How to get Singapore Work permits and Visas

Have you been in search of how to get Singapore work permits and visas?  If yes then this article is all you need to read through with a good comprehension in other to know all it requires for you to have a Singapore work permits.

Brief Description

Foreigners relocating to Singapore need an employment visa (or work permit) rather than a business visa to legally take up employment in the Lion City. Luckily, there are a wide range of work visas and permits to explore. These passes are typically only valid for two years and holding one does not make you a permanent resident.

Singapore Work Visa Requirements

In general, to be eligible for a Singapore work visa all employees must:

  • hold a valid passport;
  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • be qualified for the role (with supporting documents from accredited institutions);
  •  only work within the scope of their role.

All employees must ensure that they have a relevant work visa. If you are moving with a company, that company should be able to help with this. If they do not, then skilled expats will usually need one of the following visas:

• Employment Pass: For foreign professionals, managers, and executives who will earn at least 3,600 SGD (2,600 USD) per month and have relevant qualifications. Valid for up to two years.
• S Pass: For mid-level skilled staff who will earn least 2,400 SGD (1,700 USD) per month and meet the assessment criteria. Valid for up to two years.

Specific work permits are also available for employees in the entertainment, construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process, or services sectors.

Singapore Work Visa Cost

VisaCost SGDCost USD
Employment Pass230165
S Pass175125

Singapore Work Visa Application Form

Companies need to apply for employment passes on the employee’s behalf. You should be aware that your employer might engage an employment agent to help with the process.

Overseas employers need to ask a Singapore-based company to act as a local sponsor. The local sponsor will apply on the employee’s behalf.

The processes for getting an employment pass or S pass are similar.

Before an application is submitted for an employment or S pass, you will need to gather the following documents:

  • written consent for your company or agent to apply on your behalf;
  • copy of the personal information page of your passport (with an explanation letter and supporting documents e.g. from deed poll, if the name on your passport is different from other documents);
  • your educational certificates verified by a global verification agency (if they are from an institution that is not listed on the application form).

Your company will be expected to supply its latest business profile or instant information as registered with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Once the application has been submitted, the processing time is usually three weeks for online applications and eight weeks for manual applications.

After Your Application

Your employer should receive an In Principal Approval (IPA) letter. You will receive a copy of this, and the employer has six months to bring you to Singapore to issue an employment pass, or only sixty days if you are applying for an S pass. You must be in Singapore to be issued with your pass.

Once you have arrived in Singapore to get your pass, there are a few things you need to provide:

• details of your current immigration pass and disembarkation/embarkation card;
• a completed medical examination or health declaration form;
• a residential address in Singapore that meets housing requirements.

Notification Letters

Once your employer has completed the necessary issuance steps and your pass has been granted, you will receive a notification letter. This is valid for one month, although validity can be extended. Having this letter means you can start work, as well as travel in and out of Singapore while you wait for your pass card.

The notification letter also lets employees know if they have to register their photo and fingerprints within two weeks of the pass being issued. This will be at a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Services Center. If you need to register, you should bring the following documents to your appointment:

• original passport;
• appointment letter;
• notification letter;
• any documents listed in the IPA letter and notification letter.

If you do not need to register, the pass card should arrive within four days of submitting all the documents. If you do need to register, your card should arrive within four days of your registration.

Business Visa – EntrePass

If you are looking to start a new business in Singapore, you might qualify for an EntrePass. Created to attract innovation, workers with this pass do not need to find secure employment before applying, nor do they need to earn a minimum salary.

EntrePass Requirements

This pass has stringent criteria. Applicants must be either an entrepreneur, innovator, or investor. You can check your eligibility here, but we have also listed some criteria below.

• Entrepreneurs need to have raised over 100,000 SGD (72,000 USD) from a venture capitalist recognized by a Singapore Government Agency and/or have a proven track record of achievements and expertise in your business area.
• Innovators must hold registered intellectual property and/or be collaborating with a research institute in Singapore. You can also have extraordinary expertise relating to your business.
• Investors must have a proven investment track record.
• The business you want to register must have a minimum of 50,000 SGD (36,000 USD) in capital. Applications must be before, or within six months of registering your business with ACRA.

Ineligible Businesses

• coffee shops, hawker centers, or food courts;
• bars, night clubs, or karaoke lounges;
• foot reflexology, massage parlors, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, or herbal dispensing businesses;
• employment agencies;
• geomancy business.

EntrePass and Dependents

You may not bring dependents on this pass until your business spends at least 100,000 SGD (72,000 USD) a year and has a minimum of three employees.

EntrePass Application Form and Process

You can download the application form for an EntrePass submission through the Ministry of Manpower website.

You must apply personally for an EntrePass by downloading and completing the application form. It must be printed off and signed before you submit the scan online. You will need to pay a 105 SGD (75 USD) fee to apply.

Alongside the form, you will need to submit a screenshot of the banking page confirming your payment as well as any supporting documents listed in the application form.

It will take about eight weeks to process the application. Once approved, you will receive an In Principal Approval (IPA) letter, which will give you six months to arrive in Singapore to issue the pass. You must be in Singapore to be issued the pass. This can be done online or over-the-counter.

At this point, you will need to pay an additional 225 SGD (160 USD) fee to get the pass issued. You also need to provide:

• details of your current immigration pass and disembarkation/embarkation card;
• a completed medical examination form and details of medical insurance;
• a residential address in Singapore that meets housing requirements.

Notification Letter

Once the pass is approved you will receive a notification letter that is valid for one month. It means you can start work as well as travel in and out of Singapore.

This notification letter also lets you know if you have to register your photo and fingerprints at a MOM Services Center within two weeks of the pass being issued. You should bring the following documents to your appointment:

• original passport;
• appointment letter;
• notification letter;
• any documents listed in the IPA letter and notification letter.

If you do not need to register, the pass card should arrive within four days of submitting all the documents. If you do have to register, it should arrive by four days after the registration.

EntrePass Costs

VisaCost SGDCost USD
EntrePass330235

Singapore Permanent Resident Visa Requirements

There are certain criteria to meet before you can become a permanent resident. For instance, you must be one of the following:

  • holder of an employment pass or S pass for at least six months;
  • spouse or elderly parent of a Singapore citizen or permanent resident;
  • unmarried child below the age of 21 and born within a legal marriage between, or have been legally adopted by, a Singapore citizen or permanent resident;
  • foreign investor.

Keep in mind that getting permanent residency is  not quick. You should expect to wait at least six months to a year for everything to process.  We go through the steps on how to  upgrade your Singaporean work pass to permanent  residency below.

Singapore Permanent Resident Application

The application requires one passport sized (35mm x 45mm) digital color photograph. This must be:

  • taken within the last three months;
  • against a plain white, matt, or semi-matt background;
  • full face, without headgear (unless you habitually wear headgear for religious or racial customs, in which case it cannot hide your facial features);
  • measuring 25mm to 35mm chin to crown;
  • JPEG image format.

Congratulations!