Choosing your preferred UEN Number

Like any other country, Singapore does have a regulatory body that oversees the registration and regulation of companies, corporate service providers and public accountants operating in the country.

Singapore refers to its such a body as the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

ACRA also facilitates the growth of companies in the country. In line with this mandate, ACRA has a registration process for companies where each company gets a unique number as its identity during the registration process. This process is purely online and done through their online portal, BizFile.

What is BizFile?

Singapore too has caught up with the wave of digitization of government processes and services. ACRA introduced BizFile to help ease the process of dealing with government agencies. It is an online portal, which has significantly impacted the whole process. Applicants do not have to endure the manual filing work and the long queues at the offices when doing their applications and submissions.

With just a click of the button from a computer, applications, payments and submissions will be done. This has helped companies save on time too.

UEN Identification

For businesses operating legally in Singapore, local companies included, a unique number is required to transact with government agencies. It is commonly referred to as the Unique Identity Number (UEN).

Before the introduction of UEN, businesses used different identification numbers when dealing with various government agencies. The most common numbers back then were:

  • ACRA Registration Number: this was issued to local companies, businesses, and limited liability partnerships.
  • Registry of Societies (ROS) number; issued to societies.
  • Central Registration (CR) number; issued by the Department of Statistics (DOS) for statistical or survey purposes.
  • CPF Employer Reference Number (ERN), which was issued to all employers by the CPFB (Central Provident Fund Board)

To make the process more efficient and friendly, MoF led a multi-agency study between 2005 and 2006. The study was aimed at figuring how a UEN could ease the whole process as well as its issuance process. Upon the successful consultation done between December 2005 and January 2006, UEN was implemented in January 2009.

The UEN number is mandatory and is generated freely to companies once they are incorporated and registered in accordance with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Once an entity has this number, it will be used as its identification number henceforth.

How to Search for UEN?

You can search for an entity’s UEN number through this site.

Search for an entity’s name:

(a) Starting With – ensure entered name matches the first characters of the entity’s name as registered in the UEN System;
(b) Exact Match – ensure that the entered name matches the entity’s name as registered in the UEN System;
(c) Containing – ensure that the entered name matches parts of the entity’s name as registered in the UEN System.

Can I choose a preferred UEN Number for my company?

However, businesses can also pick their preferred UEN- at a small fee, of course. As of 9th of February 2018, this process has been available to business owners legally operating businesses in Singapore.

During the incorporation and registration process or the conversion process -for businesses that are already registered but converting to a different type of business entity- a list of reserved UENs is provided, and business owners can pick their preferred number from the list.

This preferred UEN number is referred to as a Special UEN (SUN). They are also optional, unlike the regular free UEN which is mandatory. If you feel that your business can do without the SUN, then you can stick with the UEN.

Like its free and mandatory UEN counterpart, SUN is used to identify a business entity as well as enabling businesses to operate and transact with government agencies. What sets the SUN apart is the fact that as a business owner, you get to choose your preferred number.

This makes it easy for one to remember the number when transacting. It is much more easy to memorize and remember a chosen number than one given to you randomly.

How to apply for SUN?

Business owners operating sole proprietorships and partnerships can apply for a SUN when their company is being incorporated and registered or during the conversion of the business to a different type of business entity.

Since this is optional and comes with a charge, one can choose their preferred SUN in BizFile during the payment stage. During the process, click yes when the question “Do you wish to select a Special Unique Entity Number (SUN)” pops up. Upon clicking yes, you will be redirected to the SUN page. If, however, you feel the SUN is not necessary, click “NO” and the system will automatically generate the free UEN.

The BizFile page also has a link to any available SUNs at any particular moment. You can click here first to see the available SUNs and choose one suits you.

As a business owner, you have two tiers of SUNs to choose from:

  • Tier 1 – Pay a fee of $3,000 per SUN, and your company’s SUN will be a number that either has similar consecutive numbers or any combination of numbers with a number 8.
  • Tier 2 – Pay a fee of $,1000 per SUN, and your company’s SUN will have a repetitive pattern without the number 8. The SUN will have three identical numbers at the end such as 777,999,222 and so forth.

Many people like customizing any numbers that link to their properties or life- from telephone numbers to number plates and so on. SUN’s is no exemption. Many business owners are grabbing the chance to customize their business identities. For example, by 19th February 2018, business entities and sole proprietors had to choose their SUN from a list of 717 available SUNs. Private companies had 700 SUNs, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) had 227 SUNs while Limited Partnerships had 227 SUNs.

The below table is an example of how the SUNs look, for both tiers.

Category Criteria Company Business Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Limited Partnership (LP) Public Accounting Firm (PAF)
Tier 1 Consecutive similar number 201899999A 53488888V T18LL6666F T18LP1111J T18PF2222P
Any combination of numbers with ‘8’ 201800800M 53480008K T18LL8000N T18LP0008I T18PF8800Y
Tier 2 Repetitive Pattern (excluding ‘8’) 201812121N 53410101H T18LL7070G T18LP3535K T18PF1010O
Ending with an identical triple number 201801666B 53415777S T18LL1333T T18LP5444B T18PF1999H

 

NB: The underlined numbers and letters represent the UEN prefix and suffix, which are generated by the system and cannot be changed.

The below table shows the applicable BizFile transactions for the SUN; (Table courtesy of ACRA).

Incorporation of Entity Incorporation of Entity Conversion of Entity Type
Incorporation of a Local Company
  • Application to Register Person(s) and Business Name
  • Application to Register a New (LP) Limited Partnership
  • Application to Register a New (LLP) Limited Liability Partnership
  • Application for Approval of (PAF) Public Accounting Firm
  • Conversion from (PAC) Public Accounting Corporation to Accounting LLP
  • Conversion from (PAF) Public Accounting Firm to Accounting LLP
  • Conversion of Business to LLP
  • Conversion of Company to LLP

What you need to know about SUN

While the terms and conditions, on most occasions, are never read, it is crucial for a business owner to understand the nitty gritty of the SUN. For starters, since the number is generated automatically by the system, therefore, one cannot amend or customize it. Additionally, each business entity gets its own SUN number. What this means is that a business person with more than one business will have to get a SUN number for each entity.

Upon selecting a preferred SUN number, it will be reserved for thirty minutes while they process the payment of the fees. If the fee is not paid within this period, the reservation will be withdrawn and the number made available to other applicants. This will also apply in case the number is not issued within the thirty minutes- for any reason whatsoever, including the failure of the systems. If the number is still available when one is ready to pay or no other obstacles are on the way, you can always pick it.

The number is issued upon successful payment of the SUN fee, which is nonrefundable. Once the number is allocated to a business entity, it cannot be transferred to another business entity by an individual. Neither can it be exchanged with any other SUN, whether it has been issued or not.

Last but not least, the ACRA has the right to withdraw a SUN that is reserved or issued in case the same number has been issued to a different entity for whatever reason. In case such an event occurs, the business owner of the first entity can select a new number.

These terms and conditions might vary or be changed in the future. It is highly advisable for an applicant to go through the terms and conditions bit before registering or converting their businesses to get the SUN.

How Timcole can Help You

Looking to start a business in Singapore? Timcole can assist you in all business aspects!

Timcole is one of the leading company incorporation and accounting firm based in Singapore. Our wide range of professional services serve as a one-stop solution for your business, offering you the most affordable price for services conducted with the highest level of excellency.

Contact us to find out more on how we can help you with your company today.