Starting a business in Singapore is simply one of the best decisions that you can make. The country has been listed as one of the top places to do business globally for a very long time.

As a foreigner, you need to register a company and open a bank account to kick-start your business in Singapore. Keep on reading as we will list down the step-by-step process of how to do so.

Benefits of starting a business in Singapore

According to the 2020 Ease of Doing Business rankings conducted by The World Bank, Singapore secured second place in the list of countries that are the easiest for doing business. The Lion City has impressively maintained the top ranking for many consecutive years.

High Ranking of Singapore

Indeed, Singapore has attracted a great number of foreign entrepreneurs and businesses to come and invest, due to a wide range of advantages that the country can offer, including:

  • Ease of company formation (you can open your Singapore company completely online and the process normally can be done within 24 hours)
  • Favorable tax system (you can benefit from not only the low tax rates but also many beneficial schemes that can help your company legally lower the payable tax)
  • Singapore’s strategic locations and its modern infrastructure system
  • Highly-qualified workforce and great living standard
  • Opening immigration policy
  • Excellent intellectual property regime

How to start a business in Singapore as a foreigner?

Below is the 5-step procedure to set up a company in Singapore for foreigners:

Step 1: Pick the type of business entity

There are many types of business entities in Singapore from which you can choose. Some of the most common ones are listed below:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Limited liability company
  • General partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • Limited liability partnership

If you are still wondering what type to choose, the advice is to go for a private limited company. It is a company that is owned by a maximum of 50 shareholders. In general, this type of company can bring you more benefits than other types of business:

  • It is considered a separate legal entity.
  • Its members have only limited liability. This means you, as a shareholder, will not hold any liability beyond your own share.
  • It can be eligible for a tax exemption of 75% and other exclusive tax schemes and grants.
  • You will not be taxed on dividends distributed from the company.

Step 2: Choose the name of your company

The next thing to do is name your company. Here are some guidelines for you:

  • The name must be unique, meaning not the same or too identical to other existing ones.
  • The name should not contain any offensive meaning or sensitive words.
  • The name should not imply any connection with government agencies.

If your proposed name satisfies all the conditions, you are good to go!

Step 3: Engage a service for Singapore company registration

According to the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) – the government agency that oversees all business registration in Singapore, it’s advised for foreigners to engage a professional incorporation service to register a company in Singapore.

A service can easily help you cover all the incorporation requirements. In particular, to register a local company, you will need to fulfill the following:

  • Having a director who locally stays in Singapore
  • Having a local registered office address in Singapore
  • Having a secretary within 6 months after the incorporation
  • Having an auditor within 3 months after the incorporation
Start a Singapore company from overseas with ease

Start a Singapore company from overseas with ease

Our company formation service is specifically designed for non-local investors and international business owners, making it hassle-free for you to start your company.

For just $1,735, you receive everything you need to kickstart your venture without dealing with complex paperwork. This includes a nominee director, corporate secretary, a local address, and free support for opening a bank account.

If you’re in need of a Singapore work pass in addition to company incorporation, consider our ultra package priced at $1,996. We’ll provide full support for your work pass application, enabling you to move to Singapore and take charge of your company without delay.

For more details, please explore our Singapore company incorporation for foreigner services!

Step 4: Comply with the KYC procedure

For foreigners who want to engage professional service for company incorporation in Singapore, complying with know-your-customer (KYC) procedure is a must.

KYC is a necessary process aimed at verifying and understanding the identities and backgrounds of individuals or entities involved in the establishment of a company.

To comply with the KYC procedure, you will be required to provide specific documents and information, which includes:

  • The proposed name of your company
  • A comprehensive description of your company’s business activities
  • Certified copies of all members and shareholders of the company

Step 5: Receive the incorporation results

You can expect to receive a digital certificate of incorporation in just 24 hours. However, the processing time may be extended to a few days if the government needs more time to process your application.

This is where the incorporation service come in handy, because they have the capacity to promptly liaise with government agents to inquire about updates and the current status of your company’s incorporation process.

However, if you decide to handle the process on your own, make sure you remain proactive and diligent in monitoring the progress of the application.

Once your new company have been successfully formed in Singapore, you will receive an email with a certificate of incorporation and a business profile attached. The profile includes essential information about your company.


5 steps to start a Singapore company for foreigners

  • Step 1: Pick the type of business entity
  • Step 2: Choose the name of your company
  • Step 3: Engage a service for Singapore company registration
  • Step 4: Comply with the KYC procedure
  • Step 5: Receive the incorporation results

How to apply for a bank account as a foreigners?

To start a business in Singapore, you will need to open a bank account to transact with customers, partners, and even the government. It is also the best way to protect your personal assets since the company’s money is stored separately in its own account.

Singapore has one of the world’s best banking systems, with many large and reputable banks. A corporate account with Singapore banks can greatly enhance your business image.

The overall application processes are quite similar; however, each bank has a different set of conditions for approval. If you are a foreigner, it is really hard for you to apply on your own. The advice is to go for a reputable banking support service.

BBCIncorp can help you on this matter. We have successfully assisted many new companies in Singapore to open their business bank accounts. Here is the procedure to apply for a bank account if you work with us:

  • Consult our staff to pick the most suitable bank and know about the application process
  • Make a payment (if you place a separate order for our banking service)
  • Provide some required documents
  • File and submit the application (we handle this step on your behalf)
  • Go on an interview with the bank if your application is approved (we will schedule an appointment for you)

For an application, you will need to provide us with the following:

  • The corporate documents (e.g., certificate of incorporation)
  • The address proof and passports of all the company’s members
  • Bank reference letter and statements
  • Business proof (e.g., business contracts, agreements, invoices, etc.)

If the interview finishes well, you can expect your corporate account to be opened in a couple of weeks. Please note that the decision is solely made by the banks so we can not guarantee a success rate of 100%.

Having your company and bank account opening is enough for you to begin your business in Singapore. If your company operates in certain activities that require additional licenses, you need to apply and obtain them before starting your business.

Some notes for running your business in Singapore

To maintain good standing with Singapore law and ensure smooth operation for your company, you are required to comply with the following annual requirements:

  • Hold annual general meetings
  • Pay corporate income tax
  • File annual returns with ACRA
  • Fulfill corporate tax filing obligation with IRAS – the government agency for tax matters in Singapore
  • Maintain accounting records and the company’s register
  • Register for Central Provident Fund if hiring local staff
  • Register for Goods and Services Tax if needed

If you run a small company, it may be exempted from many requirements when meeting certain conditions. For example, it can be eligible for the following exemptions:


Tired of sifting through endless paperwork to understand jurisdictions’ compliance requirements? Our guide can help!

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To answer the question of how to start a business in Singapore, you need to do 2 main things: register a company and open a bank account. Both of them can be done easily with the help of a professional service.

Our dedicated support team handles all aspects of the process on your behalf, ensuring that you can establish your business in Singapore with without stress.

Should you have any questions or require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at or start a chat with our friendly support team. We are always here to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to start a business in Singapore?

To begin your business in Singapore, you will need to open a company and a corporate account. If you are a non-local, our Foreigner Basic package for incorporation will cover you on both matters. The fee for such package is $1,735.

Can a foreigner open a company in Singapore?

Yes, they can. A company in Singapore is allowed to be 100% owned by foreigners. However, to set up a local company, foreigners need to do it through licensed services.

How can I start a small business in Singapore?

You can quickly form a business in Singapore by taking the following steps:

  • Pick the type of company you want
  • Choose the company name
  • Use a service for company setup
  • Make a payment for the service
  • Supply the required information
  • Get your company’s certificate of incorporation
  • Apply for a bank account
  • Start your business

Is it easy to start a business in Singapore?

Yes, it is, with the help of our professional service. We will take care of everything for you. All you need to do is provide us with necessary documents.

Is it possible to establish a company in Singapore without a nominee director?

Yes, it is possible if you hold an Employment Pass and relocate to Singapore to fulfill the role of the company’s director.

However, if you do not meet this condition, the use of a nominee director will still be necessary.

Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.

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