A Certificate of Incorporation is a basic legal document that’s issued when you form a company in Singapore. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over the 6 most important things that every business owner should know about these certificates, namely:
- What is a Certificate of Incorporation?
- Who issues the Certificate of Incorporation?
- What information does a Certificate of Incorporation contain?
- Why is the Certificate of Incorporation important?
- How do I get a Certificate of Incorporation in Singapore?
- How do I verify the authenticity of a Certificate of Incorporation?
#1. What is a Certificate of Incorporation?
A Certificate of Incorporation is an official document that proves your company has been legally registered and formed in Singapore. It is legal proof that your company has met all the regulatory requirements to form a company.
Sample Certificate of Incorporation:
Here’s a sample certificate that you would receive if you had started a Private Limited in Singapore.
Source: ACRA Sample Certificate of Incorporation
#2. Who issues the Certificate of Incorporation?
The certificate is issued by ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). ACRA is the government body responsible for regulating formation and compliance matters of all companies in Singapore.
You will get 1 free copy of your Certificate of Incorporation when you first register your company. This Certificate of Incorporation will be emailed to the contact person, and company officers, that you submit to ACRA during the company incorporation process.
#3. What information does a Certificate of Incorporation contain?
The Certificate of Incorporation will state:
- Company name
- Unique Entity Number (UEN)
- Incorporation date
- Type of company (e.g. Private Limited, LLP, Sole Proprietorship, etc.)
- Former names of your company, if applicable (only the 5 most recent names will be listed)
- Authentication number and QR code for other parties to verify your Certificate of Incorporation’s authenticity
#4. Why is the Certificate of Incorporation important?
Some business transactions will require you to provide your company’s Certificate of Incorporation.
Here are some common examples:
- Opening corporate bank accounts
- Taking on contracts with government agencies
- Applying for grants from government agencies
- Applying for certain business services, like specialised insurance coverage (e.g. performance bonds or foreign worker security bonds)
- Entering into contracts with clients who need to verify your company’s legitimacy
#5. How do I get a Certificate of Incorporation?
When you first register your company, you will receive 1 free copy of your Certificate of Incorporation via email. This is emailed to the officers of the company and the contact person who’s handling the incorporation process.
This free Certificate of Incorporation will be unsigned. Some business transactions may require you to show a signed copy of your Certificate of Incorporation. For instance, some banks may require a signed Certificate of Incorporation to open a company bank account for you. To get a signed certificate, you’ll need to purchase a Certificate of Incorporation from ACRA.
Also, if you need to download an updated copy of your Certificate of Incorporation, or if you’ve somehow lost your certificate, then you can purchase your Certificate again.
It only takes 3 steps to buy your Certificate of Incorporation:
Step 1: Log in to BizFile+
BizFile+ is an online portal managed by ACRA, which provides various business services for companies.
Step 2: Go to “Buy Information”
Step 3: Make payment
The fee is SGD $50.
Step 4: Download signed Certificate of Incorporation
You’ll get an email within 15 minutes with a link to download your signed Certificate of Incorporation.
Who is allowed to buy the Certificate of Incorporation?
You cannot just ask anyone in your company to purchase the certificate. Only the following individuals in your company are allowed to purchase the certificate:
- Company officers
- Business owners
- Authorised representatives
- Authorised corporate secretaries
- Goup secretary
- For LLPs and LPs: partners or managers
These restrictions are meant to avoid potential fraudulent use of your certificate. For example, you wouldn’t want any of your employees purchasing your certificate, and then using it to surreptitiously open a bank account under your company’s name for malicious purposes.
What is the fee to buy the Certificate of Incorporation?
It costs SGD $50 for each Certificate of Incorporation.
I’ve lost my incorporation documents – how do I find my Certificate of Incorporation?
If you incorporated your company after 31st May 2018, your Certificate of Incorporation would have been emailed to you. Search your inbox or spam folder for it.
If you incorporated your company before 31st May 2018, and previously had a hard copy of your certificate, you can purchase a new copy of your certificate.
Can I purchase a hard copy of the Certificate of Incorporation?
No. ACRA has stopped issuing hard copies of the Certificate of Incorporation since 31st May 2018. All Certificates of Incorporation are now issued electronically only.
Some other sites may advise you that there are hard copy services available –this is outdated information, unfortunately.
What’s the processing time to receive my certificate?
After you’ve made payment, you’ll get an email from ACRA within 15 minutes. This email will contain a link to download your certificate. It’s a fairly quick process.
#6. How do I verify the authenticity of a Certificate of Incorporation?
Sometimes when dealing with another business, you may want to find their incorporation certificate as part of your due diligence process. Or you may also have business partners who want to verify your certificate’s authenticity. There are 2 methods to verify a Certificate of Incorporation:
Method 1: Scan the QR code on the certificate. If it’s real, this will send you to a page verifying its legitimacy.
Method 2: Enter the UEN and Authentication Number (both found on your Certificate of Incorporation) at this Product Authentication page. The results will tell you whether it’s fake or real.
Verifying a certificate’s authenticity is 100% free.
Protecting your business:
After you incorporate your company, make sure you protect it! Provide is the easiest way for businesses to get insured in Singapore. Simply click the links below to purchase your cover online, in just 3 minutes!
|Professional Indemnity Insurance||Covers a wide variety of business lawsuits: customer lawsuits, business partner lawsuits, negligence lawsuits, errors & omissions lawsuits, IP infringement lawsuits, breach of confidentiality lawsuits, etc.||From $42/month|
|Commercial Property Insurance||Covers property damage from fire, explosions, certain types of water damage, etc.
Covers building structure, renovations, fixtures & fittings, equipment, & more.
|Public Liability Insurance||Covers lawsuits related to injuries or property damage to third-parties (e.g. members of the public).||From $9/month|
|Work Injury Compensation Insurance (WICA Insurance)||Covers your employees from work-related injuries/sickness, including Covid-19.
Pays up to $45,000 medical expenses per worker.
|From $5/month, per worker|