Singapore Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass)
This article provides an overview of the requirements and procedures for obtaining an Entrepreneur Pass in Singapore.

EntrePass is designed for foreign entrepreneurs and investors who desire to start innovative companies that add to Singapore’s economy. The visa is focused on the innovative nature of the new company and is not granted to entrepreneurs who wish to start a company in an old established industry. This article provides detailed information on the EntrePass that includes:

Key facts about EntrePass

  • Candidates must meet at least 1 of 7 qualifying criteria.
  • A new EntrePass is initially issued for 1 year. The EntrePass can be renewed after 1 year. The first renewal is valid for 1 year and thereafter all renewals are valid for 2 years.
  • Eligible EntrePass holders can bring certain family members into Singapore on a Dependant Pass or Long Term Visit Pass.
  • EntrePass holders can apply for permanent residency in Singapore in due course.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for EntrePass, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • The candidate must have already registered or intend to register a private limited company in Singapore. If already registered, the company can be no more than 6 months old.
  • The candidate must relocate to Singapore to run the new company.
  • The company must be innovative and must have the ability to create local employment in Singapore.

Furthermore, the candidate must meet one of any of the following minimum eligibility criteria as an Innovator, Entrepreneur or Investor:

Innovator

  • The company must hold intellectual property that cannot be easily replicated.
  • The company must have a research collaboration with a Singapore university or a research institution under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
  • The company must show outstanding achievements and exceptional expertise in its industry.

Entrepreneur

  • The company must have raised at least S$100,000 from a Singapore government accredited VC or business angel.
  • The company must be a participant at a government supported incubator.
  • The candidate must have an exceptional business network and a successful track record of starting highly-scalable businesses.

Investor

The candidate must have a successful track record of investing in businesses.

Businesses that are not eligible for EntrePass

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the following businesses do not qualify for EntrePass:

  • Coffee shops, hawker centres, food courts
  • Bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges
  • Foot reflexology, massage parlours
  • Acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal dispensing businesses
  • Employment agencies
  • Geomancy businesses i.e. business that offer mystical evaluations of land, buildings, offices and homes.

Application procedure

To apply for an EntrePass, a candidate must complete the following steps:

1. Submit an application: The applicant must submit the EntrePass application form along with all supporting documents to the Ministry of Manpower. A candidate must submit his or her application over the counter at a SingPost branch and pay the S$70 application fee. The supporting documents consist of:

  • A copy of the personal particulars page of the candidate’s passport.
  • Past employment testimonials in English.
  • A business plan in English that is no longer than 10 pages.

2. Receive an in-principle approval letter (IPA): Applicants, will receive the IPA through EP Online. Once the IPA has been received, the candidate has 6 months to enter Singapore and request the issuance of the EntrePass.

3. If necessary, register the company with ACRA: Once the IPA has been received, the candidate must register his or her company within 30 days. After the company has been registered with ACRA, the EntrePass holder must declare his or her EntrePass details using this form.

4. Issue the EntrePass: The candidate must be in Singapore to request the issuance of EntrePass. To issue the pass, the candidate, a company representative or an employment agent must submit the following through EP Online:

  • The candidate’s passport details
  • The details of the candidate’s current Short Term Visit Pass or immigration pass.
  • The candidate’s residential address in Singapore
  • The local address where the EntrePass card can be delivered
  • Contact details of at least one authorised recipient who can receive an SMS or email alert with delivery details
  • Payment of S$150

Certain cases may also require the following additional documents:

  • A Disembarkation/Embarkation card (immigration white card)
  • A completed medical examination form or health declaration form
  • A completed declaration form attached along with the candidate’s in-principle approval letter.

Once the documents are submitted the EntrePass will be issued immediately.

5. Once the EntrePass is issued, the candidate will receive a notification letter: The notification letter is valid for 1 month and allows the candidate to travel in and out of Singapore. In addition, the notification letter will state if the candidate needs to have his or her fingerprints registered and photo taken.

6. Register fingerprints and get photo taken (if necessary): New candidates and candidates who last registered over 5 years ago must register their fingerprints and have their photo taken with 2 weeks of the EntrePass being issued. Candidates must make an appointment with the Employment Pass Services Centre. At the appointment, candidates must have the following documents ready:

  • Original passport
  • Appointment letter
  • Notification letter
  • Documents listed in the IPA letter and notification letter

7. Receive the EntrePass card: The candidate will receive the card within 4 working days.

Renewal

A new EntrePass is valid for 1 year. After that, it can be renewed. If the renewal is approved, the EntrePass will be extended for an additional year. Thereafter all subsequent renewals are valid for 2 years.

In order to renew, EntrePass holders are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Show documented proof of ongoing business activity as outlined in the original business plan.
  • Own 30% of the company’s shares
  • Meet the corresponding minimum annual business spending and local employee requirements:
Number of years holding an EntrePass Minimum annual business spending Number of local employees
1 0 0
2 S$100,000

3 local full-time employees

or

1 local professional, manager or executive

4 S$200,000

6 local full-time employees

or

2 local professionals, managers or executives

6 S$600,000

9 local full-time employees

or

3 local professionals, managers or executives

8 S$400,000

12 local full-time employees

or

4 local professionals, managers or executives

Minimum spending requirements exclude the following expenditures:

  • Expenses incurred to purchase royalties or franchises and technical know-how fees from overseas companies.
  • Expenses incurred to outsourcing work overseas.
  • Total payments to company’s EntrePass holder(s).

The Ministry of Manpower defines a full time employee as a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident who earns at least S$1,100 per month and receives CPF contributions for at least 3 months.

A local professional, manager or executive is defined as a Singapore citizen or permanent resident who earns at least S$3,600 a month and receives CPF contributions for at least 3 months.

Renewal procedure

MOM will send the EntrePass holder the renewal forms within 3 months before the pass expires. Along with completing the forms, the EntrePass holder must submit the following documents:

  • The most recent audited financial statements
  • All employees’ CPF statements (CPF stands for Central Provident Fund, which is Singapore’s compulsory retirement savings fund)
  • Office lease agreement
  • Latest company registration information from ACRA

The EntrePass holder can also submit the following optional documents to support the application:

  • Corporate bank statements for the past 3 months
  • Referral letters from customers
  • Recent invoices issued
  • Contracts awarded

The renewal forms and the supporting documents must be mailed to the following address at least 2 months before the EntrePass expires.

Work Pass Division, Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764

In most cases, MOM will process the renewal within 8 weeks.

Cancellation

If an EntrePass holder closes her business she must cancel her EntrePass. The EntrePass holder, a company representative or a registered employment agent can cancel the pass. All family passes associated with the EntrePass will also be canceled.

Once the EntrePass has been canceled, the EntrePass holder must pay any outstanding income taxes and must receive tax clearance from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

The EntrePass holder is also required to return his or her card to MOM within 1 week of cancellation.

Return card address:

Work Pass Division, Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764

Card replacement

If an EntrePass card is stolen, lost or damaged, the candidate must apply for a replacement card within 1 week. If the card was stolen, the application must include a police report that must be in English or translated into English.

Note, if the EntrePass holder is overseas, she should notify MOM immediately. Once notified, MOM will issue the EntrePass holder a letter that will allow her to enter Singapore.

Replacement card applications can be completed through EP Online. Once the request is submitted the applicant will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of:

  • S$60 for damaged cards
  • S$100 for the first lost card and S$300 for any lost cards thereafter

If approved, MOM will issue a card replacement letter that gives instructions to collect the new card.

The EntrePass holder then has 4 working days to collect his or her new card at the Employment Pass Services Centre. No appointment is necessary but the EntrePass holder must bring the following documents:

  • An original passport
  • The card replacement letter
  • The damaged card (if applicable)
  • The completed declaration form (for lost or stolen cards)
  • Police report (for stolen cards)

If the lost card is found, it must be returned to the following address:

Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764

Notifying changes with MOM

An EntrePass holder must notify MOM if any of the following changes occur:

  • A change in business activity
  • An update in the company name or financial information
  • A change in the company address
  • A change in salary
  • A change in occupation
  • A change in residential address
  • A change in personal particulars

Passes for family members

Family members can enter Singapore under a Dependent Pass or a Long Term Visit Pass. The following family members can enter with a dependent pass:

  • A legally married spouse
  • Unmarried children under 21, including those legally adopted

With a dependant pass, family members can work in Singapore as long as they receive a Letter of Consent.

The following family members are allowed to enter Singapore with a Long Term Visit Pass:

  • A Common-law spouse
  • Unmarried handicapped children above 21
  • Unmarried stepchildren under 21
    Parents

Long Term Visit Pass holders are allowed to work in Singapore as long as they receive a work permit.

To bring family members to Singapore, EntrePass holders must meet the following minimum business spending and local hiring requirements:

Family Member Minimum Business Spending Local Hiring Requirements

Common law or legally Married Spouse

Children

S$100,000

3 local full-time employees

or

1 local professional, manager or executive

Parents S$200,000

6 local full-time employees

or

2 local professional, manager or executive

As a reminder, the minimum spending requirements exclude the following expenditures:

  • Expenses due to purchase royalties or franchises and technical know-how fees from overseas companies.
  • Expenses due to outsourcing work overseas.
  • Total payments to the company’s EntrePass holder(s).

The Ministry of Manpower defines a full time employee as a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident who earns at least S$1,100 per month and receives CPF contributions for at least 3 months.

A local Professional, manager or executive is defined as a Singapore citizen or permanent resident who earns at least S$3,600 a month and receives CPF contributions for at least 3 months.

EntrePass to permanent resident

In due course, EntrePass holders are eligible for permanent residency through the Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker scheme. To obtain permanent residency, candidates must apply with the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA).

ICA evaluates each candidate by his or her age, educational background and length of stay in Singapore, among other criteria. Also, ICA will also take into consideration the financial well being of the candidate’s company.

When applying for permanent residency, EntrePass holders should show that they are running a healthy business that adds to Singapore’s society.

To meet the review requirements necessary to obtain permanent residency, it’s best to recruit the services of a corporate service provider that can provide expert guidance and will thoroughly prepare the permanent residency application.

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