Company Registration

ACRA Requirements for Successful Business Registration in Singapore

02 November 2023
Grof Writer
8 Minutes Read
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As Asia’s leading financial business hub, Singapore has implemented an extensive amount of measures to facilitate and accelerate its business registration process. Statutory boards like Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) have developed a robust and comprehensive business climate to set up businesses. In addition, with features like low taxation rates, it is not a surprise that Singapore is considered one of the top destinations globally for setting up businesses.  

Establishing a business can be a relatively smooth process if all the requirements set by ACRA are met. However, the failure to meet these requirements can significantly impede your business set-up process and potentially result in an unsuccessful outcome. 


In this article, we will provide an overview of the relevant requirements to fulfil in order to prevent delays in your business set-up. 


What Is ACRA? 

Before delving into the details of setting up a business, let's understand what ACRA is.  

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is a statutory board in Singapore and is a regulator for companies and public accountants nationwide.  

ACRA is responsible for the registration of new businesses. Whether your business is allowed to be set up in Singapore is dependent on ACRA. After incorporation, it monitors this ongoing business and ensures proper business closure when it ceases to exist. 


What are ACRA Requirements for Business Registration in Singapore? 

1. Unique Company Name 

When registering a business in Singapore, choose a company name that is not identical and unused. What this means is that no business or company should have a similar or identical name to your business. To check for company names, you can use this. 

Besides having existing business names, here are other reasons why your company name is rejected:  

  • Having the same name as another business 
  • Someone else has already reserved it 
  • Usage of prohibited words due to it being obscene, religious, or not indicative of what your company is or does 
  • The Minister of Finance orders the Registrar to not approve it 

→ Use our free tool to select your unique company name

Ensuring the viability and acceptability of your proposed business name is crucial. To secure your desired name, you will need to undergo the process of reserving your name and obtaining approval. It is also important to note that once your business name is approved, you must proceed with the incorporation and registration of your business within 120 days (about 4 months) from the date of approval.   

To start registering a company in Singapore, the first time is to submit your desired company name through BizFile+ online filing system, after paying S$15 fee for name application. 

In the event your company name closely resembles an existing company in the same industry, there is a possibility the original company can file a complaint towards you, despite having your application approved by ACRA.  

While you may request an appeal, you may be required to change your company name, or it potentially leads to legal consequences. That being said, it is important to carefully select a suitable name for your company to avoid such stumbling blocks.  


2. Singapore Registered Address 

Based on the Singapore Companies Act, companies are obliged to have a designated office registered with the company. Without doing so, the company will not be able to successfully incorporate.


Below are other requirements that need to be met for a registered office address:  

  • It must be a physical address in Singapore 
  • It cannot be a PO Box 
  • All communications and notices should be addressed to this location. 
  • It must also be open and accessible to the public for more than 3 business hours each business day 

If you are residing in Singapore, it is possible to utilise your home address as your registered office address. However, your home address will be displayed in public records.  

3. Required Number of Shareholders 

For Private Limited Companies in Singapore, you need a minimum of 1 shareholder and a maximum of 50.   


These shareholders can be either individual, corporation, local or foreign. In addition, shares can be 100% held by a foreign individual or by a corporate entity. Shareholders can either be individuals or corporations, local or foreign.  

For exempt Private Limited Companies in Singapore, you need a minimum of 1 shareholder, and have a maximum of 20 only. Only individuals, local or foreign, are allowed to be shareholders and shares are not allowed to be held by any companies.  

Hence, depending on the different companies you are registering with ACRA, do take note and familiarise yourselves with the various relevant rules to prevent any impediment.  


4. Local Director 

While shareholders can be foreign individuals or entities, a company registered in Singapore must have a minimum of one local director. A director is someone who manages the affairs of the company.  

The director can be either a Singapore Citizen or a Permanent Resident. For Employment Pass or EntrePass holders, they may be appointed after the company’s incorporation. Besides Singapore citizenship status, there are other requirements that should be met before selecting a director. You will also need to appoint a company secretary within 6 months of incorporation, who must be residing in Singapore.   


5. Business License 

All business owners are required to submit a minimum of one SSIC code when they are incorporating a company to pass the name reservation phase of the application process. This unique code reflects the company’s business type executed in Singapore. Such options include retail and travel.  


These codes are not set in stone and can be changed any time after incorporation. 


It is crucial that you possess all the necessary licenses and permits required for your business operation. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences, including rejection of the application by ACRA, as well as potential fines and enforcement proceedings brought by ACRA against you and/or your company. 

Reach Out to Grof! 

Over the years, we have successfully helped numerous business owner like yourself establish their companies in Singapore. As a local registered filing agent, we possess in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of the Singapore corporate system. 

With our extensive experience in company incorporation and compliance requirements, we are well-equipped to help you reduce your workload and facilitate a smooth company registration process.


Contact us today to finally live up to your dreams without the hassle!

Your Ultimate Singapore Incorporation Checklist
Explore crucial dos and don'ts, along with essential tips for a successful company registration when establishing your foothold in Singapore!
Your Ultimate Singapore Incorporation Checklist
Explore crucial dos and don'ts, along with essential tips for a successful company registration when establishing your foothold in Singapore!
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