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Establishing Foreign Business in Singapore

Most International Companies find Singapore to be a favorable destination to establish enterprises. Singapore has an open and efficient immigration policy that makes it easy for International entrepreneurs to visit Singapore and seek business opportunities.There are over 7000 MNCs based in Singapore. Many foreign embassies, government, chambers, associations, industrial bodies, etc have also set up their presence in Singapore to support and service their members here.
One can apply for a Visa with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to visit Singapore.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is responsible for the security of Singapore's borders against the entry of undesirable persons and cargo through either land, air and sea checkpoints.ICA also executes other immigration and registration functions like issuing travel documents and identity cards to Singapore citizens and other immigration passes and permits to foreigners. Other than these activities, it also conducts operations against immigration offenders.
Registering the Business
Singapore welcomes all types of enterprise and investment. Any individual, firm or corporation that seeks to carry out any business transaction in Singapore or establish a company must register with the relevant authorities. All International companies must have representatives in Singapore to act on their behalf. Pro-business policies make it easy for corporations to do business in Singapore. For the investor within the company, Singapore offers several ways in which one can enter and re-enter the country with relative ease.
Branch of A foreign Company
  • All branches must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
  • The applicant will need to hire a professional firm to register on your behalf.
Details on registering foreign branch offices can be found on ACRA's website. Accounting And Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is committed in making Singapore the trusted and best place for business. It's mission is to provide a responsive and trusted regulatory environment for businesses and public accountants. ACRA was honored with the CIO Asia’s CIO 100 Award in 2006 for implementing and improving its online registration and filing system, Biz File, for businesses.
Representative Office In Singapore
Establishing a Representative Office (RO) in Singapore is a good way for foreign businesses to explore business opportunities in Singapore or the region.
ROs in Banking and Insurance
To establish ROs in Banking and Insurance, one would have to register with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
ROs in All Other Industries
To set up ROs in other industries, one would have to register with International Enterprise (IE) Singapore
Activities That RO Can Execute
  • Market Research
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Liaison Work On Behalf Of Parent Company
Activities That RO Cannot Perform
  • Trade in goods/services (including import or export)
  • Lease warehousing facilities
  • Lease office(s) to other establishments for a fee
  • Enter into business contracts
  • Issue invoices/receipts
  • Open/Receive letters of credit
  • Provide services for fees
If the business entity wishes to ship, transship or store goods in Singapore, then the parent company needs to appoint a local agent or distributor. The business entity cannot use the RO to carry out these activities. For any business wanting to carry on operations in Singapore, the business entity needs to register a branch office or incorporate a company with ACRA.
New Business or Company
Any International Company can register a sole-proprietor, partnership, limited liability partnership, limited partnership or incorporate a Company in Singapore. But for that the Company has to apply for an EntrePass Scheme. The Entre Pass is an Employment Pass for foreign entrepreneurs who would like to start businesses in Singapore. Information on Entre Pass Scheme can be found below: 
Obtain Visas and Passes
Multiple Journey Visa
The Multi Journey Visa is ideal for business executives travelling in and out of Singapore frequently either to attend to business matters and investments or to look for business opportunities in Singapore. The visa is valid for 1, 2 or 5 years. For further information please visit Multiple Journey Visa
Passes For Foreign Employees
If the branch office, representative office or newly established business intends to hire employees from the home country, then the business entity needs to apply for Employment Passes and Work Permits. Foreign employees, entrepreneurs and students working in Singapore would have to apply for Employment Passes and Work Permits. 
For further details please visit   Employment Passes And Work Permits.

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