So you’ve fallen quite in love with the city-state and want to make Singapore your home. What’s not to love? Our country is always ranked among the top few of most surveys from global safety, education, healthcare, and even transportation.
Truth be told, there are many avenues for one to legally make Singapore their home and one of them would be the taking up of temporary passes that would allow them to stay for a period of up to three years. But with the limitations of these passes, we know that not everyone is going to be content with these visas that are tied to your work. That leaves us with the next best alternative, to be a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR).
For those who are ready to commit, the Singapore Permanent Resident is truly an attractive proposition since it promises most of the benefits that come with being a Singapore citizen. But do you know how to begin?
Find out all you need to know on how to apply for Singapore PR right here.
Step 1: Check if You Are Eligible for Singapore PR
First things first, run a check to see if you are eligible for Singapore PR. You do not want to waste either time or money, only to discover your ineligibility months later with the arrival of a rejection letter. The Immigration and Customs Authority (ICA) has a list of eligibility requirements that you must meet. Ensure that you fall under at least one of the following categories prior to putting your plans into motion:
- Legally recognised spouse of a Singapore Citizen (SC) or PR
- Unwed child below the age of 21, born to, or adopted by, legally wedded SC or PR parents
- A Singapore Citizen’s aged parent(s)
- S Pass or Employment Pass holder
- International student enrolled in a local education institution
- Investor under the Global Investment Programme
Meeting at least one of the above criteria ascertains your eligibility for Singapore PR application, but it does not end there. Simply being eligible for Singapore PR does not always guarantee the status. Instead, the ICA reviews applications on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the would-be PR can contribute to Singapore and would not encounter issues fitting in. As such, they will take the following into account:
1. Duration of Residency
Duration of residency matters since it suggests the depth of their familiarity with the ins and outs of life in Singapore. This is not something that can be gleaned from watching a romantic comedy set in this country — one has to live it for oneself to get used to the way of life in Singapore.
2. Contributions to the Economy and Society
An applicant who can contribute to Singapore — be it economically or socially — stands at a clear advantage. This is likely why over 80% of international students who applied for PR in the past 10 years had succeeded since it was easier for them to prove that they can play a part in the city’s future. This is truer than ever now due to our rapidly ageing population. According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, there will only be 2.4 working adults per elderly person by 2030. This pales in contrast with the 70’s, when there were 13.5 working adults per elderly person. Students can help bolster the workforce while effortlessly fitting into the social fabric in Singapore.
3. Family Ties
Singapore has always placed a strong emphasis on family. Therefore, applying for PR as a family unit can put you at an advantage. However, given the number of PRs who have abused the system by partaking in sham marriages, the ICA has now tightened the approval process for spouses. To date, the average success rate for spouses applying for PR is as low as 49% and thus, families who wish to apply for PR must know how to strengthen their case.
Step 2: Compile Documents Required for Singapore PR
Once you are certain that you are eligible for PR, you may proceed to the next step: compile all documents required for Singapore PR. As straightforward as it sounds, this is where many applicants tend to stumble. The ICA has set out lists of required documents specific to each category, but it can be all too easy to miss something out by accident. Unfortunately, doing so would result in an incomplete submission, leading to non-acceptance.
On the flip side, do not include documents that have not been requested by ICA either. Doing so would only give additional paperwork for the ICA officers to sift through, which will not help your case. Therefore, it is important to stick to this list:
1. Passport-Sized Photograph
Prepare a matt or semi-matt passport-sized photograph of the applicant(s) in digital colour. This has to be taken within the last three months and the entire face must be in full view, without tilting to either side. Facial features must be visible, without objects or hair covering either the eyebrows or eyes. No headgear is to be worn either, unless it is for religious or racial reasons. The applicant should also be pictured with a neutral expression. Each photograph must be in JPEG image format, borderless, and taken against a white background. Its size must be of a width of 35mm and a height of 45mm (or 400 by 514 pixels). Within these constraints, the applicant’s crown to chin must occupy between 25mm to 35mm of the image’s height.
2. Translations of Important Documents
If any of your documents are in other languages apart from English, applicants are to furnish their application with translations of these documents. However, the ICA has stated that these translated versions must come from notable and recognised sources, including the embassy of the country where the document was issued. A second option is a notary public based either in Singapore or the country where the document was issued. Alternatively, you could produce your own translations and have them officially attested by any of the above sources.
3. Signed Declaration Forms
All applicants and sponsors must download declaration forms from the e-PR system to acknowledge, sign and upload along with the rest of their supporting documents. This form is legally binding, confirming that the information that you provide is accurate.
Step 2a: Compile Documents Required for Singapore PR (Family)
This section covers documents required for Singapore PR for spouses and unwed children, under the age of 21, of current Singapore Citizens or PR. These are grouped together since families are strongly advised to apply for PR as a single family unit.
The applicant(s) must provide valid travel documents, including a valid Immigration Pass and passport pages that display their complete personal particulars. Other important documents include (where applicable): identity cards; birth certificates/family register/official household census list; deed poll. If children from the current marriage are involved in this application, legal birth certificates or adoption papers must be included. For children from any previous marriages, their parent’s death or divorce certificates are to be included.
2. Educational and Employment Paperwork
The applicant(s) must submit their highest educational certificates, including all their tertiary qualifications. If either your spouse or child is employed, they must include their valid work passes. For employed spouses, in particular, they would also have to provide their payslips for the past six months and a letter from their employer. This letter must be dated within a month of the PR submission and addressed to the Controller of Immigration. It also has to state date of employment, the position held and a breakdown of their last 6 months’ salary. If your spouse is self-employed, they must include a Valid Business Registration Certificate and occupational license in place of an employer’s letter.
3. Sponsor’s List
If you are acting as a sponsor of the applicant(s), include your identity card and official marriage certificate into the application. Additionally, to complete your family profile, you must include the following: your highest educational certificates; payslips for the last six months; your employer’s letter that states date of employment, position held and a breakdown of salary each month for the previous six months. The sponsor must also include consent forms from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board to allow the ICA to verify the information. Self-employed sponsors are to include their Valid Business Registration Certificate and occupational license related to current employment.
Step 2b: Compile Documents Required for Singapore PR (Aged Parent)
This section covers documents required for Singapore PR for the aged parent(s) of a current SC. Note that parents of a Singapore PR are not eligible for this status.
The applicant(s) must provide valid travel documents, including valid Immigration Pass(es) and passport pages that display their complete personal particulars. Other important documents include (where applicable): identity card; birth certificate/family register/official household census list; deed poll. Where relevant, the applicant are to furnish the following information on their current (or late) spouse: identity card/travel documents or death certificate (or a picture of their tombstone) if their spouse is deceased and the official marriage certificate. Additionally, if the applicant had any previous marriages, they must produce either death or divorce certificates.
2. Employment Paperwork
If the applicant(s) is/are working, they must submit valid work passes, payslip and a letter from their employer. This letter must be written within a month of the PR submission and addressed to the Controller of Immigration. It has to state their date of employment as well as position held and a complete breakdown of their salary for the last 6 months. If the applicant is self-employed, they are to include a Valid Business Registration Certificate (with names of partner shown) instead. Unlike the previous categories, there is no need for the aged parent(s) to provide any educational transcripts.
3. Sponsor’s List
As the sponsor, you must provide the following documents (where applicable): your identity card; Singapore Citizenship certificate; legal birth certificate; deed poll. To complete your family profile, include the following: your highest educational certificates; your employer’s letter and payslips. Ensure that you include consent forms from IRAS and the CPF Board to allow the ICA to verify the information. If you are self-employed, include your Valid Business Registration Certificate and occupational license related to current employment. Sponsors with sibling(s) must also include these documents of their sibling(s): Birth Certificates and Citizenship Certificates; identity cards and travel documents; highest educational certificates.
Step 2c: Compile Documents Required for Singapore PR (Professionals)
This section covers documents required in the application of Singapore PR for professionals who are working here on an Employment or S Pass.
The applicant(s) must provide the following valid travel documents: Immigration Pass and passport pages that display their complete personal particulars. Other important documents include (where applicable): identity cards; birth certificates/family register/official household census list; deed poll.
2. Educational and Employment Paperwork
The applicant(s) must submit their highest educational certificates as well as documents that show their current employment status, including their employer’s letter and payslip for the previous six months. This letter must be written within a month of the PR submission and addressed to the Controller of Immigration. It has to state their date of employment, position held and a complete breakdown of their last 6 months’ salary. Applicants should also submit testimonials (if any) from previous employer(s) stating the nature and length of employment and the last drawn basic salary. The applicant must also include consent forms from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to allow the ICA to obtain and verify financial information. Self-employed professionals must include a Valid Business Registration Certificate and occupational license related to employment.
3. Family Documents (When Applying With Family)
Applicants under this category may opt to group their applications together with their family. If so, they are to include their current official marriage certificate as well as the death or divorce certificate of spouse(s) from any previous marriage(s). The list of documents required for their dependents (spouse and child(ren)) is similar to those in Step 2a, excluding their current employment paperwork. In other words, the spouse and children of a professional who is applying for PR need not provide their payslips or employer’s letter. Additionally, your spouse needs to provide death or divorce certificate from any previous marriage(s) as well as custody papers of their children (if applicable).
Step 2d: Compile Documents Required for Singapore PR (Student)
This section covers documents required for Singapore PR for international students enrolled in a local educational institution.
The applicant(s) must provide these travel documents: Immigration Pass and passport pages that display their complete personal particulars. Other documents include (where applicable): identity card; birth certificate/family register/official household census list; deed poll. Additionally, they are to include their parents’ valid travel documents alongside pages in their passports that show their personal particulars.
2. Educational Certificates
The applicant(s) must submit all their highest educational certificates and transcripts. This includes any professional licenses that have been awarded to them, as well as vocational and membership certificates.
Step 3: Submit Your Online PR Application on the ICA Website
When you are ready, log in to the e-PR application system. Singapore Citizens and PRs as well as Employment/S/Long-Term Visitor/Dependent Pass holders can access the system using their SingPass. You are required to register for a SingPass account beforehand if you do not have one yet. International students who wish to apply for PR may, instead, use their Foreign Identification Number (FIN), along with the issuance date of their valid immigration pass, to do so.
Once you are in the system, please note that you should not leave any field empty, even if it is not relevant to you. Instead, key in “NA” for fields that do not apply to you. Additionally, you need to submit all supporting documents within 168 hours (7 days) from the time the application was started or you would have to restart the application. Failure to fulfil either of the above may cause your application to be rejected.
Other matters related to this part of the process include the following:
1. Processing Fee
Each application requires a non-refundable processing fee of $100 per applicant. This can be made via the following channels: MasterCard or Visa credit/debit card; American Express credit card; internet banking direct debit.
2. Processing Time
The average processing time is generally about four to six months. However, this may take longer to process if the ICA officers require more time to verify any supporting documents.
3. e-Appointment for Successful Applicants
If the ICA deems you worthy of the PR status, you may book an appointment online to complete the formalities of a PR application.
While everything is made crystal clear by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the entire process from start to finish may cause you many head-scratching moments. If this article has only made you even more confused, never fear. As long as you are eligible, our experienced specialists at Paul Immigrations can guide you through the different steps for you to attain your ideal immigration status in Singapore. On top of that, we know how to make your application stand out, too. Contact us for a personalised, one-on-one consultation today!