Legal requirements for setting up a business in Singapore by foreigners

Given the fact that Singapore is rated as the easiest place to do business in the world as per the World Bank’s “Doing Business Report 2010”, it’s not difficult to imagine that foreigners find it very easy to setup and do business in Singapore. In fact, in almost all aspects, foreigners are subject to the same legal requirements as the local residents.

For incorporating a private limited company in Singapore, the following legal requirements apply to both local and foreign residents:

  • The company must appoint a Singapore-based company secretary who is knowledgeable about Singapore Company Law.
  • The company must have a Singapore-based registered address often also known as the legal address of the company. Most commonly, this address is the address of the service provider who is acting as the company secretary. A company is not required to have a physical office.
  • The company must appoint at least one Singapore-based director. Foreign business owners who plan to relocate to Singapore can act as the Singapore-based director once their relocation visa (i.e. either employment pass or entrepass) is approved. If however they don’t plan to relocate, mostly commonly the Singapore-based director requirement is satisfied by using a resident director service from the incorporation service provider.
  • The minimum paid-up capital requirement is $1 only. Shares of a Singapore company can be 100% foreign-owned.

The only unique requirement that apply to foreigners is that they must engage the services of a professional services firm such as our company to handle the incorporation and statutory administration of the company.

Foreigners are not required to be physically present in Singapore in order to incorporate their company.

The annual filing requirements for a Singapore company are the same regardless whether it’s owned by a local or foreign resident.

To learn more, refer to our detailed guide titled Singapore Company Registration. Our firm Janus Corporate Solutions provides complete turnkey solutions for registration and ongoing statutory administration of Singapore companies.

Interested in doing business in Singapore? Find out how to incorporate a Singapore company.