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Licence & Permits

To do certain business in Singapore, Licence is required from relevant Government Departments. In order to apply Licence, business registration / Company incorporation must be in place.

The various types of Singapore licences and permits are:

  • Occupational licences for professional services - Professionals such as lawyers, doctors, financial planners, pilots, commodity futures traders and accountants need to obtain occupational licences to practice.
  • Compulsory licences - Certain types of businesses require a special licence before they can operate. Private schools, travel agencies, liquor distributors, money remittance agencies and childcare centres are some examples.
  • Business activity licences and permits - Licences and permits you need if you decide to carry out certain types of business activities. For instance, you may need to renovate, erect advertising billboards on your premises, or export your products. For each of these activities, you need to get a licence or permit.

Generally, it takes between one week to two months to get a business licence or permit depending on the type.

Details of common business licences as:

  • Hiring local and foreign employees - obtain a work pass for the employee from Ministry of Manpower
  • Using personal residence as home office - Registration with the Housing & Development Board (for HDB premises) or Urban Redevelopment Authority (for private premises)
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) Registration –registration with Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore
  • Engaging in import / export activities - register with Singapore Customs and obtain a CR number
  • Employment agency – Licence from Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
  • Travel agency - Licence to be obtained Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
  • Restaurant business - obtain a Food Shop Licence, issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA)
  • Education business - Depending on the type of educational establishment one or more of the relevant business licenses may be required for your company.
  • Event management company –
    • Arts Entertainment Licence issued by the Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore, for carrying out any form of public entertainment concerning the arts, viz. plays, musical performances, dance performances, exhibitions, variety shows and pop/rock concerts.
    • Permit for Road Occupation Management issued by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore, for permission to carry out works affecting public streets and public areas.
    • Copyright Permit issued by The Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS), for events such as concerts, road shows, fairs and exhibitions, etc involving the public performance of Copyright musical works.
    • No Objection Letter for Selling Food & Beverage at Event issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore.
  • Fund management / financial advisory company –
    • Capital Markets Services Licence issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under the Securities and Futures Act, for conducting any business dealing with securities.
    • Commodity Licence issued by the MAS under the Securities & Futures Act and Financial Advisers Act, for commodity trading activities that involve soliciting funds from the public.
    • Financial Adviser's Licence issued by MAS under the Financial Advisers Act, for conducting financial advisory activities.

Above list in not exhaustive and hence before undertaking an business activities in Singapore, one must consult experts about Requirement of Licence and Permits. It is always better to engage a professional services firm to save you time and headaches. Prime is keen in taking up any such assignment.

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