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Epica Guide Series

A Complete Guide to EntrePass Singapore

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Singapore EntrePass Guide

Singapore attracts thousands of foreign entrepreneurs and business owners annually to set up their businesses in the city-state. Its strategic geographic location, bilateral treaties, straightforward registration procedure, and minimum annual compliance requirements make it an ideal choice to incorporate a business.

However, people who wish to relocate and set up their businesses in Singapore must obtain a work permit from the MOM (Ministry of Manpower) in Singapore.

Foreign professionals can obtain an Employment Pass or Personalized Employment Pass to work in Singapore. However, foreign entrepreneurs who wish to relocate and incorporate a Singapore startup can also avail an EntrePass, short for Entrepreneur Pass.

What is Singapore EntrePass?

An EntrePass is a work visa for foreign innovators, experienced investors, and serial entrepreneurs who want to set up innovative businesses that add value to the Singapore economy and inject innovation and vibrancy.

The Singapore authorities refined the EntrePass framework. This was done to attract technopreneurs and R&D-intensive enterprises in various sectors (including biotech and cleantech).

This guide about Singapore EntrePass provides a detailed insight into the EntrePass scheme.

Key Points about Singapore EntrePass

Complete EntrePass Guide - Related company

A candidate must learn the following key points about an EntrePass before proceeding with their EntrePass application.

  • An EntrePass can only be obtained if the candidate has not registered a private limited company in Singapore yet or the already-registered business is not more than six months old. After six months, the candidate must apply for an Employment Pass rather than an EntrePass.
  • EntrePass holders can apply for a Dependant Pass or a Long Term Visit Pass to bring their specific family members together with them but from 2nd year only. Dependant Pass/ LTVP privileges are not available in the year 1.
  • For a successful EntrePass application, the candidate must fulfill at least 1 out of 7 qualification requirements
  • A candidate can apply directly, and there is no minimum salary requirement
  • No requirement of foreign worker levy or any other similar quota
  • EntrePass holders can further apply for a Permanent Resident status

Eligibility Criteria

Three different government bodies review the EntrePass application in Singapore.

  • SPRING Singapore, short for Standard, Productivity, and Innovation Board
  • IMDA, short for Infocomm Media Development Authority
  • NRF, short for National Research Foundation

A person from any nationality can apply for an EntrePass in Singapore. However, one must fulfill the following criteria to become eligible for a successful EntrePass application:

Basic Requirements

An entrepreneur must fulfill the following basic requirements to apply for a Singapore EntrePass:

Complete EntrePass Guide - Eligibility
  • Must be at least 21 years old and possess relevant qualifications and experience
  • The entrepreneur intends to register a Singapore Limited Liability Company with ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). In case the company is already registered, it cannot be more than six months old.
  • The entrepreneur will relocate to Singapore to manage the new company’s operations
  • An innovative and entrepreneurial business proposal with the ability to create local employment
  • The entrepreneur must hold a minimum of 30% shares in the company. However this is not mandatory at the time of registration of the company. Instead it is checked at the first renewal.

Business Plan

A business plan is a significant part of your EntrePass application. It must provide a detailed insight into your professional business experience, your business idea’s viability, and its implementation plan.

Your business plan must comprehensively portray the following information:

Complete EntrePass Guide - Business plan

Applicant’s Profile

The applicant’s profile must state the following information about an applicant:

  • Professional experiences, like track record in various startups and growing businesses
  • Academic qualifications
  • Awards or recognitions, like any award from a recognized media, organization, or a national authority
  • Resources or special skills, like technology, IP, financial, networks

Business Idea

The business idea must demonstrate the following critical data:

  • Details of product and service that your company is going to offer
  • An extensive market analysis
  • Supporting documents, like product certifications, licensing agreements, and endorsements

Implementation Plan

An implementation plan must include the following key elements:

  • Marketing plan
  • Operation plan
  • Management team’s profile
  • Financial projections

Minimum Eligibility Criteria

You must also meet the minimum eligibility criteria as an entrepreneur, investor, or innovator.

Complete EntrePass Guide - Criteria

As an Entrepreneur

The candidate must meet any of the following minimum eligibility criteria to qualify as an entrepreneur.

Acquire funds from a business angel or government-recognized VC

  • Monetary funding of at least S$100,000
  • Documentary proof or a shareholder certificate as an investment proof from the business angel or Venture Capitalist firm
  • Some of the most prominent examples include Vertex Ventures, ESVF (Early Stage Venture Fund) scheme’s venture partners, and investors qualified under the StartupSG Equity scheme

Is an incubator at any of the government-recognized accelerator or incubator

Some of the examples of such incubators and accelerators include:

  • Accelerators and incubators partnered in the Startup SG Accelerator Programme of the Enterprise Singapore
  • Acceleration or incubation programs linked with SGInnovate
  • Accredited Mentor Partners under Startup SG Founder

Demonstrate a promising entrepreneurial track record and have an extensive business network

Under this category, the entrepreneur must possess significant professional experience or a business network and a prominent entrepreneurial track record of founding and operating a highly-scalable business. The entrepreneur must be willing to leverage the skills mentioned above to incorporate, manage, and scale a new or existing business in Singapore.

Following are the requirements to meet this qualification:

  • Founder of a tech company that was later sold
  • Have raised a significant amount of funds for a new or past venture
  • Currently being incubated or have been incubated by a world-renowned accelerator or incubator
  • Has strong business contacts or a sturdy business network that can be leveraged for your proposed business
  • A proven entrepreneurial track record in your proposed business
  • Has received an award of recognition relevant to your entrepreneurial, business, or professional track records and achievements by a national body, a credible organization, or a recognized media

Complete EntrePass Guide - Investor

As an Investor

The candidate demonstrates a promising track record of business investments and also wishes to invest and scale fresh or existing Singapore businesses.

Requirements:

  • Is willing to invest a substantial amount in a Singapore local company
  • A promising track record in investing and driving the growth of highly-scalable businesses
  • Significant experience of working as a senior management professional or at an executive position in a large corporation

Complete EntrePass Guide - Innovator

As an Innovator

The candidate must meet any of these qualifications to pass as an innovator.

Holds an IP

The candidate or the respective corporation must hold a licensed IP (Intellectual Property).

However, the candidate must fulfill all of the below-mentioned requirements to pass this criterion:

  • Have a registered IP with an acclaimed IP institution
  • It must deliver a competitive advantage to the proposed business
  • It cannot be easily replicated
  • Intellectual Property’s owner must be a shareholder of the company
  • Expired IP can also be considered if one of the company’s shareholders is its inventor

Has research collaboration with a Singapore research institute

The research collaboration must be with an IHL (Institute of Higher Learning) in Singapore.

Some examples include:

  • Research institutions that come under A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology, and Research)
  • Entities that come under CREATE (Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise)
  • Approved private sector and non-profit research groups
  • An IHL, e.g., Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore

You must meet the following criteria:

  • Your involvement is consistent in the research collaboration
  • Research collaboration and your proposed business are must be relevant to each other
  • A person to connect and verify the research collaboration’s details must be provided from the research institution
  • Services’ contract does not qualify as research collaboration

Exceptional skills and achievements

  • You possess extraordinary technical or domain expertise in critical areas of expertise that are relevant to your proposed business.
  • You have received international recognition or claimed achievements in your area of technical or domain expertise

It is not mandatory to fulfill all the requirements for each respective type or profile. Though, more qualifications are more helpful for a new application as approvals for them are limited.


Businesses not eligible for an EntrePass

The EntrePass is strictly for entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors that are going to bring innovation and new employment opportunities to Singapore. Therefore, some businesses that do not provide the required value to the city-state are excluded:

Complete EntrePass Guide - Not eligible
  • Nightclubs and bars
  • Hawker centers
  • Massage parlors and foot reflexology
  • Employment agencies
  • Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and herbal dispensing business
  • Food courts and coffee shops
  • Karaoke lounges
  • Geomancy businesses

Documents Required

Complete EntrePass Guide - Not eligible

The candidate must submit these documents for the EntrePass application:

  • Page on the passport that contains personal particulars
  • Testimonials from past employers or a resume that elaborate on your business experience, achievements, and awards
  • Business plan of 10 pages
  • Copies of relevant academic qualification
  • Company’s latest business profile if it has been registered with ACRA already
  • Other documents asked by MOM

Additional Documents

If you are submitting your application as an entrepreneur, investor, or an innovator, you must submit additional documents that support your claim.

For Entrepreneur

Claim

Proof

Funding from a government-approved VC or business angel Documents that state that you have successfully raised over S$100,000 in funding, e.g., shareholder certificate and investment agreement
Participant at a government-approved accelerator or incubator Documents that
  • show that your company is a participant, and
  • Explain the relation between your business and the work you are doing as a participant in the incubator or accelerator program

For an extensive business record and an excellent entrepreneurial track record:

Claim

Proof

Founder of a tech company that was later sold
  • Documents that show you as the company’s key-decision maker
  • company’s profile and acquisition papers
Raised significant amount of funds for a past or recent venture from angel investors or VCs Documents must
  • State that you were the venture’s key-decision maker,
  • Give extensive details of the venture, and
  • Include shareholder certificate or similar document to provide evidence of funding
Currently getting incubated or was incubated by an internationally-acclaimed accelerator or incubator Documents that serve as proof of you being a part of the program
Business contacts and industry networks that can be leveraged for the proposed business Documents that state
  • Your network’s strength, e.g., contact details with testimonials or letters of intent
  • Network’s estimated monetary value and also explain how the value was computed
  • How a network can contribute to the growth and expansion of your business, e.g., the network is an investor or a customer
Received awards or recognitions Documents that
  • Demonstrate your promising track record and achievements, e.g., media publications, certificates, CV, and testimonials
  • Convey how your track record or achievements will help your business grow

For Investor

For an investor who is going to invest a significant amount in a local company, you must provide:

  • Documents pertaining to current investments
  • Information about the sectors you are interested in
  • A pipeline of Singapore companies that you are considering for investment
  • Documents that show your engagement level with these companies, e.g., signed letter-of-intent, investment agreement

You must also meet the following criteria:

Claim

Proof

Investing and driving highly-scalable businesses’ growth Documents that state:
  • Investment track record, e.g., shareholder certificate and investment agreement
  • Nurturing ability to nurture the companies you have invested in
Minimum of eight years of experience working as a senior management professional or at an executive position in a large corporation Documents that demonstrate:
  • Required expertise, e.g., CV, testimonials
  • Companies’ profiles you had worked with
  • Your contribution to the companies

As an Innovator

As an innovator, the following documents are necessary:

Claim

Proof

Holds IP IP registration documents with an acclaimed IP Institution
Research collaboration with a Singapore IHL Documents that:
  • Gives an overview of research collaboration and state its relevancy to the proposed business
  • Contact details of the concerned person from the research institution with whom you are collaborating with
Extraordinary achievements in key areas of expertise Documents that:
  • Serve as proof of your expertise, e.g., testimonials, certificates, articles
  • Demonstrate your ability to contribute to the growth and expansion of your proposed business

EntrePass Application Procedure

A candidate must complete several steps for a successful EntrePass application. The candidate must file one’s EntrePass application with supporting documents to the MOM at any SingPost branch via over-the-counter submission. MOM has also enabled online submission lately.

If you are not available, you can authorize a person to file the EntrePass application on your behalf.

The application takes about eight weeks to process.

Application submission

For online submission, the candidate must download the EntrePass application form from the MOM website.

After downloading the form, the candidate must follow these steps:

  • Print and sign the form
  • Pay S$105 as an application fee for each application. There are two payment methods:

    PayNow

    You need a working internet banking account with Singapore bank

    Telegraphic Transfer

    You must pay in Singapore Dollars and inform your bank that you will bear all the bank charges levied by your bank and MOM’s bank for the transfer

    The payment done with Telegraphic Transfer may take about one month to process in some instances. The application does not proceed further until the MOM receives the payment.

  • Use SingPass to submit your online application that must include an application form duly signed and completed. You must also include your banking page’s screenshot that confirms the payment transfer along with other supporting documents.

The EntrePass application is assessed by both MOM and Enterprise Singapore. You can check your application’s status here online.

After the application’s approval, you will receive an IPA (in-principle approval) via email. Once the IPA is issued, you have six months to get the pass issued by visiting Singapore.


Complete EntrePass Guide - Pass issued

Getting the pass issued

You must request the pass using your SingPass. You can also get an employment agent or a company representative to do it on your behalf.

The pass can be issued in two different ways:

  • Over the counter
  • Using EP online

Complete EntrePass Guide - Over counter

Over the Counter

This is your option if you do not have a SingPass for using EP online. The following steps must be taken:

  • An appointment must be made at the EPSC (Employment Pass Service Centre) to get your pass issued
  • Bring the required documents for the appointment
  • Pay S$225 for each pass
  • You may also require to pay S$30 for each Multiple Journey Visa

Using EP online

Complete EntrePass Guide - Ep online

Follow the below steps:

  • Log in to the MOM’s online portal EP Online to submit the pass request and relevant documents
  • Pay a fee of S$225 for each pass using either GIRO or eNETS
  • Print the notification letter once the request is approved

Characteristics of the notification letter:

  • Lets you visit Singapore while you wait for the pass card
  • Mentions in case you need to register for getting your photo and fingerprints
  • One month validity from the date of issue

Complete EntrePass Guide - Required information

Required information for issuing the pass

The following information is required for issuing the pass:

  • Particulars of your passport
  • Your current immigration pass or Short Term Visit Pass details
  • Your residential address in Singapore (address must meet the housing requirements)
  • A local address to deliver the pass card
  • An authorized recipient’s contact to receive the delivery details via an SMS or an email

PDF copies of the following documents may also be needed in some instances:

  • Health declaration or completed medical examination form
  • Immigration white card (embarkation/disembarkation card)
  • IPA letter with a declaration form

Registering fingerprints and photo

Complete EntrePass Guide - Registering

Your notification letter states whether you should register your fingerprints and photo or not. If required, you must register within two weeks from the pass issue date.

To register, you must make an appointment with the Employment Pass Service Centre to visit there.

You must also bring the following documents for the appointment:

  • Passport (original)
  • Notification letter
  • Appointment letter
  • Documents listed in your notification letter and in-principle approval letter

Complete EntrePass Guide - Receiving card

Receiving the EntrePass card

The pass is delivered to the given local address within four working days after the registration and document verification at the Employment Pass Service Centre.

In case the fingerprint registration and photo are not required, the pass-card is delivered within four working days after verifying the documents.

MOM notifies the authorized recipient via an SMS one day before the card delivery.

In case the card delivery fails, the candidate or an authorized person can collect the card at EPSC after three working days from the second delivery attempt. There is no need for an appointment.

EntrePass Renewal

Once approved, an EntrePass is valid for a year. You can renew it if you meet the MOM’s renewal criteria related to the total business spending and the total number of local employees your company has employed. The candidate can start to apply for renewal three months before the card’s expiration date.

Do note that the first renewal is valid for one year. Afterward, all subsequent renewals have two years of validity.

Renewal Criteria

EntrePass renewal is based on criteria, such as:

  • Company’s registration with ACRA as an LLC
  • Holding at least 30% shares in the company

In addition to the above-mentioned criteria, the candidate must also fulfill the following requirements:

Total years of holding EntrePass

Minimum total annual spending

Minimum number of employees

1 NIL NIL
2 S$100,000 3 LQS* or 1 PME**
4 S$200,000 6 LQS or 2 PMEs
6 S$300,000 9 LQS or 3 PMEs
8 (or more) S$400,000 12 LQS or 4 PMEs

* LQS (formerly known as FTE or full-time employees) stands for Local Qualifying Salary. It refers to the Singapore citizens and PRs that receive a minimum of S$1400 as monthly remuneration with CPF contributions for three months at least.

**PME stands for professionals, managers, and executives. It refers to the Singapore citizens and PRs that receive a minimum of S$3900 as monthly remuneration with CPF contributions for three months at least.

It must be noted that one PME is equivalent to three LQS. For instance, to fulfill the criteria of 9 LQS, you can hire 2 PMEs and 3 LQS or 1 PME and 6 LQS.

You must also note that the total annual business spending excludes the following expenditures that you incur:

  • Company’s EntrePass holders’ total remuneration
  • Expenses incurred as a result of outsourcing the work overseas
  • Expenses incurred while purchasing franchises, royalties, and technical know-how fees from foreign companies

You must also provide proof of ongoing business activities, as outlined in the business plan. In case you deviate from the proposed business plan, you must immediately inform the MOM.


Complete EntrePass Guide - Renewal

Renewal Process

The EntrePass holder must fill the renewal form sent by the MOM. The form and the other required documents must be mailed to the following address:

Ministry of Manpower

18 Havelock Road

Singapore 059764


Documents required for renewal

For the first renewal, you must submit the latest company registration information from ACRA. However, for subsequent renewals, these documents are also mandatory along with the company’s updated registration information:

Complete EntrePass Guide - Required renewal
  • Company’s most recent audited accounts
  • Employees’ Central Provident Fund statements

You can also submit the following documents with MOM to support your application:

  • Past three months’ corporate bank statements
  • Invoices issued recently
  • Referral letters (from customers)
  • Contracts awarded

Complete EntrePass Guide - After Renewal

After Renewal

In case of a successful renewal

  • You will receive an IPA letter with three months validity

The IPA states that if you can continue to use your old pass or get a new one.

EntrePass Cancellation

After closing your business in Singapore, you have to cancel your EntrePass within one week. You must discard your pass card after cutting it in half to prevent any misuse.

EntrePass holder, an authorized employment agent, or a company representative can apply for pass cancellation. The pass gets canceled immediately.

Complete EntrePass Guide - Imporatant pointer

Important Pointers

  • You must obtain tax clearance from the IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) by paying any outstanding tax amount. You have to get the tax clearance at least a month before quitting your job.
  • In case you have left Singapore permanently, the pass must be canceled within one week from the date of the departure.
  • All other connected passes like Dependant Passes and LTVPs will also get canceled along with their respective LOCs and Work Permits.

Complete EntrePass Guide - Canceling card

Canceling the card

To cancel your EntrePass, you must log in to EP Online and proceed to cancel.

If you are still in Singapore, a Short Term Visit Pass with 30-day validity will be provided to you.

EntrePass Replacement

You must apply for a replacement within one week after your EntrePass gets stolen, damaged, or lost.

Complete EntrePass Guide - Stolen card

Important Pointers

  • You must file a police report for the stolen card
  • If the card is lost overseas, you must promptly notify the MOM. They will issue a letter so you can enter Singapore.
  • The pass holder, an authorized employment agent, or a company representative can apply for the replacement.

Complete EntrePass Guide - Replacement

Replacement Procedure

In most cases, a replacement is issued immediately. Follow these steps to apply for a replacement pass card:

  • Apply via EP Online.
  • Pay the non-refundable replacement fee
  • As soon as the request gets approved, you will get a card replacement letter with instructions regarding the replacement card collection.
  • If you keep losing your card repeatedly, MOM may call you for an interview before issuing a replacement.
  • In case the lost card is found, you must return it to MOM by post.

The card fee for a damaged card is S$60. However, for a lost or stolen card, the first time fee is S$100. If you lose it again, the cost will be S$300 for all the subsequent losses.


Replacement Card Collection

Complete EntrePass Guide - Card collection

Even though the request gets approved immediately, you can only collect the card after four working days at the EPSC. You or any person authorized by you can collect the card.

The following documents are required for card collection:

  • Passport (Original).
  • Damaged card (if the card is damaged)
  • Declaration form (if the card is stolen or lost)
  • Police report (if the card is stolen)
  • Card replacement letter

It is crucial to note that overseas police reports must be translated into English. You must collect the card yourself in the case of stolen or lost cards.

If you authorize someone to replace your card on your behalf, make sure they bring:

  • Authorization letter
  • Damaged card
  • Passport, NRIC, or pass card for verification

Notifying MOM

Complete EntrePass Guide - Notifying mom

You are required to notify MOM under the following circumstances.

  • Updating your EntrePass details after registering your company with ACRA
  • Seek MOM’s approval if you wish to get engaged in business activities other than the one mentioned in your original EntrePass application
  • Notify MOM about the change in your company’s name, paid-up capital, or turnover
  • Change in company’s registered local address
  • Change in salary

You must also notify MOM if you:

  • Change occupation
  • Change residential address
  • Change your particulars

DP or LTVP for family members

Complete EntrePass Guide - DP or LTVP

EntrePass holders can bring their family members to Singapore under Dependant Passes or Long Term Visit Passes.

Under a Dependant Pass, you can bring:

  • Spouse (legally married)
  • Children (including legally adopted ones) that are unmarried and are under 21 years of age

Dependant Pass holders are allowed to work in Singapore, given they secure a Letter of Consent from an employer.

Under an LTVP, you can bring:

  • Spouse (common-law)
  • Parents
  • Unmarried step-children (under 21 years old)
  • Unmarried disabled children (above 21 years old)

LTVP holders can also find work under a work permit in Singapore.

You must meet the following criteria to secure passes for your family members:

  • An EntrePass holder can only apply for a Dependant Pass or an LTVP pass after the first successful renewal (after one year of holding the pass).
  • Also, the EntrePass holder must meet the following criteria of local employment and annual business spending.

    Family members, you want to bring

    Required total annual spending

    Required number of employees

    Spouse or children S$100,000 3 LQS or 1 PME (local)
    Parents S$200,000 6 LQS or 2 PMEs

Eligibility to become a Singapore PR

Complete EntrePass Guide - Singapore PR

EntrePass holders are eligible for Singapore permanent resident status through the PTS scheme, short for Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker scheme.

You must apply with the ICA (Immigration and Checkpoint Authority) to obtain permanent residency in Singapore.

Several factors affect your PR application, including:

  • Your age
  • Academic qualification
  • Singapore stay duration
  • Salary

You must also prove that you are operating a healthy business that adds value to Singapore’s economy and society.

Conclusion

Obtaining an EntrePass is a lengthy procedure with many complexities and a ton of documentation. Some of the processes are a little too complicated for foreigners. For instance, your proposed business plan and application must be in line with the Ministry’s requirements.

Therefore, it is best to engage the services of a corporate service provider like Epica. We will not only help you with your EntrePass application but will also help you with drafting a business plan and take care of the pass renewal.
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