Can a foreigner incorporate a company in Singapore?

In the process of incorporation of a company two key parties involved. A shareholder and a Director. Shareholders are owners of the company. Whatever company owns – its property, cash, stock and the profit it makes, ultimately belongs to the shareholders.

Director is like a manager of the company, who runs the show. The responsibility of whatever happens in the company is with Director (Note it carefully its with Director and not with shareholder). In most of the cases Director and shareholder are same people.
Any individual (above 18 years old) or a corporate or any other business entity (For e.g. a company or a trust) is allowed to establish a company in Singapore as long as it abides by Singapore law. He can become Foreign Director of the company as well as can take shareholding in the company. There are no residency requirements or special qualifications for the person to incorporate a company. The person should not have been involved in any fraud or criminal activity and is not an undischarged bankrupt.

As in case of an individual any overseas body corporate or business entity can also subscribe shares in the Singapore Company and incorporate the same.

What it basically means is anybody can incorporate a company in Singapore if you conform to above mentioned conditions. Additionally it’s worth noting that Singapore companies act allows a 100% foreign ownership of companies. So, whatever assets & profits which business generates will be totally belonging to the foreign individual or corporate. There are no special qualifications, or visas required for incorporation.

Requirements for incorporating a company in Singapore

This page will explain you all the requirements for incorporating a company in Singapore and some specific points foreigners need to note.

Basic requirements for forming a company in Singapore



Director is like manager of the company. Director (or board of directors) oversees the operations of the company. Every Singapore based company must have minimum one director who should be a Singapore Citizen or a Singapore permanent resident or an employment pass holder. Foreign nationals can be appointed as foreign directors in addition to the local director. Any person who is 18 years + of age can act as a director. However, undischarged bankrupt or people convicted of any malpractice cannot be appointed as a director.

If you do not have any Singapore local resident to act as director then we can provide you a nominee Director. In that case you will also be appointed as foreign director of your Singapore company. If you have more questions about roles and responsibilities of the nominee director then please refer to our Nominee Director page.



    To incorporate a company in Singapore you will need minimum one shareholder. Shareholder can be an individual or a corporate. Shareholders are like owners of the company. They may or may not actively operate on day to day operations of the company. Singapore companies act allows 100% foreign shareholding. In most of the small private limited companies, shareholders and directors may be the same person.

    Since ownership of the company is with the shareholders of the company, appointing a nominee Director does not impact your shareholding. You are still 100% owner of your company.


      Company Secretary

      Every company needs a secretary who is individual and resident in Singapore. Secretary is like administrator of the company, who takes care of all compliance aspects. Secretary is responsible for maintaining all the statutory registers, resolutions, minute books of the company.

      Transcend will provide a secretary to take care of compliance aspects of your company. Company secretary is a legal position and should not be misunderstood with the commonly known junior secretary positions.


        Share Capital

        Minimum share capital required is $1, however in reality, the share capital will usually depend on nature of business and its future plans.


          Local registered address

          Every company needs to provide local Singapore address to register a company. This address cannot be a PO Box address.

            Foreigners can normally satisfy only two requirements out of it, i.e. becoming a shareholder and bringing in share capital. So in this case Transcend Consulting will provide you a nominee Director, a company secretary and a registered address for your business.

            Specific points to note for foreigners

            Assistance from professional firm like Transcend

            Foreigners cannot register a company themselves. They must engage a professional firm like Transcend to submit documents and complete the incorporation process.

            You don’t need special visa

            For incorporation you don’t need a special visa. You can visit Singapore on a visitor visa and complete the formalities. Moreover after the company is incorporated you can use visitor visa to visit Singapore for your business matters on a short term basis.

            Working in Singapore

            If you need to work for your company in Singapore on a longer term basis, then you will need to get an employment pass. Transcend can assist you in filing your application for employment pass under your new company.

            Physical office space

            For most of the businesses, there is no mandatory requirement to have a physical office for a Singapore company. A company can be operational using a virtual address. For our clients we provide our address as registered address for their company.

            No mandatory requirement to employ people

            There is no mandatory requirement to have an employee in a Singapore company. Company can be operated completely from overseas.

            Documents required for incorporation

            Company registration form

            This form captures all relevant details like company name, shareholding structure, Directors and shareholders of the company.

            Completed KYC form (In case engaging nominee director service)

            KYC form collects information about client's existing business and purpose of new Singapore entity. This form is important consideration before providing Nominee Director service

            Copies of passports of all directors / shareholders of proposed new company

            Proof of identification of all Directors / Shareholders of new company

            Residential address proof of all directors / shareholders

            Usually utility bill, telephone bill, bank statement with address will suffice

            Clients business profile in his home country

            Certificate of incorporation of your business in home country. If you are currently not owning any business then you can provide your work and experience history. (In case of corporate shareholding this document is must).

            Bank statement / Bank reference letter

            Issued in the name of your business in home country. Alternatively reference letter issued in your personal name is ok.

            Certificate of incumbency of parent company

            In case of shareholding by foreign corporate, a certificate of incumbency will be required. This document shows latest list of directors and shareholders in the parent company.

            Procedure and Timeline

            Registration of a Singapore subsidiary is computerized and can be completed within a day. The basic steps include name approval and company incorporation. Delays in the process can happen only when the documents are incomplete and/or there is a delay in the approval of name. All foreigners setting up a company in Singapore are required to use a professional firm that specializes in setting entities in the country.

            Opening a Bank Account

            A Singapore company can open an account in any banks operating in Singapore, whether local or international. Procedures in opening an account depend on individual banks.
            We generally recommend a visit of 2-3 days to Singapore to complete incorporation process. On the first day, after signing all the forms the company is registered and on the second day we organize your meeting with the bank representative.