How to get an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) in Singapore

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If you are an entrepreneur from a foreign country with an innovative business proposal, you may qualify for the Singapore Entrepreneur Pass Entrepass. Singapore created this unique visa as an added incentive to attract the brightest minds to its start-up and entrepreneur scene by opening business in Singapore..

This guide gives you a high level overview of the EntrePass scheme, requirement criteria and key difference between this visas and other visas, as well as what to expect during the application process and experience in 2020.

Key information and terms about the Entrepreneur Passes in Singapore

For many companies, tax is the main reason why many companies choose to incorporate a company in Singapore. Businesses in Singapore  enjoy friendly tax rates and a wealth of tax incentives to encourage the growth of new businesses and entrepreneurship, which makes incorporating a company in Singapore a good idea.  Here’s a quick rundown of some of the favourable tax policies:

  • An EntrePass is valid for 12 months with renewals allowing the holder to stay for 2 years
  • Your incorporated company must be less than 6 months old or plans to incorporate a company
  • You must have a comprehensive business plan as part of your application
  • You must have evidence that you have been sponsored by a well-established Singaporean company must be able to furnish a Banker’s Guarantee of S$3,000 issued by a Singapore-based bank
  • The application takes around eight weeks to be processed and is reviewed by at least one to three government bodies - Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) SPRING Singapore and the National Research Foundation (NRF).
  • [[As of August 2017]] Entrepreneurs no longer need to have a minimum of S$50,000 of paid-up capital in order to apply for this visa
  • In Year 1 there are no minimum requirements on total annual corporate spending and employees hired, but you do have minimum requirements from Year 2 onwards (click here to learn more).

What's the difference between an Entrepreneur Passes scheme and an Employment Pass?

There are several key differences in details between the two visas, for example:

  • Purpose: an Employment Pass is for company staff and executives, while the Entrepass scheme is for founders of the newly set up companies who own at least 30% shareholding
  • Salary requirements: a workpass requires the applicant to have a minimum salary of S$3,600, while there is no specific salary requirement for Entrepass
  • Processing/assessment time: for an EP application it can be as fast as three weeks, while EntrePass can take up to eight weeks
  • Visa duration: an EP holders can stay up to 2 years in Singapore upon the first issue of the visa, while Entrepass holders are only granted 1 year.

Singapore the Entrepass (Entrepreneur passes) requirements in 2020

EntrePass is open to people of all nationalities. You can apply if you adhere to the below criteria and submit the supporting documents:

  • have a proposed new business in Singapore that is innovative, entrepreneurial, and able to create jobs for locals
  • have an entrepreneurial or relevant background
  • plan to register your new business as a private limited company in Singapore
  • have not incorporated your company yet, or the company is less than six months old during application
  • plan to hold 30% of the shares in the proposed company
  • are sponsored by a well-established Singaporean company with resources and executives, or are able to furnish a Banker’s Guarantee of S$3,000 issued by a Singapore-based bank upon approval of the application.

EntrePass is open to people of all nationalities. You can apply if you adhere to the below criteria and submit the supporting documents:

Entrepreneur

Innovator 

Investors

  • Your company has funding of at least S$1000,000 from a venture capitalist (VC) or angel investor that is accepted by a Singapore Government agency
  • Is an incubatee at a recognised incubator or accelerator
  • You have significant business experience, network and promising entrepreneurial track record
  • Owns and holds an intellectual property (IP)
  • Has an ongoing research collaboration with a research institution under an Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) in Singapore
  • Achieved outstanding technical or domain expertise in an area related to your proposed businesses
  • Possess a good track record of investing in businesses 

Unlike the other visas, EntrePass applications are reviewed by 3 separate government bodies –  Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SPRING Singapore and the National Research Foundation (NRF).

*all rights reserved

Business in Singapore not approved for the EntrePass scheme:

These businesses will not be considered for EntrePass applications in 2020:

  • Coffee shops, hawker centres, food courts
  • Bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges
  • Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, herbal dispensary
  • Foot reflexology, massage parlours
  • Employment agencies, geomancy

Unlike the other visas, EntrePass applications are reviewed by 3 separate government bodies –  Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), SPRING Singapore and the National Research Foundation (NRF).

How do I apply for an EntrePass?

If you wish to apply for Entrepass, you must register directly with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) . An online application is not available. You will require these documents and criteria:

  • An EntrePass application form
  • Documentary evidence that proves your identity
  • Business plan in the prescribed format (explained below)
  • Copy of your company’s latest business profile
  • A recent passport-sized photo
  • Copy of the personal particulars page of your passport
  • Documentation of your previous employment or businesses ventures
  • Copies of your university certificates
  • Any other documents that can solidify your application

The business plan for Entrepass

A business plan is part of the required information that you need to submit along with your application.  MOM has required that the plan conform to the following structure. Note that this means if your business plan does not conform to this format, your application may be rejected.

applicant qualifications

Business sector criteria

Implementation plan/documents

How long will the application take?

EntrePass applications usually take between 6 to 8 weeks to process. You can use this link to check your EntrePass application status.

 

Once your application is successful, an In-Principle Approval (IPA) services letter is issued to you. After that, you have 1 month to register the company and place your share capital. Furthermore, MOM will then require you to update your EntrePass details after you have incorporated your company with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) Once that is complete, MOM will issue you your Entrepass.

 

Also, the IPA letter will also inform you if you are required to go through one medical test before your Entrepass is issued to you. Finally, once the final IPA approval letter is issued you must move to Singapore within 6 months.

 

As the visa is only valid for 1 year, you should file your renewal application 2 months before the expiry date. Renewal application are processed in around 6 – 8 weeks. 

Family members and children (under age of 21 years)

Parents who have received their EntrePass are able to bring your spouse and unmarried handicapped children under age of 21 over to your Singapore address for the duration of your Visa. They will be eligible to apply for a Dependent pass and relocate to Singapore

 

EntrePass holders are eligible for permanent residency (PR) in due time,  subject to approval by immigration authorities in Singapore. 

 

Rejection of EntrePass application

If you have met all the stipulated requirements mentioned above, your application is unlikely to be rejected. However, should it happen to you, an appeal can be filed within 90 days. The appeal process will take another 6 to 8 weeks. Due to EntrePass application being a highly complicated process with a lot of required information, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional firm and services to assist you in the application.

Next steps

If you’re ready to take your business from dream to reality, we have professionals and services that can help you make it happen. Get tailored, practical advice and assessment on EntrePass, company registration and businesses in Singapore from us about your situation – get in touch today with your information.

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