Preparing To Register

Before you register, you need to check the availability of your business name, find the right SSIC code, check your Medisave status for payment of any outstanding liabilities, etc.

Before approaching the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) to register your business, there are a few things you need to sort out on your own.


Meet The Eligibility Requirements

Sole-Proprietors, Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) and Limited Partnerships (LP)

  • Almost anyone or any company can register.
  • There are some exceptions, for instance, undischarged bankrupts may not be allowed to register such entities in Singapore. If in doubt, please consult a lawyer.
  • You must appoint a local manager if none of the owners registering is “ordinarily resident” in Singapore. For LLPs, a local manager must be appointed in all cases.
    • A person is not "ordinarily resident" if he/she:
      • does not have a local address; and
      • cannot legally remain in Singapore for a long period of time.
    • The local manager must be above 18 years old and be one of the following:
      • a Singapore Citizen
      • a Singapore Permanent Resident
      • an Employment Pass holder
      • an Approval-in-Principle Employment Pass holder
      • a Dependant Pass holder

Companies

  • Almost anyone or any company can incorporate a company. However, there must be at least one director of the company who is above 18 and be one of the following:
    • a Singapore Citizen
    • a Singapore Permanent Resident
    • an Employment Pass holder
    • an Approval-in-Principle Employment Pass holder
    • a Dependant Pass holder
  • Directors cannot be bankrupts or persons convicted of dishonesty. Consult your lawyer for a full list of people who are disqualified from being directors.
  • There must be at least one shareholder and one director. They can be the same person. However, most companies opt to have at least 2 directors as banks and other financial institutions usually require 2 signatories.

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Check Availability Of Business Name

  • You will need to decide on a name for your business and then make sure no one else has taken it. The business name cannot be:
    • identical to that of another entity on the register
    • obscene or contain vulgarities
    • reserved or of a kind that the Minister has directed the Registrar not to accept for registration
  • You can check the availability of business names by searching ACRA’s online directory of businesses on BizFile.

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Find The SSIC Code For Your Business

  • The SSIC or Singapore Standard Industry Classification code is ACRA’s way of categorising businesses.
  • You will need to provide the SSIC code when registering your business.
  • Search for the right SSIC code using ACRA's online search engine.  The search engine works with keywords such as 'cooking', 'diving', 'education' and 'furniture'. You can also use a combination of keywords, like 'metal manufacturing'.
  • If you have difficulty finding the right SSIC Code, please call the ACRA HelpDesk at (65) 6248 6028 between 8am to 7pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays, excluding Public Holidays.

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Choose A Place Of Business

  • When registering your business, you will be asked to provide a local address for your place of business.
  • Premises must be approved for business use by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
  • P.O. Boxes cannot be used as a registered business address.
  • Residential flats or properties can only be used under the Home Office Scheme (HO).

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Check Your Outstanding Medisave Liabilities

  • Before you register for a sole-proprietorship, partnership, LLP, or an LP, you must first ensure that you have paid up your Medisave liabilities or have arranged for payment by instalments.  You can find out your outstanding Medisave liabilities from CPF Board’s website.
  • There are several ways to pay your Medisave liabilities:
    • GIRO - The most convenient way as it allows the CPF Board to deduct the money directly from your bank account monthly.
    • NETS/Diners Credit Card - You can make payment at any AXS station (only selected AXS stations accept NETS from all local banks).
    • Cheque - Go to any CPF Service Centres to make payment over the counter or mail your cheque to CPF Board. Make your cheque payable to “CPF Board” with your name and NRIC clearly written on the back of the cheque.
    • NETS/Cash - You can make payment at any Singapore Post Offices.
    • E-Cashier - You need an e-banking account from Citibank, POSB, DBS or UOB to pay at CPF Board's website.
  • You also need SingPass to login to your CPF account. SingPass is available to Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Employment Pass holders and Dependant Pass holders over 15 years old. You can get your SingPass over the counter or online.

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Obtain Licences & Permits

  • Certain types of businesses such as private schools, childcare centres and video companies require licences and permits.
  • You should find out what licences and permits you need to obtain and what the requirements are before registering your business. Otherwise you may find out later that you cannot operate the business.
  • You can use the Online Business Licensing Service (OBLS) to register your business and apply for licences and permits at one go.

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Decide To Self-Register Or Engage A Professional

  • You need to decide if you are going to self-register or engage a professional service firm.
  • Professional firms like law firms, accounting firms and corporate secretarial firms and service bureau can be found in the Yellow Pages and Classifieds. You may also want to ask other business owners for referrals and contacts.
  • For self-incorporation of a company, all the directors, the company secretary and shareholders must be Singapore NRIC holders, Employment Pass holders or Dependant Pass holders. Otherwise, you need to engage a professional service firm to register on your behalf.
  • If you intend to self-register, please read DIY Or Self-Registration for details on the procedures.

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