A Certificate of Incorporation is a legal document issued by the registrar of companies (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore) upon registration of a company. The certificate asserts that the company has been formed/ incorporated on the stated date and fulfills all the regulatory requirements for company formation and vouches for its distinct legal identity which is separate from that of its owners.
What Information is Contained in the Certificate?
The Certificate of Incorporation contains the following information:
- Name of the company
- Registration number/ Unique Entity Number (UEN)
- Date of incorporation
- Nature of the entity – private limited or public limited etc.
- The former names of the company (if applicable and up to five recent former names, does not reflect name changes effected before January 2003).
Why is the Certificate of Incorporation Important?
The Certificate of Incorporation is typically required when the company is applying for opening bank accounts, loans or grants. Likewise, when a company is entering into any trading agreements, business contracts, or involved in a transaction with overseas government or agencies of the government, the transacting parties may require the certificate as proof of existence and nature of the entity.
However, as most public registers are now electronic and made available online, the transacting parties performing due diligence are increasingly checking the status of the entities online in the registrar’s public register of companies.
Who Issues the Certificate of Incorporation in Singapore?
In Singapore, ACRA is the Registrar of Companies, and it issues an e-notification of incorporation upon successfully completing the incorporation procedure. The e-notification will be emailed out to the officers of the company and the person in charge of the incorporation filings, and it does not bear any signature.
At times, companies may require signed copies of Certificate of Incorporation to be submitted to other parties in the course of their business. In such cases, an electronic Certificate of Incorporation can be purchased for a fee of S$50 via BizFile at any time and any number of times, after the incorporation, from ACRA, and such certificates are duly electronically signed by ACRA. It must be noted that only position holders ( business owners, company officers/authorised representatives, partners in the case of LLPs and LPs) and authorised Corporate Service Providers (CSP) of the entity can log into the BizFile to make such purchase.
What is the Procedure for Obtaining the Certificate of Incorporation in Singapore?
- Visit ACRA BizFile+ portal at www.bizfile.gov.sg
- Login with SingPass or CorpPass
- Select “Buy information” tab followed by “Other Information” and “Certificates”
- Type business registration number in “Entity Search” box
- Fill in Captcha
- Click on the buy information link
- Choose “Certificate Confirming Incorporation of Company”.
Upon successful payment of the fee, the electronic version of the certificate can be downloaded from the link provided in the email available under “Messages” in the ACRA BizFile+ portal. Alternatively, an email with the link for downloading of the certificate will be sent to you within 30 minutes upon successful payment.
If a hard copy of the certificate is needed, the same can be obtained via BizFile under a similar process, and the hardcopy certificate will be available for collection at the ACRA reception on the next working day and 24 hours after successful payment. Alternatively, you may also request ACRA to post the certificate to a specified address.
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