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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.
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).
Three different government bodies review the EntrePass application in Singapore.
An entrepreneur must fulfill the following basic requirements to apply for a Singapore EntrePass:
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:
The applicant’s profile must state the following information about an applicant:
The business idea must demonstrate the following critical data:
An implementation plan must include the following key elements:
You must also meet the minimum eligibility criteria as an entrepreneur, investor, or innovator.
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
Is an incubator at any of the government-recognized accelerator or incubator
Some of the examples of such incubators and accelerators include:
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:
The candidate demonstrates a promising track record of business investments and also wishes to invest and scale fresh or existing Singapore businesses.
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:
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:
You must meet the following criteria:
Exceptional skills and achievements
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.
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:
The candidate must submit these documents for the EntrePass application:
If you are submitting your application as an entrepreneur, investor, or an innovator, you must submit additional documents that support your claim.
|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|
For an extensive business record and an excellent entrepreneurial track record:
|Founder of a tech company that was later sold|
|Raised significant amount of funds for a past or recent venture from angel investors or VCs||Documents must|
|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|
|Received awards or recognitions||Documents that|
For an investor who is going to invest a significant amount in a local company, you must provide:
You must also meet the following criteria:
|Investing and driving highly-scalable businesses’ growth||Documents that state:|
|Minimum of eight years of experience working as a senior management professional or at an executive position in a large corporation||Documents that demonstrate:|
As an Innovator
As an innovator, the following documents are necessary:
|Holds IP||IP registration documents with an acclaimed IP Institution|
|Research collaboration with a Singapore IHL||Documents that:|
|Extraordinary achievements in key areas of expertise||Documents that:|
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.
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:
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.
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:
This is your option if you do not have a SingPass for using EP online. The following steps must be taken:
Follow the below steps:
Characteristics of the notification letter:
The following information is required for issuing the pass:
PDF copies of the following documents may also be needed in some instances:
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:
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.
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.
EntrePass renewal is based on criteria, such as:
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
|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:
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.
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
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:
You can also submit the following documents with MOM to support your application:
In case of a successful renewal
The IPA states that if you can continue to use your old pass or get a new one.
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.
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.
You must apply for a replacement within one week after your EntrePass gets stolen, damaged, or lost.
In most cases, a replacement is issued immediately. Follow these steps to apply for a replacement pass card:
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.
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:
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:
You are required to notify MOM under the following circumstances.
You must also notify MOM if you:
Under an LTVP, you can bring:
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:
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:
You must also prove that you are operating a healthy business that adds value to Singapore’s economy and society.