Immigration Fast Facts – Singapore

At Emigra Worldwide, we know that even experienced expats can be caught off-guard when immigrating to a new country. With that in mind, here are five aspects of immigration that can trip up – or thrill! – first-time travelers to Singapore.

Absence of Travel Restrictions

Unlike in many locations, travelers to Singapore may retain their passports throughout the application process. Applications are submitted online with no hard copies of documents required. Applicants may travel to Singapore while the application is pending, with no need to leave Singapore and re-enter after approval.

Restrictions for Same-Sex Partners

Same-sex partners are not permitted to apply as dependents of the main pass holder, but must qualify for a long-term pass (e.g. a work pass or student pass) in their own right. There are no known exceptions.

Permanent Residence – No Waiting Period Required

Foreigners who hold an Employment Pass or an S Pass are able to apply for Permanent Residence as soon as they have a valid pass. There is no minimum waiting period in order to apply for this status. However, Permanent Residence applications are more likely to be successful if the applicant has been in Singapore for a sustained period, demonstrating the foreigner’s intention to remain on a long-term basis. Permanent Residence applications are submitted online, with no in-person appointment required.

Additional Educational Documentation Requirements – India and China

An Employment Pass or S Pass applicant holding a higher-education qualification from India or China will be required to provide additional documents. For those obtained in India, the applicant should have the full set of mark sheets or a transcript confirming results of the degree. Applicants without the relevant supporting documentation may experience issues. For those obtained in China, a verification proof is required for qualifications from diploma level upwards. Employers should be aware that up to six weeks of additional lead time may be required to procure the verification.

Former Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident

Former citizens or permanent residents of Singapore applying for a long term pass (e.g. Employment Pass or S Pass) are likely to experience longer Ministry of Manpower processing times (up to two months rather than the standard one to three weeks) due to cross-departmental checks. Applications from former Permanent Residents may be rejected if the Ministry of Manpower believes the status was renounced to avoid having to serve National Service. Former Singaporeans now holding a different nationality may find it difficult to obtain approval for a long term pass application.