For a small city-state, Singapore has a lot of different working passes; the Employment Pass, S Pass, Work Holiday Pass … the list goes on. However, one pass that not many are familiar with is the EntrePass. It’s the pass that Nuseir Yassin, the man behind popular facebook video series, Nas Daily, applied to move to Singapore in 2019 on a really short notice. Foreign entrepreneurs who wish to start and operate a new business in Singapore are eligible to apply for it.

While the two passes share the same acronyms, the EntrePass is slightly more challenging to acquire than the Employment Pass, contradictory to popular belief. Over the past few years, the criteria for EntrePass has been edited and more support has been allocated to EntrePass holders, such as the Singapore Tourism Accelerator and the German Accelerator to relocate to Singapore. These accelerators offer new entrepreneurs in Singapore with guidance on entering the specific targeted markets and special support and benefits to assist new startups in Singapore that fit their requirements.

Here at Transform Borders, we do not want you to waste your time and money by applying for the wrong pass. So if you’re still confused and unsure of which to apply for, keep reading as today we are debunking the top 4 EntrePass myths and sharing with you our first-hand experience at helping our clients clinch their EntrePass in close to no time at all.

Myth 1: EntrePass = Employment Pass for Entrepreneurs?

it’s a common misconception that the EntrePass is merely an Employment Pass restricted to Entrepreneurs

Let’s get this one out of the way.

Many people seem to believe that the EntrePass has the same fine print as the Employment Pass. Only that the EntrePass is restricted to just Entrepreneurial applicants.

That’s just simply not the case. Just in terms of renewal ability, minimum salary and passes for family members, these two passes differ a lot.

The EntrePass does not have a minimum salary while the Employment Pass requires a minimum fixed monthly salary of at least $3600.

Relocating family into Singapore for EntrePass holders depends on their business spending. Spending at least $100 000 and employing 3 local full-timers (who earn at least $1300, receive CPF contributions for at least 3 months) will allow you to relocate your spouse and children to Singapore. While for Employment Pass holders, they need to be earning at least $6000 per month to qualify to apply.

A new EntrePass is valid for one year before having to be renewed. The first renewal lasts for also just one year before the subsequent renewals span for 2 years at a time. While the Employment Pass lasts for 1-2 years before having to renew which spans for 2-3 years each renewal.

Furthermore, the renewal of an EntrePass is dependent on your total annual business spending, the number of employees employed and you must hold at least 30% of shares within the company.

Myth 2: EntrePass = all entrepreneurs?

Unfortunately, opening your own cafe does not make you eligible for an Entrepass

Thinking of applying for an EntrePass to set up a café in Singapore? Sad to say this, but you will get rejected. This happened with one of our clients, who was previously wrongly advised to apply for an EntrePass. He thought all he needed was to persevere and appeal his application, where he failed again.

If this client had met us earlier, he would have saved himself lots of time, money and energy because what he really should have applied for from the get-go was an Employment Pass.

Unlike what its name suggests, just being an entrepreneur is not good enough to qualify for this pass. While the government has eased the criteria of the EntrePass application, businesses such as those in the F&B industry, bars, karaoke lounges, massage parlours, employment agencies etc are not eligible for an EntrePass. Our experience tells us that generally, innovative start-ups like a government-recognised venture capitalist or an incubatee at a government-recognized incubator or accelerator are more likely to be successful in their applications.

If you are neither, fret not, you could still try! The Ministry of Manpower has listed out a comprehensive list of all the criteria, and while you do not have to possess all the listed prerequisites, the more you have, the better.

Myth 3: EntrePass = only entrepreneurs?

You can only apply for an Entrepass to set up a business in the capacity of an entrepreneur, an innovator or an investor

Again, unlike what its name suggests, EntrePass is not only for entrepreneurs to apply for!

Innovators and even investors are eligible to apply for an EntrePass as long as they fulfil the prerequisites and wish to operate a business in Singapore.

Prerequisites for innovators include having research collaboration with an Institute of Higher Learning or a research institute in Singapore, hold intellectual property or have extraordinary achievements in key areas of expertise. While investors need to have a good investment track record and be willing to invest a substantial amount of money in a local company. To find out more, click here.

Myth 4: EntrePass = Extremely Easy to obtain?

Getting an Entrepass is no easy feat

While there are clear guidelines online on the criteria for EntrePass and how to apply, the process is extremely tedious. Not only do you have to prepare all the documentation required, you also need to produce a business plan in English that covers your profile, your business idea and an implementation plan in not more than 10 pages.

Think of your business plan as your pitch to the government, they need to see the potential benefits your business will bring to Singapore in order for them to approve of your application.

And of course, you must start a private limited company registered with ACRA, or have a company that is less than 6 months old on the date of your application.

Still confused on which to apply for? Unsure of how or where to start trying to compile all the documents needed? Or maybe you are unsure of how to renew your EntrePass?  Reach out to us for a free 10-minute non-obligatory consultation and let us direct you on a clear path to getting your EntrePass as quickly as possible.

Written by: Wong Jiayi