Singapore is among the top countries for someone wanting to start a business. And as such, it has launched the EntrePass scheme that makes starting a business in the country even easier for foreign entrepreneurs. Unlike other countries, it has less stringent requirements, enabling investors to invest in local startups if they wish to do so. In this article, we will look at the nitty-gritty of EntrePass. So, let’s get into it.
What is an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass)?
The Entrepreneur Pass, also known as EntrePass, is a scheme that allows foreigners to start businesses in Singapore. The system aims to attract foreign entrepreneurs, thus further establishing the country as an international business hub.
Any business started under the scheme should ideally have venture capitalist backing or its own innovative technologies. The scheme was started in 2003 and has undergone several amendments to ease the application process. The first changes were announced in 2014, with others following in 2017.
Before the recent changes, the applicant was required to own at least 30% of the company’s shares. Another requirement that was scrapped is having a $50,000 share capital before application. Many prospective entrepreneurs were locked out, hence the need to end it. To qualify for EntrePass, you need to be an innovator, investor, or entrepreneur.
Eligibility For EntrePass
The EntrePass scheme is open to entrepreneurs of all nationalities. However, to qualify for one, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Intend to start or have started a private limited company registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. The company should have venture capitalist backing or its own innovative technologies.
- It should be less than six months old from the application date if it is a registered company. If you’ve not registered, you can do so immediately after knowing your registration status.
- Meet the qualifications for the category you belong to – entrepreneur, investor, or innovator. However, you don’t need to meet the requirements of all three.
Here are the qualifications for each category:
- The company should have funding from a recognised venture capitalist (VC) or angel investor. It should have raised at least $100,000 in funding from a VC or angel investor recognised by the Singapore government.
- The company should be an incubatee at an accelerator or incubator in Singapore, which the Singapore government recognises.
- The applicant involved ought to have a robust business network and a proven track record. They should also have a promising future to start profitable businesses in Singapore.
- The applicant should have a strong history of investing in profitable businesses. He or she should have a strong desire to start similar businesses in Singapore and be willing to invest in local tech startups.
- The applicant should hold an intellectual property (IP) registered with a relevant institution.
- He or she should also be involved in a research collaboration with a research institute or an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) in Singapore.
- He or she should be a thought leader in his or her area of expertise and possess technical prowess.
You’ll have to submit several personal documents to apply for the EntrePass. They include:
- A valid passport.
- A resume to showcase your professional experience. You should also have testimonials from past employers, where applicable.
ACRA-registered companies should have their latest business profile.
- An elaborate business plan with a maximum of 10 pages. It should contain a market analysis, an operation plan, and details of products and services.
- Other supporting documents that the government might require.
If you are applying as an entrepreneur, investor or innovator, the following documents are required:
- If an angel investor or VC backs your business, you must submit documents showing you’ve raised funding of at least $100,000.
- If it is an incubatee, you will need documents to show it is under the care of a government-recognised accelerator or incubator.
- Documents to show current investments.
- Documents highlighting your area of interest and the startups you are considering funding.
- Documents to show engagement level with the startups. It can include investment agreements and correspondences, among others.
- Intellectual property (IP) registration.
- An overview of current research with a research institute or Institute of Higher Learning.
- Contacts of persons you are conducting research with.
- Documents to highlight your expertise, such as certificates.
Process of Applying for an EntrePass
Each EntrePass application will cost you $105; once it goes through, you’ll pay $225 for each. If you require a Multiple Journey Visa, you’ll pay $30 for each. On average, it takes eight weeks to process your application. Here is a step-by-step guide to the application process:
Submit your application
You should submit your application at a SingPost branch with supporting documents such as a copy of your passport and business plan. The application fee is $70.
Receive an in-principle approval or rejection letter
Once you receive the in-principle approval letter, you’ll have a 6-month limit to enter Singapore and request for EntrePass issuance. You should be able to provide passport details, immigration details, and a residential address in Singapore, among others.
Register your company with ACRA (if necessary)
Once you receive the in-principle approval letter (IPA), you have 30 days to register a private limited company.
Receive a notification letter
You’ll receive a notification letter once you get the EntrePass. It is valid for one month and allows you to travel in and out of Singapore. The letter will indicate whether you need to provide your fingerprints and have a photo taken.
Have a photo taken and provide fingerprints (where necessary)
New applicants and those whose last registration was over five years ago will need to provide their fingerprints and have a photo taken. You should have an original passport, appointment letter, and notification letter with you when doing so.
Get your EntrePass card
You’ll receive your EntrePass card after four business days. You’ll have to renew your new EntrePass after one year, after which the next renewal is pushed back by a year. From then on, you’ll have to renew your EntrePass only after two years.
Passes for EntrePass Holder’s Family
To bring your family along with you to Singapore, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Spouse and children: Your annual business expenditure should be at least $100,000. You should also employ at least three LQS (Singaporeans or Permanent Residents earning at least $1,400 monthly) or one local PME (Singaporeans or Permanent Residents earning at least $3,900 monthly).
- Parents: Your annual business expenditure should be at least $200,000. You should employ at least six LQS or two local PMEs.
There are two types of passes you can apply for, and it depends on the family members you wish to bring to Singapore. They are:
- Dependant’s Pass: For your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old.
- Long-Term Visit Pass: For parents, disabled children aged 21 years or older that are unmarried and stepchildren aged 21 years or younger.
The EntrePass scheme is no doubt a boon to the economy of Singapore. Not only does it increase the nation’s revenue, but it also leverages foreign expertise. As an EntrePass card holder, you may be eligible for permanent residency after a specific period. However, one has to meet several requirements, such as being involved in the running of an innovative business.
You can file an appeal within 90 days if your application is rejected. It will take eight weeks to process your request.
If you want to ensure you get approval in the first go and also don’t want to take the hassle of managing all the paperwork, you can always contact us, immigration sg, your reliable immigration partners. We would be there to guide you before, during and even after you receive your EntrePass.