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UEN stands for Unique Entity Number. It’ is a unique identification number for businesses and companies registered in Singapore. You can also use it for entities — different business structures, e.g. sole proprietorships, partnerships, etc.
Is UEN the same as company registration number? It is similar to the National Registration Identification card (NRIC) number but for businesses operating in Singapore.
If you wish to start a company or do business in Singapore, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about getting a UEN number.
What is UEN?
A UEN number is a ten or nine digit identification number issued by ACRA(Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) to all companies/businesses/entities that have operations in Singapore.
It is useful when you need to interact with different government agencies. It comes in handy when filing tax returns and applying for various permits.
How Do You Register for a UEN number?
Local companies and businesses in Singapore can get a UEN by applying through ACRA. Once you pass through the registration and standard incorporation procedure, it will be issued.
However, for other entities, you can get a UEN by applying through different government agencies such as:
- International Enterprise Singapore
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of defence
- Ministry of foreign affairs
- Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Communication and Information
- Ministry of Law
- Monetary Authority
- Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth
- People’s Association
- Registry of Societies
- Ministry of Manpower
- Singapore Land Authority
- Smart Nation and Digital Government Office
- Ministry of National Development.
However, keep in mind that some entities are not eligible for a UEN. For example, entities with no interactions with government agencies cannot be issued a Unique Entity Number. So if your entity is bound to have only one interaction with a government agency, you do not need a UEN.
Sub branches of entities also do not require a UEN to run.
Who Will Issue the UEN to Me and How Do I Get It?
For businesses, you can get your UEN once you register with ACRA. However, for entities, the agency that issues your UEN solely depends on the type of entity you are running(see above). If you want to get a UEN, here is what you need to do:
- Choose your business structure(entity) — decide whether you want to form a partnership or a company. Make sure you read and understand the legal requirements of your entity before registering your business.
- Register your business — once you have your business structure, head over to the BizFile+ website and register it. It is a relatively quick process, and you can complete it in a sitting unless your business is in specific regulated sectors such as Defense, Real Estate, and Architecture.
- Decide whether you want a special UEN(SUN) — at this stage, you have to pick between a regular UEN and a SUN (see below for more info). A SUN allows the business owners to choose from a list of reserved UENs to make it easier to recall and identify their own UEN when transacting with the government but will be costlier.
- Check your UEN after registering. Once you have registered and paid the relevant fee, you will be given a business profile that contains details of your business and your entity’s UEN. To check your UEN, you can search on BizFile+ or UEN.gov.sg.
Why is a UEN Significant?
Communication — The UEN makes it easier for you to communicate with different government agencies. It is one number that you can use for filing returns, applying for permits, making CPF contributions, updating licenses, etc.
Legitimacy — Having a UEN also makes your business look more legitimate to consumers/customers, partners and potential investors. They can easily search and verify your business profile through ACRA.
UEN number PayNow — If your business is primarily online, having a UEN makes it easy to incorporate PayNow Corporate by linking your bank account with your UEN. That way, you will be able to send and receive payments from customers and other entities.
What Else Should I Know About my UEN?
Displaying your UEN.
It is a requirement by law to display your entity’s UEN on certain documents. These include:
- Order Forms
- On your website and other online platforms
Before registering your business, you have the option to obtain a unique UEN SUN from a reserved list of UENs. Owning one of these may boost the reputation of your business, and you can easily remember them.
There are two types of SUNs:
Tier 1 SUNs are characterised by the number 8, or a string of one consecutive number. For example, 201800800K, 20188888A or T18LL7777F. They can cost up to $3000 before including the registration cost of the business.
Tier 2 SUNs, on the other hand, are characterised by repetitive numbers or end with three identical numbers. For example, T18LL1222N, 201812121R or 53410101G. They cost $1000 before including the registration cost of the business.
Changing your UEN
You cannot change your UEN once you’ve registered your business. The only option is to register a new business and get a new UEN.
Note: This also applies to SUNs. You cannot purchase a SUN after registering your business. You can only pay for it at the business registration stage if you wish to get one.
UEN numbers make it easy to identify and interact with different entities and government agencies. Each company/entity has a unique UEN, so you can easily search and verify it online using the websites mentioned above. If you have any queries regarding UEN and how to get one, you can reach out to a corporate services Firm for assistance.
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