Starting a Business in Singapore: A Quick Guide to Getting Your EntrePass or Singapore Entrepreneur Visa
With Singapore being a leading place in Asia to do business, it is no surprise that many prospective entrepreneurs consider using the city-state as the launching platform for their new businesses.
Here are several things you should know in order to obtain the EntrePass, also called Entrepreneur Pass or Visa, prior to starting a business in Singapore.
Who Can Apply?
To be considered eligible for Singapore entrepass the prospective entrepreneur must have or plan to start a private limited company which is registered in ACRA, Singapore's Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. The company must be registered either for less than six months before the visa application; or if it is yet to be registered, the individual's EntrePass application outcome can be known first before registering the company. The individual must own at least 30% of the new company's shares. In terms of funds, the new company’s paid-up capital should not be less than S$50,000.
As for the individual himself, there is no set minimum salary for the application. In addition, the new company must fulfill at least one of the following criteria: namely, obtain funding from a government-credited venture capital or business angel, possess intellectual property (IP), secure research collaboration with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) or a university, or be an incubatee with a government supported incubator. Any entrepreneur can apply for a Singapore EntrePass regardless of his nationality.
How to Apply?
The individual can apply directly through the Singapore Ministry of Manpower's online portal. The supporting documents needed for the application include a copy of the applicant's passport particulars page, previous employment testimonials which should be in English, as well as the company's most up-to-date business profile if it is already registered with ACRA. The applicant should provide a bank statement showing that the company has S$50,000 in funds in a Singapore-based company bank account.
It is required to provide the business plan as well, outlining the company's business idea, product or service offerings, market analysis and plan, operation plan, financial forecast, management personnel and any other company-related documents such as licensing agreements or product certifications. The administrative fee for EntrePass is 70S$. Application processing time is around 8 weeks. Immediately after the approval you will need to make $150 online payment for issuance of the pass.
What About Family Members?
An EntrePass holder can apply for dependant passes or long term visit passes for his family members based on several criteria, including having already renewed the visa, having a minimum amount of total business spending, and showing that a set amount of local jobs have been created. The EntrePass holder cannot bring family members to the country on his first application.
The EntrePass holder can bring his spouse and/or children to Singapore, provided he demonstrates that he has a minimum total business expenditure of S$150,000 and has created at least four local jobs. Should the entrepreneur wish to bring his parents to the country, he will need to show that he has a total business spending of S$300,000 and has generated minimum eight job positions for local employees. The entrepreneur's spouse and unmarried children aged under 21 (including the children who have been legally adopted) will get Dependant's Passes. As for the entrepreneur's common-law spouse, unmarried children with disabilities aged over 21, unmarried stepchildren aged under 21 or parents, they will get Long Term Visit Passes.
How to Renew the EntrePass?
Any EntrePass holder can renew his pass three months prior to expiration, submitting his application by post. The outcome is typically known within eight weeks. The documents required for the renewal are the company's most recent audited accounts, the employees' Central Provident Fund statements, the office tenancy agreement and the most up-to-date company registration information. The MOM will consider the renewal of the pass based on criteria such as whether the objectives of the initial business plan have been met, the number of locally created jobs and the total business spending generated.
Based on the number of years the individual has held the EntrePass, the required number of created jobs and minimum total business spending will increase proportionately. Upon successful renewal of the EntrePass the MOM will issue an In-Principle Approval letter. The onus is on the entrepreneur to secure the pass before the three-month expiration of the In-Principle Approval letter.
It is essential to make sure that your business plan is drafted well as it is the key factor for getting EntrePass.
The application procedure/requirements for securing EntrePass are generally more stringent than other types of workpass. As such, a foreigner entrepreneur may find the application process too tedious and lingering. Unless you are well familiar with Singapore laws, it is better for you to engage a competent professional agency to deal with all of the paperwork related to EntrePass application.You will definitely have to pay for the professional service but at the same time, it will put you closer to getting your Entrepreneur Pass approved because experienced professionals will take care that application meets the latest MOM requirements, thus reducing the possibility of a rejection.