If you’re planning to offer massage services, foot-reflexology services, manicure treatments, spa baths, or other similar treatments in Singapore, you’ll need to obtain a Massage Establishment (ME) License. The ME License is required by the Massage Establishment Act, which regulates the massage industry in Singapore.
There are two categories of ME Licenses – Category I and Category II. Most spas opt for Category I licensing because it has more liberal business conditions.
To be eligible for a ME License (Category I or II), the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- Applicant must be at least 21 years old at the time of application.
- Applicants must be deemed fit-and-proper, which means they should have no criminal or vice-related records.
- If the applicant is a foreigner, they must hold a valid Singapore Employment Pass or Singapore work permit.
ME Category I
Category I licenses allow you to operate in neighborhoods and commercial centers and hire foreign workers. Establishments of this type can operate without strict hours of operation, and age restrictions, and are allowed to employ foreign professionals, technicians, and the like.
Category I Requirements include:
- Minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000 in rental, renovation, or asset costs.
- 80% or more of the technicians and therapists must be licensed according to the ME Act.
- One of the following – the location for the establishment is at least 100 SQM or the lease for the rented location is a minimum of 2 years.
- Accreditation from CaseTrust.
ME Category II
Category II licenses, on the other hand, require your massage business to be located away from residential areas and only allow you to employ local Singaporeans and Malaysians with valid passports as masseuses.
Category II Requirements include:
- Requirements for premises must be met (e.g. no locks on doors which lead to areas for administering services, all staff rooms must have “No Entry” signage, clear segregation of male and female areas)
- Company uniform which has to be worn, also needs to be approved by PLRD
- Employees providing massage services must go for a compulsory medical health screening before they can be registered with the PLRD.
- The shop should have a minimum 2-year lease or have a floor area of at least 100m2.
- Accreditation by CaseTrust
By meeting these criteria, the applicant can ensure that they are legally allowed to operate a massage business in Singapore.
In addition to the ME License, you’ll also need to obtain several other permits and licenses to operate a massage business in Singapore.
To make changes or additions to a conservation building, you need approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA).
If you want to display signs on your conservation building, you’ll also need prior approval from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
If you plan to do any fire safety work, you must obtain approval from the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
Before renting or converting the premises for your business, it’s a good idea to seek approval from the URA to avoid any issues down the road.
By obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, you can operate your massage business legally and in compliance with the regulations in Singapore.