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Visas & Work Permits in Singapore
Visa Requirements for Singapore
Want to become one of the many expats relocating to Singapore? This Southeast Asian country’s comfortable lifestyle is particularly popular among expats worldwide. On InterNations GO! you’ll find health and travel advice, visa information, and more useful tips.
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Most travelers do not require a visa to enter Singapore. There are, however, two groups of countries (Assessment Level I and Assessment Level II) whose nationals must apply for a visa before traveling to Singapore.
This can be done online through a local contact via the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority or in person at the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission. Business visitors need to provide details of their Singapore business contacts, and tourist visitors should also have a local contact person with a Singapore identity card.
Am I from a Visa-Listed Country?
As mentioned above, Singapore has two categories for visa-listed countries: the Assessment Level I group, which includes countries such as China, India, South Korea, and Russia, and the Assessment Level II, which includes countries such as Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. To find out if your country requires a visa, you can check the website of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.
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Preparing for Your Stay: Visit Passes and Residency
Everyone entering Singapore, whether from a visa country or not, has to be granted a visit pass. You can apply for a visit pass online or via mail (depending on the purpose of your stay). While a visit pass is usually valid for a short term only, it is possible to apply for an extension.
Spouses or unmarried children of Singapore citizens can apply to become a permanent resident, as can holders of a P, Q, or S work pass (see below), as well as investors and entrepreneurs. Aged parents of Singapore Citizens and students are also eligible to apply for permanent residency. The completed application must be submitted in person at the Permanent Resident Services Center in Singapore. Permanent resident status gives foreigners access to Singapore’s social security system.
Employment Passes: Am I Eligible?
Singapore has several categories of work permits, called Employment Passes (EP), which are grouped according to salary rather than occupation. The Ministry of Manpower offers an online self-assessment tool to help applicants find out if they qualify for a certain type of work permit. Below you’ll find a basic overview of the different categories.
There are three types of Employment Pass for highly skilled professionals who already have a job offer in Singapore:
- P1 is for people with a fixed monthly salary exceeding 8,000 SGD and who possess recognized qualifications.
- P2 is for those who earn more than 4,500 SGD and possess recognized qualifications.
- Q1: The eligibility criteria for this pass can change depending on your age. For young graduates coming from good institutions, there is a fixed monthly salary of at least 3,600 SGD. Older applicants will need to have sufficient salaries in accordance to their work experience.
Singapore also has additional Employment Passes, such as the S pass, for mid-skilled technical workers. More information is provided in the section below.
Other Passes and Permits
S Passes apply to mid-level skilled workers, e.g. technicians, with a fixed monthly salary of at least 2,200 SGD. In order to qualify, applicants must pass a points-based assessment and provide evidence of medical insurance cover for their stay in Singapore.
Again, the prospective employer applies on behalf of the worker. S Pass holders earning less than 4,000 SGD each month are not allowed to bring dependents to Singapore. Work permits are for semi-skilled or unskilled workers with a lower income. Dependents of Employment Pass holders, on the other hand, can apply for a Dependent’s Pass (spouses and children under 21) or for a Long-Term Visit Pass (parents, disabled children over 21, etc.).
There are several short-term passes, e.g. the Work Permit for Performing Artists (up to six months), the Miscellaneous Work Pass (60 days), and a Work Holiday Program. The latter offers university students and recent graduates aged 18 to 25 from Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States the possibility to live and work in Singapore for up to six months.
Who Has to Do the Application Process?
The recruiter must apply on behalf of the prospective employee, which is why these passes are tied to one specific job. Existing EP holders can apply for a Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) if their employment period has ended and they would like to remain in Singapore in order to seek a new job.
The maximum period of stay for a PEP holder is six months. Entrepreneurs planning to start and operate a new business in Singapore should apply for the EntrePass.