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 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.

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 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 eight 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 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 EntrePass scheme and an Employment Pass?

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

  • Purpose: an EP 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: 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 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.

Entrepass Singapore requirements in 2020

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

  • 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 company
  • 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$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 

Business 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?

  • Submit your application online;
  • The application takes about 8 weeks to process;
  • If the application is successful, an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter will be issued to you. Once the IPA approval letter is issued, you must move to Singapore within 6 months;
  • You are also given 1 month (from the start date of the IPA) to incorporated your company with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
  • You need to have the pass issued within the validity period of the IPA. A Notification Letter will be issued and it is valid for 1 month. You will have 2 weeks from the start date of the Notification Letter to register for fingerprints and photo, if required;
  • Once that is complete, MOM will issue you your Entrepass within 4 working days.

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

Family members

After receiving your EntrePass, you are able to bring your spouse and unmarried children under age of 21 over to Singapore 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 services that can help you make it happen. Get tailored, practical advice from us about your situation – get in touch today with your information.

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