ACRA name checking: A Crucial Step in Company Incorporation

ACRA name checking

It is important to understand why the Business name registration is so important before we go too technical. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore is responsible for supervising company registration in Singapore. ACRA entails that the name of your corporation should not be the same as any existing business and does not infringe on a trade mark or is neither obscene nor vulgar. It also shouldn’t mislead the public by non-commercial entities like government agencies.

A unique name is a regulatory requirement and an asset of calculated importance for the business. It establishes your company’s identity and helps protect it from competitors, enabling you to do business legally.

Requirements for setting up a Company Name in Singapore

You must apply to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore if you want to set up a company in Singapore. This agency shall act as a company registry IN Singapore, supervising the process.

In Singapore, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority is in charge of the registration of company names and has established guidelines for businesses to follow when choosing a name. Even if the company name you propose has not previously been entered in an ACRA register, it may still be rejected on grounds of additional criteria such as a lack of forbidden words or misleading flavourings.

There are some common requirements that have been known to exist:

Find a creative name

While incorporating your industry or niche in the name, use puns or wordplay. A play on words can make your corporation’s name notable. If you have a personal connection to the company or a unique story behind its creation, consider incorporating this into the name. A word from another language may help for a unique and exotic twist. But most significantly, a short and simple name is often the best choice, as it is easier for clientele to remember and share.

Not Ambiguous

The name of a company should not mislead as to the character and scope of your business. Let’s say that your company is called XYZ Legal Expert Consultant. The name indicates that your firm has a team of lawyers who advise and counsel their clients. If the company is providing a general consultancy, then naming it a legal expert will be misleading.  

ACRA name checking

Before a business can be registered, the company name has to be approved by ACRA. The approval process usually takes place on only one working day. Businesses can make sure that their choice of name will be suitable for the establishment of a robust brand identity and attracting new customers if they carry out thorough name checks, as well as take into account the legally and culturally significant implications of such an option.

Sanction of authorities for regulated names

The company must be given additional authorization by the competent authorities if it wishes to use regulated words or phrases in its name indicating a specific business activity, industry or profession under government regulation or supervision. For example, using the word bank will require the approval of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the school in a company name will require the approval of the Ministry of Education.

There are many other examples of restricted words like Finance, Media, Singapore and Law. Therefore, these words are used only with the permission of the Ministry of Law, Monetary Authority of Singapore.

How do you check the ACRA name availability in Singapore?

You should check that your name is available once you have reviewed the ACRA guidelines and decided on a new name for your Singapore business. Search the BizFile portal, type in the complete name you want to check and press the name search button.

Check for the following to maximize the results of your name search:

  • Company names that sound similar to each other
  • Variations of the proposed name, particularly useful for names with initials
  • Similar company names, but in a different sequence or name style
  • Words which have the same meaning
  • Similar names that relate to a similar trade or the same industry

A list of company names that may be similar to the name you are looking for will be provided in the search. If your anticipated company name is registered already, you should consider other names or add words to distinguish your proposed name from those already registered ones. However, remember that some words are not sufficiently different; ACRA shall disregard those words in assessing whether the name of another entity registered with ACRA is identical or not.

READ  Guide on Payment Options for E-Commerce in Singapore

What is the process for approval of the Company Name?

The approval application for the name shall be submitted online to the Singapore company registry ACRA. Your name application will be approved without delay, i.e. in less than an hour, provided that the name of your new Singapore company is consistent with ACRA guidelines. The referral authorities shall be authorized to accept certain name applications. The processing period may be between 14 and 60 days for this purpose.

You will be required to indicate your company’s primary and secondary activities during the name application process. You must also select the most appropriate Singapore Standard Industrial Classification SSIC code that is suitable for your business activity. The company name shall be granted for a period of up to 120 days following approval. The name reservation will be terminated if the company is not incorporated during this period.

The Singapore website: ACRA

The ACRA Singapore website is more than a platform to submit legal submissions; it’s an arsenal of tools for entrepreneurs. The site provides guidance on everything from the beginning of a business to how to understand complicated rules, thanks to user-centric interfaces and comprehensive information. Information on the types of business entities, guidelines for names and necessary compliance requirements are available to young entrepreneurs. In addition, ACRA Singapore’s website makes it easy for users to find what they are looking for quickly and saves valuable time in the process of setting up a new company by providing simple access links and clear navigation.


Global Crypto Compliance 2024

Global Crypto Compliance 2024 provides a comprehensive overview of cryptocurrency regulations across the globe.

Download PDF

What are the grounds on which ACRA can restrict your Singapore company registration?

Refusal of Business Name  

The company name approval complies with Section 17(1) of the Business Names Registration Act 2014. In section 17(1), the Registrar should refuse to register any person’s business if the name of the business is:

  • Undesirable
  • Similar to any other registered corporation name or name of any business or limited enterprise
  • Same to the name that is reserved
  • A name which the Minister has already directed the Registrar not to admit for registration, i.e. Temasek

A legal complaint may still be lodged against a company by another entity that has been the first user of that name in cases where ACRA accepts similar business names. This underlines the importance of selecting a unique and distinctive name to avoid conflicts. It is important to recognize the enduring benefits of choosing a unique name for your firm, even though it may be difficult to face rejection.

Absence of Singapore registered address.

In order to comply with the laws of Singapore and to be able to effectively incorporate your business, it is necessary to secure office space and register this as an official address for your company. This requirement is laid down in Article 142 of the Companies Act, Cap 50. The criteria to be met at the registration office address are as follows:

 Physical office address: The address should not be a PO box; instead, it should be a physical office address.

Open and Reachable: The office should be open, and the public should have access to it for somewhat 3 hours during regular corporate hours on every business day. It will ensure that all notices and communications will be effectively received.

ACRA will allow you to use your home address as a business address for small businesses and entrepreneurs who need more resources in order to rent physical office space or operate from their own offices. However, remember that this information will be made publicly available in records, and all of them can see the home address during a search. Under the Home Office Scheme with URA or HDB, your home address may be used as a registered office address.

READ  10 Reasons for Incorporation of a Singapore Company by Indian Start-ups

However, in order to register your home address as an official address for your business, specific requirements must be fulfilled. In order to maintain privacy while complying with the requirements laid down by law, companies may also choose a virtual office address.

The business licence should not be missing.

You need to provide at least one SSIC code of Singapore Standard Industrial Classification when reserving a company name with ACRA. The SSIC code will help determine the nature or sector in which your business operates. Before a business can start to operate, certain sectors need special licences. You must provide a valid licence and an application in order to avoid being rejected if your business is part of one of those approved sectors.

Inadequate amount of shareholders

In Singapore, the Companies Act requires that at least one shareholder be present when registering a private limited company. The maximum number of shareholders allowed in such a company shall be limited to 50. As long as the number of shareholders is within a specified range, there shall be no restrictions on who can own shares.

Individuals or companies may be shareholders of a company, whether they are local or foreign. If the company has a single shareholder, regardless of nationality or residence status, that person or corporation may own 100% of its shares. On the other hand, there are slightly different requirements for an exempt private limited company. It must have at least one shareholder and may have a maximum of 20 shareholders.

However, all shareholders must be individuals in such companies, and corporations are not allowed to have direct or indirect shareholdings. You must comply with the rules and regulations of ACRA concerning the numbers and types of shareholders permitted for each type of company in order to provide an orderly registration process without being rejected.

Absenteeism of Local director

While ACRA permits local and foreign shareholders, each incorporated firm in Singapore must have at least one locally based-director. A Singapore citizen, permanent resident or holder of an Employment Pass shall be the local director. They shall be at least 18 years of age, have full legal capacity, and not be precluded from holding office as a company director.

You will need to appoint a Local Director in the course of the application procedure. If you do not have one easily available, appoint a nominated director in order to comply with the requirements of law. All incorporated companies in Singapore shall have a company secretary within six months of their incorporation and the local director. The company secretary must also meet specific qualifications and requirements.


The understanding of the ACRA Singapore contract is not merely a formality; it is the foundation upon which your business will operate in the country’s legal and regulatory framework. A thorough understanding of Singapore’s booming business environment will ensure that your company is not only in compliance but also give you a detailed view of its responsibilities and rights. Similarly, the ACRA Singapore Business File is not merely a tool for digitization but also an ongoing evolution of your company’s Digital Identity.

Efficient use will ensure that your business is kept transparent, up to date and in compliance with all necessary guidelines, which serves as a statement of your company’s commitment to excellence and integrity.

For any company looking to enter Singapore, it is essential that a corporate name check be carried out there. Failure to carry out a name check may result in fines and even forced closures of undertakings. As seen in practical cases, trademark infringement and passing off will result in serious lawsuits. In the end, a name check may save your company from legal and financial problems.


  1. What is the validation check for a name?

    In order to guarantee consistency and coherence between various internal systems, Name Validation will standardize the names in a single format. Duplicate records can be identified by using the same name-matching technique to delete redundant data.

  2. What is a UEN number in Singapore?

    An identification number of 9 or 10 digits, issued to all entities operating in Singapore, is a UEN Unique Entity Number. A UEN shall be issued by a UEN issuing agency, which is a government body empowered by law to register specific types of entities.

  3.  How can you do Singapore Company Registration?

    The procedure for registering a company in Singapore includes submitting an application to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore, submitting the necessary documents and paying the registration fee.

  4. What is the company incorporation process?

    1.      Review the Singapore company registration requirements and comprehend them
    2.      Determine the company’s structure and gather supporting documents
    3.      Make sure the company name you want is available
    4.      Do the signature in your incorporation documents

  5. What are the rules for naming a company?

    The name of the business should imply no illegal activity. The language shall not be discriminatory, obscene or promote abuse. The name should not be deceivingly similar to that of any other registered business.

  6. What is validation in a company?

    Market validation is the process of determining if your products are relevant to a specific target market. Market validation is a process of interviewing your target market’s customers, and it usually occurs before you make substantial investments in the product or concept.

  7. What is the difference between a company name and a registered name?

    A firm can have a company name as well as a trade name; the earlier, the earlier the name will be legally registered. In contrast, the trade name of a company is what it chooses to be called by its audience. Walmart Inc., for instance, is the legal name of Wal-Mart; its trade name is Walmart.  

  8. Who can be a director of a Singapore company?

    A natural person with full legal capacity and at least 18 years of age shall be the director. Each company shall have at least one local resident director in Singapore who may be a citizen, permanent resident or holder of an Employment Pass.

  9. What is the role of a company secretary in Singapore?

    Compliance with applicable legislation, advice to directors and the submission of necessary documents shall be entrusted to the company secretary. They all should be appointed within six months of incorporation and shall be local residents with the necessary credentials and experience.

  10. Will there be any fee for checking the company's name availability?

    The search is free on Bizfile, but after that, reserving a seat comes with a small fee for the application. 

  11. Is it possible for ACRA to force me to change my company’s name?

    The Registrar may order you to change your business name even after the company has been incorporated if other companies or firms lodge a valid complaint against your firm's name within 12 months of its incorporation. You will have six weeks to change your business name from the date of receipt of a letter from the Registrar. There may be serious consequences if you do not obey the instructions of the Registrars in changing business names.

  12. Can anyone appeal if their proposed company name is rejected?

    You may appeal the proposed name by providing a valid reason. The application for appeal will take approximately three working days to process. If the appeal is rejected, the fee shall be charged at $15, and that fee shall not be refunded.

  13. How can I reserve a company name without registering for a company?

    If your application is approved, ACRA will allow you to reserve the name for 120 days without registering a company.

  14. Will it be possible for non-residents to register a company in Singapore?

    Yes, companies that are not residents of Singapore may be registered without the need for immigration. However, they are obliged to designate a local manager during the registration process. After that, the company can be operated out of its home country by a local director representing it in Singapore. They must migrate to Singapore if they wish to become a local director of their business in Singapore.

  15. What's the proof of a company's registration?

    What's the certificate of company registration? A certificate of incorporation is a formal document confirming the company's formation in accordance with the 2013 Companies Act, also referred to as the Company Registration Certificate. This proves that the company is formally registered with the Registrar of Companies.

READ  Guide on Payment Options for E-Commerce in Singapore

Trending Posted

Get Started Live Chat