What is UEN and How to Get It? 5 Key Insights for Foreign Businesses in Singapore

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In the bustling business nexus of Singapore, navigating the intricacies of establishment and operations demands more than just a good business plan. Central to this ecosystem is the Unique Entity Number (UEN) – a unique identifier that every business entity must arm themselves with. This alphanumeric code is more than just a sequence; it’s the DNA of business recognition in Singapore. Whether you’re a foreign company aiming to tap into Singapore’s dynamic market or an entrepreneur looking to make your mark, understanding the UEN in Singapore and its myriad utilities is paramount. This article delves deep into the world of UEN, exploring its relevance, the nuances of ACRA’s BizFile, and offering a guide for seamless application and verification.

UEN in Singapore

What is a UEN in Singapore?

The UEN, or Unique Entity Number, is a standard identification number assigned to business entities operating within Singapore. Introduced by the Singapore government, the UEN serves as a singular, consolidated identifier for businesses and other entities in various transactions with government agencies. 

Why Foreign Companies Need a UEN in Singapore

Singapore is hailed as one of the world’s most business-friendly destinations, a hub for commerce, technology, and innovation. The city-state’s strategic location, robust regulatory framework, and a pro-business environment make it an attractive proposition for foreign companies. However, to fully harness the potential of the Singaporean market and ensure effective operations, foreign entities must be well-acquainted with the prerequisites, one of which is the UEN or Unique Entity Number.

Streamlining Business Operations and Local Compliances:

  • Unified System: The UEN acts as a consolidated identity, eliminating the need for multiple registration numbers when dealing with different government agencies. This harmonized approach speeds up administrative processes and cuts down on unnecessary paperwork, making it easier for foreign companies to focus on core business activities.
  • Ease of Compliance: Singapore is known for its stringent regulatory framework, which might seem daunting to foreign entities. The UEN ensures that companies are on the right track, adhering to local regulations and statutory requirements. By having a UEN, foreign businesses can be assured they’re meeting the requisite compliances, minimizing potential legal pitfalls.

Enhancing Credibility and Trustworthiness Among Local Partners and Clients:

  • A Mark of Legitimacy: In the eyes of local partners, vendors, and clients, possessing a UEN signifies that the foreign company is not just a fleeting presence. It’s an indicator that the company is here to stay, has gone through the due diligence of registration, and is recognized by the Singaporean government.
  • Building Trust: For local entities and consumers unfamiliar with a foreign brand, the UEN provides a level of reassurance. It conveys the message that the company abides by local laws, thus making partnerships and transactions feel more secure.

Ensuring Seamless Transactions and Processes:

  • Financial Efficiency: Whether it’s opening a local bank account, processing payments, or handling taxes, having a UEN facilitates smoother financial transactions. Banks and financial institutions often require a UEN as a primary identifier for business accounts.
  • Contractual Agreements: When entering contracts or agreements with local businesses, the UEN serves as a reference point, ensuring that the foreign entity is legally recognized. This simplifies the process of drafting, reviewing, and enforcing contracts.
  • Digital Integration: With Singapore’s push towards digital transformation, many processes and services are now online. The UEN enables foreign companies to engage with e-services effortlessly, be it for licensing, permits, or other essential business operations.

In conclusion, the UEN isn’t just a number – it’s a gateway for foreign companies to navigate the vibrant yet regulated business landscape of Singapore efficiently. By obtaining a UEN, foreign entities not only align with the local business ecosystem but also position themselves for growth, collaboration, and success in the region.


How to Get a UEN Number: Step-by-Step Process

Singapore’s emphasis on structured business processes is evident in its systematic approach to UEN registration. For foreign companies eager to dive into the Singaporean market, understanding this procedure is crucial. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of how to obtain a UEN:

Documentation and Prerequisites

  1. Business Profile: Details about the company including name, business activities, and particulars of owners, directors, and shareholders. Related Article: Company Registration Requirements in Singapore
  2. Proof of Business Entity: Depending on your business structure (e.g., Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Partnership, Private Limited Company), you’ll need relevant documentation like Articles of Association or a Partnership Agreement.
  3. Foreign Company Details: If your company is already registered outside of Singapore, relevant details and proof of foreign registration are required.
  4. Identification Documents: Passports for foreign directors and shareholders, and NRIC for local residents.
  5. Registered Address Proof: Your business address in Singapore, which cannot be a P.O. Box.

Application Process and Timeline

  1. Choose the Right Entity: First, determine the appropriate business entity type for your operations in Singapore, such as Private Limited Company, Branch Office, or Representative Office.
  2. Register with ACRA: The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is the primary body responsible for business registration in Singapore. Use the BizFile+ portal to submit your application. 
  3. Application Review: ACRA will review your application and the provided documents. If everything is in order, the UEN will be issued instantly for most entity types. However, certain business activities may require additional regulatory approvals, which can extend the timeline.
  4. UEN Notification: Once approved, ACRA will notify the company via email, containing the UEN and other related details.

Key Considerations for Foreign Companies and Entities

  1. Local Director Requirement: For Private Limited Companies, at least one director must be a resident of Singapore. This can be a citizen, permanent resident, or someone holding an appropriate employment pass.
  2. Regulatory Approvals: Some business sectors (like finance, education, or media) may require additional licenses or approvals from respective regulatory bodies beyond ACRA.
  3. Annual Compliance: Once registered, companies must meet annual compliance requirements, including financial statement submissions and annual returns.
  4. Validity of UEN: The UEN does not expire as long as the entity remains registered in Singapore. However, should the business dissolve or deregister, the UEN will become invalid.
  5. Engage Professionals: Considering the nuances of business registration in a foreign country, it’s often beneficial for foreign companies to engage with corporate service providers or legal professionals in Singapore to guide them through the process.

In essence, while the process of obtaining a UEN in Singapore is systematic and transparent, foreign companies should be mindful of the details and requirements. By following the above steps and being aware of the key considerations, foreign entities can ensure a smooth and hassle-free UEN registration, setting the stage for successful business operations in Singapore.

Open an offshore company in Singapore

ACRA BizFile: Your Key to UEN Search

Singapore stands out in the global business arena, not just because of its strategic location or economic stability, but also due to its commitment to transparency, efficiency, and modernization. A cornerstone of this commitment is the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and its integrated online filing and information retrieval system, BizFile. For companies operating in Singapore, BizFile is indispensable, especially when it comes to UEN search.

  • What is ACRA BizFile: ACRA BizFile is an online portal managed by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore. It serves as the central repository for all business-related data and documents. Related Article: An Introduction to ACRA Bizfile in Singapore
  • Comprehensive Database: BizFile houses information on over 500,000 business entities, making it the most exhaustive and official source for business data in Singapore.
  • Digital Transformation: In line with Singapore’s push towards being a Smart Nation, ACRA has digitized its services through BizFile, providing convenience, speed, and reliability to users.

In summation, ACRA’s BizFile is not just a digital tool but a comprehensive ecosystem designed to support, assist, and empower businesses in Singapore. For foreign companies, it provides a window into the Singaporean business landscape, helping them navigate, understand, and thrive in a dynamic environment.

ACRA Singapore Website

Checking Business UEN: Why and How

Understanding and verifying the Unique Entity Number (UEN) of a business is a crucial step for anyone looking to engage with Singaporean entities. Whether you’re entering into a partnership, checking the credibility of a supplier, or merely verifying the authenticity of a business, the UEN serves as the key to many essential details.

Importance of UEN Verification

  • Authenticity and Credibility: Verifying the UEN ensures you’re dealing with a genuine business entity that is officially recognized by Singapore’s government.
  • Due Diligence: It’s part of basic business research and due diligence, ensuring that the entities you are dealing with are legally compliant and in good standing.
  • Avoiding Scams: In an age of increasing cyber threats and business scams, UEN verification acts as a primary measure to avoid fraudulent entities.
  • Clear Business Transactions: For financial matters, checking the UEN ensures that payments, contracts, and other transactions are directed to the correct entity.

How to use ACRA BizFile for UEN Search

  1. Access the Portal: Visit the official ACRA BizFile website.
  2. Navigate to the Search Option: On the homepage, locate the ‘Search’ function, which is primarily used for searching business entity information.
  3. Enter the Details: Input the business name or UEN of the entity you wish to search for. Ensure the information is accurate to retrieve the right results.
  4. Retrieve Results: Once you hit the search button, the system will provide you with the basic information about the entity, including its UEN, business status, and more.
  5. In-depth Information: For a more detailed report or specific documents related to the entity, there might be a nominal fee. However, basic UEN search is typically free.

Ensuring the Legitimacy of Local Business Partners and Suppliers

  • Regular Checks: It’s a good practice to periodically verify the UEN of your business partners and suppliers, ensuring they remain in good standing and are compliant with local regulations.
  • Contractual Agreements: Always include the UEN in any formal agreements or contracts. This not only clarifies the entity you’re dealing with but also serves as a reference for any future checks or disputes.
  • Seek References: While the UEN confirms the legal existence of a business, it’s also useful to seek reviews or references for the entity in question. This provides a broader picture of their reputation and credibility in the market.
  • Engage Local Expertise: Especially for foreign businesses unfamiliar with the Singaporean landscape, collaborating with local consultants or business services can be advantageous. They can assist in more in-depth due diligence and provide insights beyond mere UEN checks.

In conclusion, while the UEN is a straightforward and unique identifier, its importance in the business world is profound. It’s the gateway to understanding, verifying, and building trust in business relationships, ensuring that interactions and transactions are built on a foundation of authenticity and integrity.

Singapore citizenship

TopFDI: Your Premier Partner in Singapore Business Formation

Embarking on a business venture in Singapore requires not just an understanding of the UEN system, but a comprehensive grasp of local regulations, procedures, and requirements. This is where TopFDI comes into play. Recognized as a leading specialist in aiding foreign businesses in Singapore, TopFDI simplifies the journey from inception to operation.

Why Choose TopFDI?

  • Company Formation: Whether you’re a startup or an established brand, TopFDI streamlines your business establishment in Singapore, ensuring all regulatory and procedural benchmarks are met with precision.
  • UEN Application Assistance: TopFDI’s team of experts demystifies the UEN application process. They ensure that your application is accurate, comprehensive, and processed promptly, enabling a faster setup and launch.
  • Tax Filing Services: Navigating tax regulations in a foreign country can be daunting. With TopFDI’s in-depth knowledge of Singapore’s tax framework, foreign businesses can remain compliant while maximizing their tax efficiency.
  • Accounting Services: From day-to-day bookkeeping to comprehensive financial statements, TopFDI offers meticulous accounting services tailored to your business needs, ensuring transparency and compliance.
  • Company Secretary: A statutory requirement in Singapore, having a company secretary is crucial. TopFDI provides qualified secretarial professionals, ensuring that your business adheres to all legal obligations while also benefiting from expert advisory services.

In the vast business landscape of Singapore, it’s easy for foreign companies to feel overwhelmed. But with TopFDI by your side, each step, from UEN application to daily operations, becomes clearer, simpler, and more efficient. Trust TopFDI to be the bedrock of your Singaporean business journey.



The journey of establishing and running a business in Singapore, a global business hub, is paved with numerous procedures, regulations, and systems. At the heart of these is the Unique Entity Number (UEN) – an essential identifier that ensures businesses are recognized, legitimate, and compliant. From facilitating transparent transactions to acting as a beacon of credibility and trustworthiness, the UEN is indisputably crucial for any business entity aiming to thrive in the Singaporean landscape.

Moreover, platforms like ACRA’s BizFile+ are more than just digital tools – they’re gateways to streamlined business operations, offering a wealth of information at one’s fingertips. Foreign companies, in particular, can leverage this resource to enhance their understanding, verify details, and ensure they remain in-step with local requirements.

In the ever-evolving business world, adaptability and knowledge are keys to success. Embracing and utilizing resources like the UEN and ACRA BizFile not only reflects a company’s commitment to best practices but also its dedication to flourishing within Singapore’s vibrant economic environment. As we move forward, let’s take these lessons to heart, making informed decisions and embracing the myriad opportunities Singapore has to offer.