If you have a business plan worth considering and are looking for an operating environment to launch it, consider Singapore. In 2003, the Government of Singapore introduced the Entrepass visa type. Its target was foreign entrepreneurs who would operate businesses that received financial backing or could come up with new inventions. But more importantly, it enhanced the country’s economy by attracting the right entrepreneurs to improve local talent and complement the local entrepreneurs.
You can apply for a Singapore Entrepass through three pathways – as an entrepreneur, innovator, or investor. Either way, you do not need a local director or nominee to start a business in the country.
Singapore ranks number one on the world index of ease of doing business. Little wonder that the Singapore Entrepass is much coveted by entrepreneurs who want to cash in on the Singapore business scene. You will learn more about the Singapore Entrepass – Application, Requirements, and Documentation as you read.
About the Singapore Entrepass Visa
The Singapore Entrepass is a work visa granted to foreign nationals who want to set up their businesses in Singapore. However, not all foreign entrepreneurs can get an Entrepass Visa. There are specific types of foreign entrepreneurs that Singapore targets.
Who is eligible for a Singapore Entrepass Visa?
The Singapore Entrepass Visa targets the following types of foreign nationals:
1. Foreign nationals whose companies are registered with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore
2. Foreign nationals who will register their companies after receiving the Entrepass
3. Entrepreneurs, innovators, or investors who want to set up businesses in Singapore
4. Foreign nationals who have already registered their companies before applying and whose registration is not older than six months
5. Foreign nationals whose businesses are innovative and will employ local skills
Entrepass Eligibility for Entrepreneurs
If you want to obtain an Entrepass as an investor, you must meet the following criteria:
1. You must have a business angel recognized by Singapore who would fund your business with at least S$100,000. A business angel is an individual or organization that can act as a donor and invest in a newly developing business.
2. Your business must be a startup (incubatee) with a mentor recognized by Singapore. The mentor organization is known as an incubator or business accelerator because its job is to train your business to grow and become profitable.
3. You must show that you have established thriving companies in the past and have remarkable business experience. Your experience can be in
- Funding and selling a technological company
- Raising funds for a business venture
- Having adequate business networks and contacts that can help your business
- Recognized for your achievements by a well-known media publication or national body.
Entrepass Eligibility for Innovators
As an innovator, you must fulfill any of the following requirements
1. You or your company must hold Intellectual Property. An Intellectual Property can be a patent, trademark, or copyright. This IP must have the following features
- Be registered with a recognized national IP organization
- The IP must be difficult to copy and must make the company better than its rivals
- The owner of the Intellectual Property must own shares in the company
2. Your company must currently work with an institution recognized by Singapore Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR). The relationship must have the following features:
- Be related to your business
- You must be involved in the working relationship
- There must be a representative of the institution who can give details of the collaboration
3. You must have gained recognition for your competence or expertise in the business you want to do.
Entrepass Eligibility for Investors
If you want to invest in a new business in Singapore, you must fulfill the following requirements
1. You must be a regular investor
2. You must be ready to invest a substantial amount in a Singapore business
Given the above, you must either
- Have at least eight years of experience as a top management professional in a large organization
- Or have invested in the growth of very successful companies.
General Requirements for a Singapore Entrepass
You must gather the following documents for your application:
1. Your passport information page
2. Your employment history
3. If your company is registered with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), you must have a business profile with BizFile – ACRA’s online platform where all businesses registered in Singapore submit their information.
4. You must have a business plan with the following specifications:
4i. It must be a maximum of 10 pages
4ii. Must outline the products and services offered
4iii. Summarize the market analysis
4iv. Contain an operational plan
4v. It must give a profile of the management team
4vi. It must list supporting documents like licensing, product certificates and agreements, and endorsement rights.
Specific Requirements for Entrepreneurs
If you choose to apply for a Singapore Entrepass as an entrepreneur, choose any of the following requirements according to your eligibility:
1. If you have received funding from a business angel or a venture capitalist that Singapore recognizes, you must submit documents showing you have at least $100k.
2. If you are collaborating with a mentor company in an incubatee/incubator relationship recognized by Singapore, you must
2a. Show that your company is recognized as an incubatee by an incubator or is part of the Accreditation@SGD program that helps Singapore companies to become significant and get contracts from the Government
2b. Show the relevance of your relationship with your incubator to your business.
3. If you founded or sold a tech company before, you must
3a. Proove that you held a top management position in the company
3b. Provide the company profile and documents that were used to acquire it
4. If you have raised funding from investors for a venture, whether current or past, you must
4a. Give details of the venture
4b. Explain your position as a decision maker in the venture
4c. Provide evidence of funding from third-party investors like a business angel or a venture capitalist
5. If you have strong networks and business contacts that will benefit your business, you must submit
5a. Proof of these contacts and how useful they can be to you
5b. An estimate of how much you can get from them
6. If you have been recognized for your achievements by a known media or organization, you must
6a. Show certificates, media publications, or awards received for such achievements
6b. Explain how these achievements can help your business grow.
Specific Requirements for Innovators
If you choose to apply for a Singapore Entrepass as an innovator, here’s what you need, depending on your eligibility:
1. If you hold intellectual property, you must
1a. Provide an IP with an approved National IP Institution
2. If you are working with a research institute in Singapore, you must
2a. Show how the collaboration is related to the business you want to do
2b. Submit the details of the person you are collaborating with
3. If you have significant achievements in a field that relates to your proposed business, you must
3a. Show proof of the achievements, e.g., certificates or testimonials
3b. Prove that you can contribute to the growth of the business
Specific Requirements for Investors
If you choose to invest a substantial amount in a local business, here’s what you need
1. Documents showing your current investments
2. Documents showing the companies you are interested in and what they specialize in
3. Proof of your correspondence with this company
4. Documents showing that you have at least eight years of experience as a top management professional in a large company
5. Documents showing that you have previously invested and aided the growth of other companies
How to Apply for a Singapore Entrepass
The Singapore Ministry of Manpower is responsible for processing your application for an Entrepass. Here’s how to apply:
Step #1. Apply for a Singapore Entrepass
You can obtain the Application Form for the Entrepass Visa from the official website of the Ministry of Manpower. Then, fill out the application, submit the required documents, and pay a processing fee of S$105.
If your application is approved, you will receive an IPA – In-Principle Approval – enabling you to enter Singapore and indicating whether you need a medical checkup when you enter the country.
If your EntrePass application is approved, you will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter allowing you to enter Singapore. It also informs you if you need a medical checkup after entering Singapore. With the IPA, you can enter Singapore and request your Entrepass.
Step #2. Request for your Singapore Entrepass
As soon as you enter Singapore with your IPA, you can request your Entrepass either online or manually.
For online requests, you must use MOM’s application tool – EP Online
- You need a SingPass account. If you do not have one, you can get a representative to apply on your behalf
- Pay the Entrepass fee of S$225
- Print the notification letter upon approval of your request. This letter will allow you to exit and enter Singapore until your Entrepass Card is ready. You will be notified if you need your biometrics taken.
For manual request
- Book an appointment with the Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC)
- Submit your documents (Passport details, immigration pass, address in Singapore, the contact information of your authorized representative, etc.)
- Pay the visa fee of S$225
Step #3. Submit your biometrics
You must register your fingerprints and photo if this is your first application for a Singapore work pass or if you have not registered for a work pass within the past five years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the processing time for an Entrepass application?
It takes about eight weeks to process the first stage of your Singapore Entrepass. At the end of this period, you will get an IPA which enables you to enter Singapore and complete your application.
What is the validity period of the IPA?
The IPA letter is valid for six months. During this time, you have to travel to Singapore and request to get your EntrePass issued.
How long can I use the Notification Letter if my Entrepass Card is not ready?
The Notification Letter is valid for one month but can be extended if you need more time to complete the registration procedure for your Entrepass Card.
Do all businesses qualify for the Singapore Entrepass?
Not all businesses qualify for the Entrepass. Businesses that do not qualify include:
- A nightclub or bar
- An employment agency
- A coffee shop or food center
When will I receive my Entrepass Card after applying?
You will receive your ENtrepass Card about four business days after registering and submitting your documents at Employment Pass Services Centre.
Singapore may seem an expensive location to start a new business. Still, when you consider that doing business in Singapore would give you access to other ASEAN countries, you will find that it is in your best interest to operate there. And if you plan to bring your family over, you should consider applying for a Singapore Dependents Pass. Everything you need is in Singapore, “where passion is possible.”