Singapore has steadily become one of the most popular countries in the world for people to relocate to. Employees from all over the globe have moved here to seek their fortune over the years.
While this makes the city-state a welcoming melting pot of cultures and languages, it also means that the authorities have tightened up on immigration laws. It remains possible to gain a visa to live and work in Singapore – you will just need to ensure that you are eligible.
- 1 Introduction to the Singapore Immigration Visa
- 2 What Is Singapore’s Immigration Policy?
- 3 What Is the Singapore Immigration Process?
- 4 How Do I Determine My Eligibility for Immigration to Singapore?
- 5 What Are the Singapore Immigration Visa Requirements?
- 6 What Is on the Singapore Immigration Form?
- 7 How Do I Check My Singapore Immigration Status?
- 8 What Is the Singapore Immigration Authority?
- 9 Moving to Singapore FAQs
Introduction to the Singapore Immigration Visa
If you are planning to relocate to this country, you will first need to ensure that you will be welcomed here. Like all nations, this one places restrictions upon who they will provide with a visa.
You can apply for your visa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore or through the nearest embassy. There are smaller consular representations in some countries, although processing may take longer as they will be referred to Singapore anyway.
If you have completed all the corresponding paperwork correctly, and no further information is required for a decision, you should receive your answer within 5 – 10 working days.
What Is Singapore’s Immigration Policy?
The immigration policy is divided into 2 core categories. Anybody looking to enter as an unskilled or semi-skilled employee (typically working in construction, manufacturing, or domestic services) is classed as a foreign worker. Meanwhile, immigrants into the country that hold educational qualifications and seek white-collar work are known as foreign talent.
There is a core difference here to understand:
- Foreign workers need an S Pass to live and work in Singapore.
- Foreign talent workers need an Employment Pass to live and work in the country. Talent is considered in occupations such as banking, accountancy, law – anything that needs a professional qualification to attain.
It is easier to gain a visa as foreign talent than as a foreign worker. This is not because one set of jobs is considered more prestigious than the other.
Instead, the authorities are keen to ensure that local citizens are afforded a fair opportunity to find work. Attracting the finest foreign talent from overseas is considered part of this, as it is believed that a more robust Singaporean economy creates more job vacancies, which locals will ideally fill.
What Is the Singapore Immigration Process?
Applying for a visa to move to Singapore requires the following steps:
- Ensure that you meet the entry and visa requirements to gain access to the country.
- Appoint somebody that lives here to act on your behalf. This becomes important in Step 6.
- Determine whether you will need an S Pass or an Employment Pass.
- Wait until you are within 1 month of your proposed moving date.
- Complete all the necessary forms issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore. Ask the nearest Singaporean embassy for help with this if necessary.
- Submit your forms to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The person you appointed in Step 2 must do this, as the Ministry only accepts documents from locals.
How Do I Determine My Eligibility for Immigration to Singapore?
If you are wondering if you are able to migrate, consider the following:
- Do you have family members, ideally a spouse, already living in the country?
- Do you have a job offer with a reputable company prepared to sponsor your application?
- Do you hold academic qualifications from a reputable, internationally recognised university?
- Are you an entrepreneur with a promise of financial backing for a new business that will benefit the country?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions – ideally more than one – you will likely obtain a visa. If you answered ‘no’ to all of them, it is unlikely your application will be successful.
Discuss your options with the nearest Singaporean embassy to see if you should proceed with a visa application. The embassy is also useful for sorting out things such as accommodation, which varies considerably quality-wise and area wise.
What Are the Singapore Immigration Visa Requirements?
This depends on what visa you are applying for. The two most common are the S Pass and the Employment Pass. Both of these visas are linked to a job in Singapore.
You will need a written job offer from a reputable business. Naturally, these visas will become null and void if the company that sponsors them terminates your employment.
Alternatively, you may wish to apply for a visa as a dependent of a Singaporean citizen. The person sponsoring you must be your legal spouse (or a parent if you are younger than 21) and earning a salary per month equivalent to your market value or thereabouts. You will not be entitled to work in Singapore if you are in the country on a dependent visa, as that must be applied for separately.
What Is on the Singapore Immigration Form?
As you can no doubt imagine, the form for a visa application is quite detailed. You will need to provide the following data:
- Full name, address, marital status and biological sex.
- Nationality information for yourself and any spouse that may be travelling with you.
- Your date and place of birth.
- Information on any travel documents you currently hold.
- Information on where you will be living in the country.
- Employment information, both relating to your current occupation and any work you plan to do there.
- Educational history.
- The type of visa you are applying for, and why.
- Any travel history for the last 5 years.
- Any history of criminal records.
How Do I Check My Singapore Immigration Status?
Any checks to your immigration status, including an application for a visa or work permit, are made through the Immigration and Customs Agency website. From the homepage, head to ‘Frequently Accessed eServices’ and click ‘Visa’. Enter the page marked ‘Status Enquiry’ and enter your reference number.
Be aware that you may not be permitted to register with the website if your address is based outside the country itself. In this instance, you will need to have somebody register and check your application on your behalf. Ideally, this will be a sponsor, such as an employer that has offered you a job or a family member bringing you into the country.
What Is the Singapore Immigration Authority?
All matters of immigration are managed by the Immigration and Customs Agency, or ICA. This is a department of the Ministry of Home Affairs in Singapore.
Where Is the Singapore Immigration Office and Contact?
If you need to contact the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, the contact details are as follows:
10 Kallang Road
Tel: +65 6391 6100
Moving to Singapore FAQs
We hope by now we’ve answered your key questions about relocating to this outstanding Asian nation. To find out more, check out the answers to some frequently asked questions below.
What Is the Singapore Immigration Pass?
If you plan to enter the country, a visa is not all you need. If you arrive with a visa but without an immigration pass, you may be denied entry. Your immigration pass should be issued with your visa (for a fee) – ensure this is the case before you begin your journey.
What Are the Singapore Immigration Rules?
The fine print of the immigration rules varies depending on what visa you are seeking. Overall, though, they all boil down to the same bottom line: you need to be coming to benefit the country by providing a service to an employer, and will need to prove you are of good character and financially solvent.
What Is the Singapore Immigration Passport Validity?
These passports are valid for 5 years. You can renew a Singaporean passport when it has 9 months or less remaining. Any validity left on your old passport will be honoured on the replacement.
What Passport Photo Do I Need for Singapore Immigration?
Your passport photo needs to meet particular criteria to be accepted for a visa. It must be sized at 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm. From the top of your forehead to your chin, your entire head needs to the shot. Keep your face dead-centre, but only use up 2.5 cm x 3.5 cm with your face. Leave a plain background space behind you and ensure your shoulders are visible. You can also not wear sunglasses or any face covering unless it is for religious reasons.
How Do Points Work in Regard to Singapore Immigration?
The opportunity to work in this country is not based on a points system. However, if you want to earn permanent residence, the Immigration and Customs Agency (ICA) assesses your application based on points.
Points are assigned based on the following:
- The work pass you current hold (Employment Pass, S Pass, etc).
- Your salary (a higher wage means you will pay more tax, which will be welcomed!)
- Your age (the authorities prefer to issue permanent residency to people under 50, as this ties into the above).
- How long you have already been in the country (the longer the better).
- Educational background (qualifications from a reputable university will help your application).
- Marital status and any existing family ties in the country.
You will need to pay a non-refundable deposit fee for your application. If this is successful, you will also pay an extra but minimal amount for an entry permit and more for an ID card.
Where Can I Find a Singapore Immigration Points Calculator?
Officially, you will not know your immigration points score until you go through the appropriate processes with the ICA. There are, however, various unofficial websites and resources that may shed a little light on this.
Once again, be aware of rogue websites sending you down the wrong path. We merely inform you of their existence and leave it at your discretion whether you use these services.
Guide to the Singapore Immigration Work Visa
As touched upon previously, Singaporean working visas come in multiple forms:
- The Employment Pass is for professionals that earn a certain wage and hold higher education qualifications.
- The S Pass also carries a minimum earnings proviso and is for middle-level employees that earn ‘x-amount’ per month in an accepted industry.
- The EntrePass is for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the country. This will only be granted if you have financial backing from a Singaporean financier or can prove that your business will benefit the nation.
Other job-specific working passes, such as those assigned to migrant workers, nannies and professional performers, are also available.
Is There Anything I Should Know About Moving to Singapore from the UK?
You may need to prepare yourself for a sharp change in weather. It is much hotter than most of Britain throughout the year. Wearing light clothing is a must, but you will also need a lot more suntan lotion to protect yourself than you may be used to using at home. Thankfully, most indoor locations in the country have air conditioning.
Most visitors and long-stay workers find the humidity the most debilitating of all, which can reach as high as almost 90% at certain times. It will be the first thing you encounter when you step off the aeroplane!
Is There Anything I Should Know About Moving to Singapore from India?
If you are planning to move to the country from India, ensure you have a solid, reliable job offer. This is the only way your visa application will be accepted unless you have a family member willing to sponsor you. Try to secure a well-paying job too, as the area is expensive, especially compared to most major cities in India.
Ensure that you familiarise yourself with the laws of the land, too. There are stricter regulations than in India, and they are vigilantly enforced. Chewing gum, for example, is illegal in Singapore.
You may be surprised at how many seemingly innocuous things can land you in trouble. To remind you, signs are displayed everywhere in Singapore and printed all over t-shirts! Even marijuana is considered serious and will be dealt with accordingly.
Relocating to the country to live and work can be one of the finest decisions anybody makes. It is a beautiful area with excellent infrastructure, and the country is gaining influence and importance each year.
Just ensure that you have the right to live and work there before attempting to move. Once there, there are so many experiences and spectacular sightseeing to view and enjoy. You learn more on our Singapore eVisa and Visit Singapore pages.