What are the Singapore PR Requirements?

As a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world, it is no surprise that Singapore attracts a large number of foreigners to its shores year after year. Whether they be students, working professionals, or family members who wish to stay in the country with their kin, this little red dot has become a tropical attraction to many from abroad. And for those who wish to be part of the Lion City for the long term, submitting an application for permanent residency is a common route taken.

If you are in a similar situation and considering applying to become a permanent resident (PR) in Singapore, you first and foremost have to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria required by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Singapore (ICA). The requirements needed to apply for permanent residency vary, depending on your circumstances.

Below, we will take a closer look at the minimum requirements needed in order for you to apply to become a Singapore PR for each category of individuals.

 

Category 1: Foreign Students Applying for Singapore PR

Singapore’s education system has long been the envy of other nations, even those far more developed than herself, and the country’s education rankings on the global stage prove why. For instance, 15-year-old students in Singapore placed first for Mathematics, Science and Reading among 72 countries in the 2015 results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). A study done every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the PISA ranking evaluates the competency of 15-year-old students in using their skills and knowledge to look for solutions to real-world problems.

Meanwhile, in the post-secondary education category, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) — the two top local universities in the country — shared the eleventh spot out of 1,000 universities around the world in the 2019 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. In the 2019 QS Asian University Ranking, NUS topped the list while NTU placed third among 350 universities in the region.

However, Singapore’s education system does come at a significant price, especially if you are not a resident of the country. While Singapore Citizens and PRs are able to enjoy educational subsidies provided by the government to lighten their financial load, this privilege is not extended to non-residents. This is one of the reasons why foreign students who wish to obtain their education in the Republic and plan to seek employment here in the future choose to apply for permanent residency.

1. Singapore PR Requirements for Foreign Students

There are two criteria foreign students studying here need to fulfil to be eligible for PR status in the country. Firstly, they must have stayed in the Republic for more than two years at the point of application. Secondly, they must have either passed at least one national exam (i.e. Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) or GCE ‘N’/’O’/’A’ levels) or are in the Integrated Programme (IP).

2. Documents Required for Foreign Students

Below are the documents needed for the PR application to be considered valid:

  • A passport-sized digital, colour photograph of the applicant has to be uploaded along with the supporting documents
  • Valid travel document with valid Immigration Pass and passport pages showing personal particulars and official descriptions
  • Identity card (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate or official household census list or family register showing both parents’ names
  • Deed poll or change of name certificate (if applicable)
  • Highest educational certificates, transcripts, professional license/membership certificates and vocational trade certificates
  • The applicant’s parents’ valid travel documents and passport pages showing personal particulars and official descriptions

 

Category 2: Family of a Singapore Citizen or Singapore PR

Despite the country’s relatively high cost of living, Singapore is one of the most popular places in the world people prefer to call home, especially for those who are looking for a suitable environment to raise a family in. In the latest data published in Save the Children’s 2019 Global Childhood Report, Singapore clinched the top spot among 176 countries as the best place in the world for children to grow up in for the second consecutive year. The report is based on the End of Childhood Index, which measures the probability of children in each country missing out on childhood by using “childhood enders” indicators, including:

  • Not being able to attend school
  • Severe malnutrition
  • Marriage and motherhood
  • Death

Even if you and your non-resident spouse are without children or do not plan to apply for Singapore permanent residency for them, this little red dot still has much to offer if your spouse were to apply to become a PR in the country. In Singapore, PRs are often entitled to many of the privileges afforded to Citizens, from healthcare subsidies to Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for those who are employed in the country.

As for foreign parents who have reached their silver years, some opt for permanent residency in the Republic due to the high standard of the country’s healthcare sector. Furthermore, aged individuals who have PR status in this little red dot are able to enjoy subsidies provided by the government, albeit less than what is afforded to the country’s Citizens. Meanwhile, others choose to go on the permanent residency route to maintain ties with their loved ones.

1. Singapore PR Requirements for Family Members of a Citizen or PR

If you are thinking of applying for permanent residency for your spouse, children, and/or parents, here are the minimum eligibility criteria they have to fulfil: only spouses and children of Singapore Citizens and PRs are eligible to submit an application for permanent residency in the country. For children, they have to be unmarried and below 21 years of age, as well as born within the context of a legal marriage or legally adopted. Aged parents, however, have to have a child who is a Citizen in Singapore to be eligible for permanent residency.

2. Documents Required for Family Members of a Citizen or PR

Below are the documents needed for your family members’ PR application to be considered valid. The applicant has to submit:

  • A passport-sized digital, colour photograph
  • Valid travel document with valid Immigration Pass and passport pages showing personal particulars and official descriptions
  • Identity card (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate or official household census list or family register showing both parents’ names
  • Deed poll or change of name certificate (if applicable)
  • Highest educational certificates (not required for parents)
  • Work pass (if any)

 

Category 3: Work Pass Holders Applying for PR

Unlike the first two categories we discussed above, Employment, Entrepreneur and S Pass holders can apply for PR in Singapore under a scheme known as the Professionals, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers (PTS) scheme. Foreign professionals who are not residents of Singapore are allowed to work here as long as they hold a valid work pass throughout their employment period. The PTS scheme is designed to ease the permanent residency route for these professionals.

Individuals who go through this route are also allowed to include their spouse and/or children (unmarried and below 21-year-olds who were born within the context of a legal marriage or have been legally adopted) in their application. If you are married and are including your spouse and/or children in your application, there are additional documents you will be required to submit. To apply for PR under the PTS scheme, you are required to be one of the following:

1. Employment Pass

The Employment Pass has to be applied by the individual’s employer or employment agent. If the application is approved, the Employment Pass is valid for up to two years and can be renewed up to six months before its expiry date. The duration of the renewed pass lasts for a maximum of three years and will not be affected by the length of validity of the individual’s passport. Individuals who are eligible for the Employment Pass are those who:

  • Have a job offer in Singapore
  • Are employed in a managerial, executive or specialised job
  • Earn a fixed monthly income of $3,600 and above (older candidates with more experience require a higher level of income to be eligible)
  • Have acceptable qualifications (i.e. a degree from an accredited institution), professional qualifications or specialised skills

2. S Pass

The S Pass has to be applied by the individual’s employer or employment agent (if the individual changes jobs, their new employer will be required to apply for a new one). If the application is approved, the S Pass is valid for up to two years and can be renewed up to six months before its expiry date. The duration of the renewed pass lasts for a maximum of three years. However, if the individual’s passport is valid for less than three years, the renewed duration will only last for up to one month before the passport’s expiry date. Meanwhile, individuals who are eligible for the S Pass are those who:

  • Work as mid-skilled foreign employees (e.g. technicians)
  • Earn a fixed monthly income of $2,300 and above (older candidates with more experience require a higher level of income to be eligible)
  • Have a degree or diploma from an accredited institution (individuals with technical certificates that require at least one year of full-time study, like qualified technicians or specialists, may be considered)
  • Have relevant work experience

Documents Required for Work Pass Holders Applying for PR

For your reference, this section covers the documents required for work pass holders who are eligible for PR. Do refer to ICA’s website for the exhaustive document list.

  • A passport-sized digital, colour photograph of the applicant has to be uploaded along with the supporting documents
  • Valid travel document with valid Immigration Pass and passport pages showing personal particulars and official descriptions
  • Identity card (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate or official household census list or family register showing both parents’ names
  • Deed poll or change of name certificate (if applicable)
  • Highest educational certificates, transcripts, professional license/membership certificates and vocational trade certificates
  • Testimonials from the previous employer(s) containing the nature and duration of employment and the last drawn basic income
  • Payslips for the last six months
  • Current employer’s letter containing the date of employment, applicant’s position, monthly income for the past six months

 

Category 4: Foreign Investors Applying for Singapore PR

Located strategically in the centre of vital trading routes from different parts of the world, the Lion City has built a reputation for itself on the international stage as a global trading hub. This has turned the Republic into an ideal location for foreign entrepreneurs and corporations to expand their existing company or start a new one. Furthermore, the Singapore government has established certain tax exemption schemes and incentives to encourage investors to contribute to the country’s economy, such as the Start-Up Tax Exemption Scheme, the Pioneer Certificate Incentive, and the Development and Expansion Incentive.

If you are a savvy entrepreneur wishing to relocate to Singapore to invest in an existing company or expand your own business, you may do so via the Global Investor Programme (GIP).

Eligibility for Global Investor Programme

Administered by Contact Singapore, a division of the Economic Development Board (EDB), the GIP was established to ease the permanent residency route for foreign investors who wish to stay in the country and establish their business here. To be eligible for this scheme, you will have to prove that you have:

  • A substantial business track record
  • A successful entrepreneurial background

Singapore PR Requirements for Foreign Investors

The PR requirements individuals who are applying via the GIP route have to fulfil include (do take note that this list is not exhaustive; for the complete list of requirements, do visit EDB’s website):

  • Have three years or more of entrepreneurial and business track record
  • Provide audited financial statements of the applicant’s company for the last three years
  • The applicant’s company’s turnover must be $50 million and above in the year prior to the application, and at least $50 million per year on average for three years prior to the application
  • Applicants with privately held companies must have at least 30 per cent shareholding in the company

 

The Takeaway

The various requirements needed when applying for permanent residency in Singapore can make the entire application process complex and time-consuming. Therefore, to ease this burden for you, what about consulting with an immigration specialist such as Paul Immigrations? As experts in the PR application process, they will be able to advise and guide you on how you can improve your application to increase your success rate.