Moving to Singapore?
Visa Requirements for Singapore
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.
Assessment Level I and II
Visa countries in the Assessment Level I group include:
- the People’s Republic of China
- members of the Commonwealth of Independent States
- holders of a Hong Kong Document of Identity
- holders of a Macao Special Administrative Region Travel Permit
Assessment Level II includes:
- Saudi Arabia
- holders of a Palestinian Authority Passport
- holders of Temporary Passport issued by the UAE
- holder of Refugee Travel Documents issued by a Middle Eastern country
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 Singapore 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 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.
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 for people with a fixed monthly salary exceeding 8,000 SGD, P2 for those who earn more than 4,500 SGD and possess recognized qualifications, and Q1 for everyone with a fixed monthly salary of at least 3,300 SGD and recognized qualifications or relevant work experience.
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 6 months. Entrepreneurs planning to start and operate a new business in Singapore should apply for the EntrePass.
Until December 2011, people who wanted to work in Singapore but did not have a job offer yet, could apply for the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate which enabled expats to stay in Singapore for 1 year. Unfortunately, the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate is not available anymore. If you have received an EPEC before December, 2011, you will be happy to learn that it is still valid. You are eligible to apply for a Long-Term Visit Pass until your EPEC expires.
Navigating the administrative hurdles connected to working and living abroad is hardly ever easy. For your convenience, we have gathered even more information on passes and permits in the Visa and Administration articles of our Extended Guide to Singapore. Here, you can also find information on permanent residency and customs regulations in Singapore.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.