Singapore generally allows foreigners to start businesses in Singapore. However, foreigners on certain passes may be restricted from starting or managing their business based on restrictions placed on that pass.

Most pass holders are not allowed to manage their businesses in Singapore. This means that they are not allowed to register sole proprietorships or partnerships. As for companies, they are not allowed to be directors of the company but they can be shareholders.


For Employment Pass, S Pass and Work Permit

Employment Pass, S Pass and Work Permit holders are not allowed to work in companies other than the one that is listed on their pass (i.e. the company which their pass is applied under). Being a director of a company is considered work or managing the company. However, a shareholder does not work or manage a company.

Therefore, Employment Pass, S Pass and Work Permit holders can set up a company and own shares in their own company. However, they are not allowed to be registered as a director of that company.


For Dependant Pass Holders

First, they may register a sole proprietorship, partnership or company. For a company, the Dependant Pass holder must own at least 30% of the shares in the company.

Next, they need to apply to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to run their business or company.


For Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) Holders

LTVP holders are not allowed to register a sole proprietorship or partnership.

As for companies, the pass holder cannot be listed as a director or shareholder of a company. If a LTVP holder wants to start a company, he or she can register a company with someone who is ordinarily resident in Singapore as the company’s director.

Once the company is registered, the company can apply on the LTVP holder’s behalf for a Letter of Consent from MOM to allow them to work in that company.


If you are a foreigner and need assistance to start a business in Singapore, you can contact the Raffles Corporate Services team at [email protected].


Yours sincerely,

The editorial team at Raffles Corporate Services