Unlike the Singapore branch, the representative office is a liaison office with no legal status. A representative office is not allowed to engage in any commercial activity in Singapore. The only activities a representative office in Singapore may undertake are:
Foreign companies wanting to establish representative offices in Singapore are also subject to certain conditions. Among these:
The representative office must be temporary and must re-register as a Singapore subsidiary or branch office within three years if the foreign company wants to continue its operation in the city.
In order to register a representative office the following documents must be submitted with the Companies Registrar in Singapore:
Once approved, the authorities will release a Letter of Approval for the registration of the representative office in Singapore. The registration has one year validity and can be renewed.
Usually, foreign companies will appeal to the services of company formation experts in Singapore in order to conduct both the registration procedure and all other requirements after. After the registration, the representative office will be allowed to open a bank account with a Singapore bank. If the representative office will also employ Singapore citizens or bring any staff member from the parent company, employment visas will be required for the foreign employees.
You can contact our company incorporation agents in Singapore for details about the advantages of representative offices and about the procedure of switching to a branch or subsidiary.