10 Things You Need to Know About a Unique Entity Number (UEN)

10 Things You Need to Know About a Unique Entity Number (UEN)

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A Unique Entity Number (UEN) is an identification number issued to all entities operating within Singapore. In this article, we will be tackling some frequently asked questions to guide you through the complexities of the UEN with these 10 essential things you need to know about them.

Can Anyone Get a UEN?

A UEN is not issued to individuals, like in the case of a NRIC number. Instead, it is issued to one of the following entities:

  • Businesses
  • Local companies
  • Societies
  • Representative offices
  • Healthcare institutions
  • Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)

Entities that have no or only one-off interactions with government agencies or sub-entities such as branches or divisions of an entity, may be encouraged by the government to have sub-entity codes added in their systems to identify branches and divisions.

What Is the Purpose of a UEN?

It is an important number used to uniquely identify each registered entity, with its primary purpose to help government agencies in Singapore recognise different entities.

How Does Having a UEN Benefit Me?

Having a UEN allows registered entities to conveniently interact with different government agencies using a single identification number, be it for filing corporate tax returns or applying for import and export permits. Before the introduction of UENs, companies had to keep track of dozens of different identification numbers — one for each agency they have interacted with.

How Do I Apply for a UEN?

Upon registering with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), a UEN should be automatically provided as part of the standard incorporation or registration process. For other types of entities, a UEN can be issued by a number of other government agencies as listed below:

  • The Ministry of Law
  • The International Enterprise Singapore
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • The Ministry of Health
  • The Ministry of Defence
  • The Ministry of Education
  • The Registry of Societies
  • The Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth
  • The Singapore Land Authority
  • The Ministry of National Development
  • The Ministry of Communications and Information
  • The Ministry of Manpower
  • The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
  • The Monetary Authority
  • The Ministry of Finance
  • The People’s Association

What Is a UEN Suffix?

The UEN suffix is its last alphabet, and it is used as a check alphabet. For example, for a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) formed on 1 January 2009 with UEN ‘T09LL0001B’, the suffix is ‘B’.  

UENs are written in a standard formatting, the legend is as follows:

  • ‘n’ = A number
  • ‘P’= An alphabetical letter
  • ‘Q’ = An alpha-numeric digit
  • ‘PQ’ = Entity-type  
  • ‘Tyy’ / ‘Syy’ / ‘yyyy’= Year of issuance
  • ‘X’ = A check alphabet

What Is a PayNow UEN?

PayNow Corporate enables registered entities to pay and receive funds in Singapore Dollar instantaneously by linking their Singapore UEN to their respective Singapore bank accounts. This then allows retail customers of participating banks the ability to transfer funds to entities and vice versa.

How Do I Change My UEN?

Your UEN is a permanent and unique number that cannot be changed. This means that it will never be given to another entity (including subsidiaries) and remains the same regardless of whether the entity’s name changes.

Is My UEN the Same as My ACRA Number?

Yes, for businesses and local companies registered with ACRA that have been issued an ACRA Registration Number, this is also known as the entity’s UEN. Additionally, the entity’s GST registration number will also be the same. However, for all other cases such as foreign companies or partnerships, their GST registration numbers will be different.

How Do I Perform a UEN Search?

In order to search for yours, or another company’s UEN, you can look it up online using the Singapore government’s Online Search Directory. The search result will display the UEN, company name, status, issuance agency, entity type and partial address.

Where Should a UEN Be Displayed?

The Singapore law requires the UEN to be displayed on a number of documents, including:

  • Letterheads
  • Emails
  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Order forms
  • Brochures
  • Leaflets
  • Other types of printed marketing material
  • Websites and other online materials

Sprout with Us!

Getting a UEN is part of the journey of starting a business. If you do not have this number yet, we recommend that you contact ACRA immediately to get the registration process started.

Sprout Asia offers incorporation services to help you get your business up and running in a budget-friendly manner. Our experts will have you covered! Feel free to reach out and receive a complimentary consultation to discuss the specifics of your business. We will respond to your enquiry within 24 hours.