Foreign companies can register three types of structures in Singapore:
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.
Our Singapore company formation agents can offer information about the differences between these three types of business forms.
The video below shows how to set up a liaison office in Singapore:
Foreign companies wanting to establish representative offices in Singapore are also subject to certain conditions. Among these:
The liaison office must also have a registered address in Singapore. 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. Our company formation agents in Singapore can assist with the registration of a representative office. We can also help if you want to open a company in Singapore.
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.
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.
As seen above, a Singapore representative office is not allowed to engage in any commercial activity. However, it is allowed to carry out some specific tasks, among which are:
It should be noted that the parent company must appoint a representative for the Singapore liaison office. The representative must relocate to Singapore. Also, the liaison office must renew its application on a yearly basis.
After the three-year period in which the representative office is allowed to function, the parent company can re-register it as a subsidiary or branch office. In this case, it will be required to register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and with the tax authorities in the country.
You can contact our company registration agents in Singapore for details about the advantages of representative offices and about the procedure of switching to a branch or subsidiary.