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How to get an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) in Singapore

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

 

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

Key facts about the EntrePass in Singapore

For many companies, tax is the main reason why many companies choose to incorporate a company in Singapore. Singapore has business-friendly tax rates and a wealth of tax incentives to encourage the growth of 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 1 year with renewals allowing the holder to stay for 2 years
  • You must have an incorporated company that is 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 or are able to furnish a Banker’s Guarantee of S$3,000 issued by a Singapore-based bank
  • The application takes around 8 weeks to be processed and is reviewed by three government bodies
  • [[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 business 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 EntrePass and an Employment Pass?

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

  • Purpose: an EP is for company staff and executives, while an Entrepass is for founders of the newly set up companies who own at least 30% shareholding
  • Salary requirements: an EP requires the applicant to have a minimum salary of S$3,600, while there is no specific salary requirement for Entrepass
  • Processing time: for an EP application it can be as fast as 3 weeks, while EntrePass can take up to 8 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.

Entrepass Singapore requirements

EntrePass is open to people of all nationalities. You can apply for an EntrePass if you:
  • have a proposed business idea that is innovative, entrepreneurial, and able to create jobs for locals
  • have an entrepreneurial or relevant background
  • plan to register your 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 business
  • are sponsored by a well-established Singaporean company or are able to furnish a Banker’s Guarantee of S$3,000 issued by a Singapore-based bank upon approval of the application.

In addition to all the above-mentioned conditions, you are required to meet the either one of these criteria, which is divided into 3 types – Entrepreneur, Innovator or Investor:

ENTREPRENEUR INNOVATOR INVESTOR
  • Your company has funding of at least S$100,000 from a venture capitalist (VC) or angel investor that is accepted by a Singapore Government agency.

  • Is an incubatee at a government-recognized 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 Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) in Singapore.

  • Achieved outstanding technical or domain expertise in an area related to your proposed business.

  • Possess a good track record of investing in businesses.

Business not approved for EntrePass:

These businesses will not be considered for EntrePass applications:

  • 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 do so directly with the Ministry of Manpower. An online application is not available. You will require these documents:

  • An EntrePass application form
  • Documentary evidence that proves you are an entrepreneur, innovator or investor
  • Business plan in the prescribed format (explained below)
  • Copy of your company’s latest business profile
  • A recent passport-sized photo
  • Copy of the particulars page of your passport
  • Documentation of your previous employment or business venture
  • Copies of your educational certificates
  • Any other documents that can solidify your application

The business plan for Entrepass

A business plan is part of the required documentation that you need to submit along with your application.  The Ministry of Manpower has required that the business 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.

Profile of applicant

Business idea

Implementation plan

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) letter is issued to you. After that, you have 30 days to register your Singapore 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 a 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.

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, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional firm to assist you in the application.

Next steps

At Sleek we help with Employment Pass visas every day and understand the trends that lead to MOM approvals and rejections. We have an excellent track record of approvals and rescuing rejected applications. Get in touch with us to find out more.

We help entrepreneurs streamline their company incorporation, governance, and accounting using clever technology.

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