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Singapore Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) Scheme

Singapore’s Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) is  a type of visa that allows eligible applicants to operate a business in the city-state. It’s designed to attract talented foreign entrepreneurs to Singapore, which is unsurprising given the city state’s status as a global economic and financial hub. 

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If entrepreneurship is your cup of tea, why not consider the Singaporean market and apply for an EntrePass? After all, this dynamic city-state has plenty of opportunities for both investment and growth. It’s no wonder that it’s filled to the brim with both foreign entrepreneurs and employees. 

In this Pacific Prime article, we’ll tell you what EntrePass is, who is eligible for it, and how to apply. 

What Is An Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) In Singapore?

An Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) in Singapore is a type of visa scheme that allows foreign serial entrepreneurs, high-caliber innovators, or experienced investors to relocate to the Lion City to start and operate a business. It’s part of Singapore’s vision to become a regional business hub. 

Nighttime Illuminated Structure In Singapore

But not just any business qualifies for the EntrePass scheme. The business should either be venture-backed or own innovative technology. Moreover, there are additional eligibility criteria based on whether the application is made under the entrepreneur, innovator, or investor category. 

Who Qualifies For The Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) In Singapore?

All citizens qualify for the Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) in Singapore. The first eligibility criteria relate to the type of company, and the second is the type of applicant (i.e. entrepreneur, innovator, or investor). Both these criteria must be met in order for the EntrePass to be approved. 

Type Of Company

Applicants must have started or plan to start a private limited company registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). The company must be venture-backed or own innovative technology. If the company has been registered, it must be less than 6 months old.

There are also restrictions on the business one can and can’t operate. Restricted ones include:

  • Coffee shops, hawker centers, food courts
  • Bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges
  • Foot reflexology, massage parlors
  • Acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal dispensers
  • Employment agencies
  • Geomancy business

Type Of Applicant

Applicants must also meet category-specific criteria in either the entrepreneur, innovator, or investor categories. The more criteria you can meet within your chosen category, the easier your application will be. With that said, you don’t have to meet all of the criteria in order to apply. 

Entrepreneur: 

  • The company must have raised at least SGD $100,000 in funds from a government investment vehicle, venture capitalist, or business angel that’s recognized by a Singapore government agency. 
  • The company must be an existing incubatee at an incubator or accelerator in Singapore that is recognized by the government. For example, the Accredited Mentor Partners under Startup SG Founder.
  • The applicant has vast business experience or network, a promising entrepreneurial track record of starting businesses that are highly-scalable, and an intention to start and operate an innovative technology or venture-backed business in Singapore. 

Innovator:

  • The applicant or the company has intellectual property that has been registered with the approved national IP institution. The intellectual property should deliver a competitive edge to the proposed business and be non-replicable. 
  • The company must have ongoing research in collaboration with a research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) in Singapore.
  • The applicant must have and bring significant technical or domain expertise in an area related to the proposed business that is either venture-backed or owns innovative technologies.

Investor:

  • The applicant has a proven track record of investing in various businesses and aims to grow either new or existing businesses in Singapore by starting an investment-related company. 

How To Apply For An Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) In Singapore?

Applicants can apply for an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) using the online portal and decisions are made within 8 weeks. It costs SGD $105 for each pass when the application is submitted, SGD $225 for each pass, and SGD $30 for each Multiple Journey Visa (if applicable) when the pass is issued. 

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The whole process can be broken down into four steps:

Step 1: The candidate submits an application, which will either result in an in-principle approval letter or a rejection letter. 

Step 2: Candidate, company representative, or an employment agency gets the pass issued. 

Step 3: Candidate registers fingerprints and photos (if required).

Step 4: Candidate or authorized recipients receive the card.

Documents Required To Apply For An Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass)

From a copy of your passport and resume to a business plan and beyond, you’ll need to submit a number of documents relating to yourself and your proposed business when applying for an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) in Singapore. Remember to include as many relevant documents as possible.

Here’s the full list of documents:

  • Passport copy (page with personal details)
  • Past employment testimonials or resume to outline professional experiences, awards, or recognitions.
  • Company’s latest business profile or instant information from Bizfile.*
  • A business plan (maximum 10 pages) outlining:
    • Product and service offered
    • Market analysis
    • Operation plan
    • Profile of management team
    • Supporting documents, e.g. licensing agreements, product certificates, and endorsement patents
    • Other relevant documents to support the EntrePass application.

*Only for companies registered with ACRA. 

In addition to this, applicants will also need to submit additional category-specific documents depending on whether the application is made under the entrepreneur, innovator, or investor categories. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible for foreigners to be self-employed in Singapore?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for foreigners to be self-employed in Singapore. Only permanent residents (PRs) and citizens can be self-employed in Singapore, and they’ll have to pay income tax and contribute to their Medisave account as well. 

Can foreigners register a business in Singapore?

Foreigners can register a business in Singapore. In fact, the process is relatively easy. Case in point: the Lion City consistently ranks highly in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business reports. 

How easy is it to open a bank account as a foreigner in Singapore?

Opening a bank account as a foreigner is fairly straightforward. All that is needed is a valid passport and employment pass, employment permit, or student pass. Some banks also ask for proof of address such as a utility bill or tenancy agreement. 

Conclusion

Don’t think you can apply as an Entrepreneur? As a US citizen, you could get a job and apply for the Employment Pass instead. Discover the similarities and differences between the two, including the role of Singapore Immigration’s Complementary Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for Employment Passes. 

Whichever route you choose, don’t forget to secure health insurance for Singapore. The Lion City’s cost of medical care (amongst other things) is exorbitant and it’s wise to be insured. This will make sure that you have access to the best care without having to worry or pay for it out of pocket. 

For all things health insurance, you’re welcome to reach out to Pacific Prime. We’re a health insurance broker that can help you compare and select the right plan for your needs and budget. Rest assured, we’re completely impartial in how we operate and keep your best interests in mind. 

Contact us today to kick-start your insurance journey!

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral