Can foreigners set up business in Singapore?

Sarah Ong, Works at HSBC
Answered April 24, 2019

Yes, foreigners who are 18 years old and above can set up a business in Singapore, whether single proprietorship, a partnership, or a local company.

Sole Proprietorship

You must be a permanent resident or EntrePass holder in order to register a sole proprietorship business in Singapore. If you are not a resident, you must appoint a local resident, a permanent resident or an EntrePass holder as your authorized representative.

The whole registration process entails choosing a business name, setting a business address, and registering the new business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) through BizFile+.


A partnership is a type of business that is owned by 2 to 20 partners. Owning a partnership in Singapore has similar requirements as owning a single proprietorship. If all partners do not reside in Singapore, an authorized representative should be appointed. The rights and duties of business partners are regulated and protected through the Partnership Act. However, partners can also draft their own partnership agreement if they wish to do so.

Local Company

Foreign individuals or companies can register a local company in Singapore with a minimum paid-up capital of S$1. Foreign companies can register a local company as a branch, a subsidiary, a representative office, or a redomiciled company. A private company can have a maximum of 50 shareholders and can be 100% foreign-owned. The company must have at least one local resident Director. In addition, the company must appoint a qualified Corporate Secretary within 6 months of incorporation. Local companies in Singapore are regulated based on the Companies Act.

The following are required by ACRA for company registration:

  1. Company Name
  2. Short description of business activities
  3. Details of shareholder(s)
  4. Details of director(s)
  5. Details of company secretary
  6. Registered Address
  7. Company Constitution

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