Approval, Licenses and Permits

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Business Licensing Requirement in Singapore

Some business activity in Singapore could be subjected to control and regulation by other Government authorities.
The ACRA controls the registration of business firms and incorporation of companies. However, the nature of the actual business activity could be subjected to control and regulation by other Government authorities. Even if your business firm has been registered you cannot begin to operate unless you have the necessary approval or license from the relevant Government authorities.
GNV CONSULTANCY can assist and advise on this matter for an additional fee should the need arise. Please email to us at
The following are the Singapore business activity which requires licenses are:


The referrals set out in this table are non-exhaustive and the public is informed that there may be other referrals required by statutory or government authorities that are not included in these tables.



Board of Architects (BCA)

For companies with names or activities concerning "Architectural" or "Architect".

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

Proposed companies and businesses which state "Real Estate Agent" or "Real Estate Agency" as one of the proposed activities, and applications for change of name by companies and businesses already carrying on real estate agency activities.

International Enterprise Singapore
(IE Singapore)

Names and activities to do with Physical Rubber, Rubber futures, Commodity futures e.g. "Rubber trading", "Rubber futures", "Commodity brokers", "Commodity Futures Exchange", "Commodity / Commodities Exchange", "Futures brokers", "Futures Exchange", "Commodity Futures", "Clearing Exchange/House/House Exchange".

Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS)

Companies with activities to do with the following SSIC codes:

  • Homes for the elderly
  • other social activities with accommodation e.g. Children's Homes

Non-Residentially Based Social Activities

  • Social services for children, youths, e.g. youth outreach services
  • Social services for families, e.g. family services centres
  • Social services for the elderly, e.g. befriender services, meal services, drop-in centres
  • Social services for the disabled, e.g. day care centres for the disabled, rehabilitation services

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
(Defence Technology and Resource Office)

For use of proposed names which include words such as "Military" or "Defence".

Ministry of Education (MOE)
(Private Schools Section)

Establishments that will function as a "school" / "learning centre" / "education centre" / "training centre", excluding those offering instruction of a "non-academic" nature, e.g. beauty care, dressmaking, cooking, sports, games, driving, recreation-related, etc.
Names containing references to "Academy", "College", "Institute","Institution", "University"; and "National", "Singapore", will normally be disallowed.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

Applications to be referred to MAS if the proposed BUSINESS/ COMPANY NAMES contain the following words:  
A) "Bank" and its derivatives; (Examples of derivatives of word "Bank" would include "banking", "banque", "banco", "Bancaire”, “Banca” and “Banche”)

B) "Finance Company" and "Finance";

C) "Futures Exchange", "Clearing House" and "Securities Exchange" or titles that resemble these titles or give the impression that the applicant is a securities or futures exchange or clearing house; (Examples of titles, which resemble "Futures Exchange", "Clearing House" and "Securities Exchange", would include "SGX", "stock exchange", and "clearing corporation" and "clearing organisation")

Applications to be referred to MAS if the business/ company is involved or engage in the following ACTIVITIES:
A) SSIC Codes: 6512, 6513, 6514, 6515, 65923, 65991 - Applications to register businesses/companies whose business activities come under the Banking Act (Cap 19), the Finance Companies Act (Cap 108), and the Monetary Authority of Singapore Act (Cap 186). This would include businesses/ companies, which conduct banking business, merchant banking, finance company business and credit and charge card operations.

MAS will consider the applications and will, if necessary, liaise directly with the applicants on any information MAS may need concerning the applicants and their proposed business.

Applications need not be referred to MAS. However, if applicant intends to engage in any activities that require licensing, registration, or approval by MAS, the requisite license, registration or approval shall be obtained from MAS. The approval of the registration of the business/ company by ACRA shall not be construed as a reflection on the business/ company's suitability to be licensed, registered or approval by MAS.

(A) If proposed BUSINESS/ COMPANY NAMES contain the words:
"Futures", "Futures Broker", "Futures Trading Adviser", "Futures Pool Operator", "Securities", "Stockbroker", "Fund manager", "Fund management", "Asset management", "Venture management", "Insurance" or names which resemble these titles; "Financial", "Financing", "Financial Adviser", "Insurance Broker", "Reinsurance Broker", "Assurance", "Reinsurance", "Reassurance", "Insure", "Insuring", "Insuritz".

(B) If proposed business/ company ACTIVITES fall under the  - Applications to register businesses/ companies whose operations come under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap 289) and the Financial Advisers Act (Cap 110).This would include businesses/ companies, which engage in the trading of securities or futures contracts, fund management activities, or the provision of financial advisory services.

- Applications to register businesses/ companies whose activities include money-changing and remittance businesses.

- Applications to register businesses / companies whose operations come under the Insurance Act (Chap 142). This would include businesses
/companies, which conduct insurance/reinsurance business; insurance broker (life & general); any insurance related businesses including insurance adjusters and surveyors act as insurance agents.

Majlis Ugama Islam of Singapore (MUIS)

Names and activities to do with "Islam", "Muslim" or its derivatives. Names containing the following words will be rejected:
"Halal", "Islam", "Islamic", "Muslim", "Muslimah", "Muslimin", "Allah", "Illahi", "Illahiyah".

Singapore Police Force
(Licensing Division)

Activities relating to arms, explosives, ammunition.  

Singapore Tourism Board (STB)

Names to do with "Merlion", "eMerlion" and activities to do with "Tourist", "Travel". Businesses and companies wishing to carry out tourism related activities could register for their license with the Singapore Travel Exchange of the STB via their website. 

The Law Society of Singapore

Names and activities to do with "Law", "Legal" or "Lawyer" will be referred to the Law Society. Where the activity involves the setting up of a Law Corporation under the Legal Profession Act, the applicant should obtain prior approval from the Law Society. Such company is required to have either the initials "LLC" or the words "Law Corporation" at the end of the applied name, instead of "Pte Ltd". Where the activity involves the setting up of a Joint Law Venture under the Legal Profession Act, approval from the Attorney-General’s Chambers is required.




Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS)

Companies with names and activities concerning "Accountancy", "Accounting", "Audit", "Tax", "GST", or derivatives thereof are to obtain approval from ICPAS.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(ASEAN National Secretariat)

Names containing "ASEAN" require written approval from the ASEAN National Secretariat.
The following conditions must be satisfied:
a. The proposed business / company has to be regional in character involving all the members of ASEAN;
b. It, in the use of ASEAN, should not bring disrepute to ASEAN;
c. It should be indigenous to ASEAN;
d. Its usage should not have any negative effects on the aims and objectives of ASEAN; and
e. It should have the sponsorship of any one of the ten ASEAN National Secretariats.
The ASEAN National Secretariat of MFA retains the final authority on the use of "ASEAN" for businesses and companies registered in Singapore.

Registry of Co-operative Societies

Names and activities concerning "Co-op" or "Co-operative". Applicant to obtain approval of Registrar of Co-operative Society.

Ministry of Health (MOH)

The terms "Clinic", "Medical", "Medical Hall", etc and not to be used by Chinese Physicians. But applicants may use "Chinese Medical Hall" or "Traditional Medical Hall". The name must make it clear that the applicant is dealing in traditional, not modern medicine. "National", "Singapore" is not to be used unless justified e.g. government-run or large organisations.

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