How to Get a Singapore Entrepreneur Pass – EntrePass in 2021

This article is designed to provide an overview of the Singapore Entrepreneur Pass (otherwise known as the EntrePass) – a visa for both technopreneurs and R&D-intensive enterprises. You will learn a number of the EntrePass components, including its eligibility requirements and approval criteria, application process, and timeline.

What is the Singapore EntrePass?

Singapore’s EntrePass is a visa that has been created for entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate a private limited company in Singapore. The EntrePass is designed to attract both technopreneurs and R&D-intensive enterprises, including those within the biotech and cleantech sectors. In developing the EntrePass, the aim is to encourage innovation and vibrancy across Singapore’s business landscape. 

There are certain business types that are more likely to be approved for an EntrePass. Most notably, these are businesses involved in the development or application of creative technology, or those contributing to innovative creations.

Requirements to obtain an EntrePass

Before an EntrePass can be granted, applications must be reviewed by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), as well as government-partnered or government-linked agencies such as Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board of Singapore, and SGInnovate

All applicants need to demonstrate at least one of the following:

Criteria
Description
Be funded by a business angel or recognized third-party venture capitalist
Strict monetary funding of at least $100,000.
Applicants are required to provide a shareholder certificate or documentary proof of investment commitment from a business angel or venture capitalist.
Some examples include SGInnovate, Jungle Ventures.
Hold a nationally recognized proprietary or licensed intellectual property (IP)
IP offers a competitive advantage to a proposed business and cannot be easily replicated.
At least one of the company shareholders must be the owner of the IP.
An expired IP may be considered – so long as one of the shareholders is the inventor of the IP.
Has research collaboration with a recognized research institution – such as A*STAR or an institute of higher learning
Research collaboration needs to be related to your proposed business.
The research institution must provide a contact person to verify research collaboration details
It is mandatory that you be involved with ongoing research collaboration.
Contract of services is NOT classified as research collaboration
Be an incubatee at a government-approved incubator or accelerator
Incubators or accelerators within SPRING Singapore’s Startup SG Accelerator Programme.
Be Accredited Mentor Partners under Startup SG Founder.
SgInnovate-linked incubation or acceleration programmes.
Have significant business experience or network; and a promising record of entrepreneurship
Must fulfill ANY of the following:
Founded and sold a tech company.
Raised significant funding from investors for a current or past venture.
Have been previously – or currently – incubated by an internationally renowned incubator or accelerator.
Have strong business contacts and industry networks that are related to your business proposal.
Have a significant record of achievements that relate to your proposed business.
Must fulfill ANY of the following: Founded and sold a tech company.
Raised significant funding from investors for a current or past venture.
Have been previously – or currently – incubated by an internationally renowned incubator or accelerator.
Have strong business contacts and industry networks that are related to your business proposal.
Have a significant record of achievements that relate to your proposed business.
Has extensive technical or domain expertise in an area that is related to your proposal
Must fulfill ALL of the following:
Your area of expertise needs to relate to your proposed business.
Have exceptional achievements or have received international recognition in your area of technical or domain expertise.
Hold a notable record of investing in businesses; and a desire to grow new or existing businesses in Singapore
Must fulfill ALL of the following:
Be willing to invest a significant sum of money into a local company.
You have a track record that relates to either investing in and driving the growth of a scalable business OR notable experience as a senior management professional or executive within a large corporation.

EntrePass applicants must also meet the following criteria:

  • Register a Private Limited Company: At the point of application, the company must not have been registered for any longer than six months. Applicants may register the company after their EntrePass application is approved.
  • Have relevant experience and a successful record in the creation and management of a business. 
  • Submit a business plan (of 10 pages) that outlines their business goals and objectives. To renew their EntrePass, holders must fulfill the goals and objectives documented in their business plan.

Business plan and renewal criteria

A 10-page business plan is one of the key components in an EntrePass application. The business plan needs to highlight an applicant’s business experience, the validity of their business idea, and a detailed implementation framework. 

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has a progressive renewal criteria. This ensures that the contributions of EntrePass holders are in-line with the duration of their Singapore operations. To renew an EntrePass, it is incumbent on holders to meet the goals and objectives outlined in their business plan. As such, it is vital that holders have an expertly drafted business plan. 

When drafting a business plan, applicants must provide compulsory information that outlines their profile, business idea, and implementation plan. 

For their profile, applicants need to provide evidence of the following:

  • Professional experience, including employment history, role within a growing business, and record in growing start-ups
  • Awards or recognitions: this can include prestigious awards from a national body, recognized organization, or credible media outlet 
  • Specialist skills or resources: such as intellectual property, networks, financial, and technology
  • Academic qualifications
  • Professional role in societies or organizations 

In referencing their business idea, applicants need to provide information that outlines:

  • The product or service that is offered
  • Market analysis 
  • Supporting documents: this can include licensing agreements, endorsements, and product certifications

Finally, for their implementation plan, applicants need to produce the following:

  • Market plan
  • Operation plan
  • Financial projections 
  • The profile of their management team

Renewal criteria for the EntrePass

Number of years holding an EntrePass
Total business spending** needs to be at least
Must employ at least
1
n/a
n/a
2*
$100,000
3 FTEs* or 1 PME***
4
$200,000
6 FTEs* or 2 PME***
6
$300,000
9 FTEs* or 3 PME***
8 or more
$400,000
12 FTEs or 4 PMEs
  • * – Hold a minimum of 30% shares in the company from year 2

  • **Total Business Spending (TBS) – refers to total local business spending, excluding remuneration to EntrePass holder

  • ***Full-time Employees (FTEs) – refers to Singapore nationals and permanent residents who earn a monthly salary of at least $1,100

  • ****PMEs – refers to professionals, managers, and executives who are Singapore nationals or permanent residents; and earn a monthly salary of at least $3,600

  • Note: 1 local PME = 3 local FTEs

Relocation privileges

For holders of the EntrePass, they may apply for the Dependant’s Pass and/or a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) for their family members. To do so, they need to meet the following criteria:

  • Holders must have held an EntrePass for one year. Upon EntrePass renewal, the holder’s family would then have to undergo a Dependant’s Pass or LTVP assessment, prior to applying for either. 

  • EntrePass holders can only bring their family in if they meet the requirements for total business spending and local employment.

To bring their family in, the requirements for total business spending and local employment are outlined below:

To bring in
Your total annual business spending must be at least
You must employ at least
Spouse – common law or legally married.
Children
$100,000
3 local FTEs or 1 local PME
Parents
$200,000
6 local FTEs or 2 local PMEs

In order to bring your family with you, applicants need to apply for the following types of passes:

Family Member
Type of Pass
Spouse – legally married.
Unmarried children younger than 21, including children that are legally adopted
Dependant’s Pass
Common-law spouse.
Unmarried handicapped children older than 21.
Unmarried stepchildren over the age of 21.
Parents.
Long Term Visit Pass

Procedure and Timeline

Singapore’s MOM typically takes around eight weeks to process an EntrePass Application. This is due to the fact that requirements for the EntrePass are quite strict – when compared to an Employment Pass. This timeframe may be extended if further clarification is sought from MOM.

Required documents for application

All EntrePass applicants must produce the following documents:

  • Singapore EntrePass application form 8
  • Copies of educational certificates 
  • A passport-size photograph that is no more than three months old
  • MOU’s or contracts with potential clients of the new business, if applicable 
  • Press releases, brochures, or any separate business collateral from an existing or previous business venture
  • An expertly drafted, 10-page business plan that outlines business objectives and goals

Collecting your Singapore EntrePass

As soon as an EntrePass application has been approved, MOM will issue an In-Principle Approval letter (also known as an IPA). Once you have received an IPA, you have six months to relocate to Singapore and claim your EntrePass. Individuals must also register their company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (known as ACRA) – within a set timeframe issued by the IPA. 

When collecting an EntrePass, all persons must present the following:

  • A copy of their IPA letter
  • One passport size photo
  • Their original passport with disembarkation card
  • If stated in their In-Principle Approval letter, a medical exam report may also be required 
  • Any additional documents that have been requested by the IPA

For applicants that need to produce a medical exam report, this can be done in either their home country or Singapore. The advantage of having this done in Singapore is that most clinics offer medical examinations and reports within one day.

Entry Visa into Singapore

For anyone overseas who requires an entry visa into Singapore, their IPA letter features a single journey entry visa. 

Once arriving in Singapore, New Horizons can schedule an appointment with Singapore’s MOM on your behalf. This is typically needed for finger printing. Once these procedures are finalized, your EntrePass is available in four working days. 

Passes can be collected in person at MOM. Alternatively, you can authorize a member of New Horizons’ team to collect the pass on your behalf.

What happens if an EntrePass application is denied?

In the event that an EntrePass application is denied, New Horizons can investigate further on your behalf. Based on the reasons outlined by Singapore’s MOM, we can submit an appeal. This will address those issues outlined, as well as separate documents that may be requested. 

Appeal reviews take at least three weeks to be finalized by MOM.

Singapore Permanent Residence eligibility

For holders of the EntrePass, they are eligible to apply for Permanent Residency. It should be noted that there is a designated wait period of six months. This is due to one of the assessment criteria being six months’ worth of pay slips. Ideally, an IRAS tax assessment should also be submitted.

How New Horizons can help

As a leader in employment solutions across Singapore – and more than 150 countries worldwide, New Horizons provides services to fast-track your EntrePass application. Our legal specialists work in close contact with government departments to ensure that your business plan and EntrePass application complies with the necessary guidelines set by the Ministry of Manpower. We offer expert guidance during each phase of the application process, including the drafting of your business plan and the renewal process. In addition to this service, our Global PEO enables you to quickly and compliantly begin trading in Singapore, without the burden of establishing costly entities or foreign subsidiaries. Through our Global PEO, we oversee your company’s recruitment, onboarding, global payroll, and tax and legal compliance. If you’d like to know more about any of our employment solutions, contact a member of our team today.

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