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Do I need to visit Singapore to set up my company?

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Can I incorporate a Company in Singapore Without a Visit?

Singapore is an ideal place for foreigners looking to incorporate a business. Its pro-business policies, strategically-placed geographic location, and low corporate tax rates attract foreign business owners and entrepreneurs every year.

The company registration process in Singapore is not much complex. After submitting all the documents to ACRA, it takes a few hours for the application to process. However, there are many circumstances where foreigners need to consider remote incorporation. This article discusses whether foreigners can set up a Singapore company without visiting and the necessary steps for Singapore company registration.

This point becomes all the more important as during the covid-19 period the international travel has virtually stopped and businessmen are unable to visit Singapore for company incorporation.

Key Factors about Singapore company incorporation

There are three key factors you must know about Singapore company incorporation before registering your business in Singapore.

  • Foreigners can incorporate a Singapore company with 100% shareholding.
  • A foreigner can become a foreign director in one's company in Singapore.
  • Every Singapore company needs a resident director as per the Singapore Companies Act. In case you do not have a resident director, we can provide you a nominee director to fulfill this statutory requirement.

Two parts of Singapore company incorporation

Singapore company registration takes place in two steps.

Singapor company incorporation - Two part of corporation

Company registration with ACRA

The company registration with ACRA is the first step. You do not need to visit Singapore for it as foreigners cannot self-register and need to hire an authorized filing agent like Epica to register on their behalf. The procedure includes:

  • Identity verification via video conferencing / Later submission of notarized identity documents via courier
  • Submission of documents by your filing agent on ACRA's online platform, BizFile+
  • Registration documents sent to you after a successful registration

The entire procedure can be done remotely without any need to visit Singapore.


Opening a bank account for Singapore Company remotely

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was mandatory to visit Singapore to open a corporate bank account. Without the company's bank account, no business transaction can take place. Hence, opening a bank account is a significant part of the company's incorporation.

Singapore ompany incorporation - Open account remotely

Due to the Covid-19 situation, many Singapore banks started allowing the remote opening of corporate bank accounts for foreigners. The steps are similar:

  • Identity verification through a video conference and submission of required documents
  • Documents will be sent to you after successful account opening

The entire procedure can be done remotely without any need to visit Singapore.


Singapore company incorporation - Noted things

Things to note

To make sure that your application for remote incorporation and bank account opening gets successful, you must refrain from the following:

  • The ownership structure of the business is complicated
  • Business is in high-risk industries
  • The business model is unusual

The bank may not allow the remote opening of the corporate bank account in these situations. Even for regular cases, the account opening procedure is slow and takes about 4-5 weeks currently.

Conclusion

You don't need to visit Singapore to set up your company. However, you had to visit the city-state to open a corporate bank account before the Covid-19 situation. Since the mid-2020, many banks have started to allow remote bank account opening. Hence, it is possible now to register a company and open a bank account without visiting Singapore.

It is also estimated that in 2021 more banks will adopt this digital approach to provide more options to the customers for corporate banking accounts.

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