessing EntrePass renewals?
Total Business Spending (TBS) is the total operation expense as indicated in the audited financial statements, except for: (a) royalties/franchise fees/know how fees to overseas companies; (b) work subcontracted to overseas companies; and (c) remuneration to applicant and immediate family.
Can I apply for an EntrePass with a longer validity period beyond 1 year?
A newly issued and renewed EntrePasses would be valid for a period of up to one year. If the applicant needs a longer duration, he or she will need to put forth the reason and it can be looked into on a case by case basis.
I am an existing EntrePass holder. Will I need to meet the new “innovativeness” criteria?
No. Existing EntrePass holders can continue to operate their businesses without the need to meet the innovativeness criteria. However, please note that you will need to ensure that you apply for renewal on time. If you are late in your application for renewal of your pass, you will be subjected to the new criteria.
If I have secured investment from a venture capitalist, how can I prove "innovativeness"?
You will need to provide a shareholder certificate as evidence of the investment by the venture capitalist (VC). If the company is not yet incorporated, the MOM may accept contractual agreements and may request for other documents to verify the commitment. Please be reminded that the VC must invest at least $100,000 into the company. It is advisable to seek confirmation from MOM as to whether the VC is recognized by them for purposes of the EntrePass.