Yes, a foreigner can start a company in Singapore. There are no restrictions on foreign shareholding or directorship of a Singapore company. A Singapore company can have 100 per cent foreign shareholding and 100 per cent foreign directors. You will, however, have to have one local resident director. That local resident director can be a Singaporean, Singapore Permanent Resident or a foreigner who is residing in Singapore. Even if a Singaporean is not residing in Singapore, he cannot be the local resident director. A foreigner can be the local resident director if he or she applies for an Employment Pass or an EntrePass.
For cases whereby a foreigner would like to set up a Singapore company but do not have a local resident director, he or she can appoint a nominee director. The nominee director will sit on the board of the company as the local resident director. This nominee will not have executive powers and there will be a nominee director agreement to clearly document this limited role and indemnify the nominee director from the activities of the company.
The structure would look like this:
Foreigner owns 100 per cent of the shares of the Singapore Company
Foreigner is also a director of the company
Nominee Director is also a director of the company
The foreigner may want to apply to the Ministry of Manpower for an Employment Pass or an Entrepreneur Pass to work in Singapore. For more about Employment and Entrepreneur Passes, you can visit our previous article:
If you are a foreigner and would like to incorporate a Singapore company, you can email us at [email protected] or WhatsApp us at +6582222886. We have assisted many overseas clients to set up their Singapore companies in an affordable and efficient manner. We can also advise on your work pass application and guide you with these matters.
When in doubt, seek legal advice or consult an experienced ACRA Filing Agent.
The editorial team at Singapore Secretary Services
For more useful articles and videos, visit the Singapore Secretary Services resource page.