Frequently Asked Questions

American firms wishing to establish a presence in Singapore have several straightforward options to do so. They can establish a Representative Office (RO), register as a Branch of the parent, or incorporate as a Singapore company.

If an American company wishes to carry on operations in Singapore, it should register a branch office or incorporate a local company with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). A step-by-step guide that takes the first time registrant through the process of establishing a branch office or incorporating in Singapore is available.

You may also wish to refer to the following websites for information on doing business in Singapore:

  1. General Doing business in Singapore.
  2. How foreign companies are affected by Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  3. Information on how GST is processed.
  4. Singapore Employment Act.

IE Singapore advises foreign entities that are keen on exploring the viability of doing business in Singapore, or are interested in using Singapore as a launch pad into the Asia Pacific, may wish to set up a Representative Office (RO).  A RO has the benefit of allowing a foreign entity to assess the business environment in Singapore before deciding to set up a permanent establishment.

With effect from 1 January 2012, a RO of foreign commercial entity may operate in Singapore for a maximum of three (3) years from its commencement date, provided that the RO status is evaluated and renewed.  ROs which decide to continue their presence in Singapore thereafter should register their operations with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.

More information on the Setting up of a Representative Office (RO) and application procedures can be found on IE Singapore’s website.