Branch Office Registration Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re considering registering a new branch office 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 register a Branch Office in Singapore?
The actual registration of a branch office in Singapore can be accomplished in a matter of few hours as the whole process is computerized. However, the overall process can take anywhere from one day to few days depending on the following factors:
- Name reservation. Before a branch office can be registered, its name has to be reserved first. Assuming there are no objections to the name being proposed, the name reservation process can be accomplished in less than an hour. However, if the name conflicts with an existing name or if the proposed name contains some sensitive words that may require a review by relevant authorities, the name approval process can get delayed to few days or weeks.
- Signing of registration documents. If you are in Singapore, this is a quick and easy process. However if you are located overseas, the logistics involved in signing and sending the signed documents can take few days.
- Client due diligence process. In line with the CSP Regulations that took effect from July 2015, all professional firms must conduct KYC (Know Your Client) on their clients. How quick this can be done depends on the complexity of the company’s structure.
Does a Branch Office require the appointment of local directors/authorised agents?
Yes, a Branch Office must appoint at least one authorized representative who is a Singapore resident. The following individuals can be appointed as local authorised representative:
- a Singapore citizen;
- a Singapore permanent resident;
- a Branch Office employee holding an Employment Pass
We can provide the services of nominee local authorized representative when required.
What are the minimum requirements for registration of a branch office in Singapore?
Each Singapore branch office shall satisfy the following minimum statutory requirements as per the Singapore Companies Act:
- One local authorized representative resident
- A local registered address
As a foreign company, should we register a branch or a subsidiary in Singapore?
Most of the small to mid-size foreign companies prefer to register a subsidiary company in Singapore for the following key reasons:
- Liabilities of a subsidiary are not extended to its parent company.
- A subsidiary is not restricted to the business activities of its parent company.
- A subsidiary can take advantage of tax breaks and incentives available to local companies.
- A subsidiary is not required to file financial accounts of its parent company.
Are we required to visit Singapore to register our Branch Office?
No, you are not required to visit Singapore to register a branch office. We can work with you via emails and document couriering in order to get the necessary work done. However if you wish to open a bank account, a visit to Singapore might be a good idea. Almost all banks require an interview with the stakeholders and the process can go a lot smoother if there is a face-to-face meeting between you and the bank officer. For most banks, we are able to arrange the meeting at our own office. However, if you are not able to visit Singapore, the bank may conduct a phone interview and the due-diligence process can take longer.
We are an overseas company. Does this mean I need to register a Singapore branch?
- The liability of a subsidiary company is limited to the share capital of the subsidiary and does not extend to the parent company
- A subsidiary is generally considered a local resident entity and therefore eligible for local tax incentives
- A subsidiary company is eligible for double tax treaty benefits