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How To Apply and Become Permanent Resident in Singapore

Author Nataliya DzharianiNataliya Dzhariani

12 min read
Foreigner's guide

Permanent residency gets you as close to being a Singapore citizen as possible: you get all the same rights and benefits except being able to vote and hold public office. We look at the requirements, the documents you need to prepare, the timeline and chances for approval or rejection.

How To Apply and Become Permanent Resident in Singapore

Singapore is an attractive destination for talents across the world to work and live. Thousands of people apply every year to become permanent residents in Singapore, but not all undergo the same application process. You can apply for the Permanent Residence (PR) for the whole family, including yourself, your spouse, and unmarried children below 21.

Getting the Singapore PR status is your first step toward obtaining citizenship in Singapore. More than the PR status, there are many benefits of Singapore PR, including Central Provident Fund benefits, and a host of personal tax reliefs and subsidies.

Also, if you are looking to set up a company in Singapore, you need not apply for a PR. Please check the incorporation services we offer.

Singapore PR: Application Documents & Schemes

If you want to know how to get PR in Singapore, first consider your eligibility and what application documents you may need to prepare or present to be considered. Singapore permanent resident eligibility can apply to those holding a work pass (Employment Pass, EntrePass or S Pass, or Personalised Employment Pass) and actively employed for 6+ months in Singapore. PR application documents need to be submitted to qualify. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website unpack more about the permanent residency application process.

How To Get PR in Singapore: The ForArts Scheme

Permanent Residency Scheme for Foreign Artistic Talent: The ForArts scheme came into effect in 1991, and the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) & the National Arts Council (NAC) jointly administer it. It recognises the cultural contribution of exceptional international art talent who can apply to become permanent residents in Singapore.

Application documents needed to qualify for the ForArts scheme must meet these conditions:

  • Hold relevant training, education, and professional experience in their respective field of practice.
  • Made excellent achievements in the field of literary arts, visual arts, performing arts, design, or media
  • Have contributed significantly to the arts and cultural scene of Singapore.
  • Has a strong track record of engaging locally at the leadership level.
  • Have future plans to be involved in the arts and cultural sector of Singapore.
    When it comes to the ForArts scheme, you can apply via the National Arts Council here. However, the success rate in this scheme is not too high.

How to get PR in Singapore: The GIP Scheme

Singapore PR Scheme for Investors: Investors in Singapore can apply for the Global Investor Programme (GIP scheme) to obtain permanent residency status. To apply for PR for yourself and your immediate family through this scheme, you have two options, by setting up a business with a minimum capital of S$2.5 million or investing a similar amount in a stable business in Singapore:

  • Option A: Invest a minimum of S$2.5 million in a new startup business or expand an existing business.
  • Option B: Invest a minimum of S$2.5 million in a fund approved by GIP.

Along with the minimum investment amount, you need to submit PR application documents that prove specific criteria are met, such as a solid business track record, significant entrepreneurial background and an investment plan or business proposal.

How to get PR in Singapore: The PTS Scheme

Scheme for Working Individuals: Working foreigners can apply for the Professionals/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker scheme (PTS scheme)- one of the simplest ways to obtain PR in Singapore.

The main requirement under the PTS scheme is that you are employed in Singapore when applying. This means that you first have to move to Singapore after obtaining a work visa called Employment Pass (Entrepreneur Pass) or Personalised Employment Pass (S Pass).

National Service Liability

According to ICA, all Singapore male citizens, and PRs if otherwise exempted, have to register for National Service (NS) under the Enlistment Act.

After completing the full-time NS, they need to serve up to 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) annually during their ORNS training cycle until 50 years for officers, or 40 years for other ranks.

After becoming Singapore PR, the applicants get exemption from NS. According to the Enlistment Act, applicants' children (Male) who are approved PR status under the sponsorship, will be liable for NS.

Authorities in Singapore are strict about complying to National Service obligations. Losing the PR status without completing full-time NS will hurt any ongoing or future applications to study or work in Singapore for citizenship or PR status.

Male applicants who obtain Singapore PR, and the ones who were Singapore Citizens earlier or Singapore Permanent Residents, are liable to complete NS no matter which type of PR status they have obtained.

Become a Singapore PR: Work Pass Holders

Step 1: Considering Your Application Timing

How you apply for Singapore PR starts with your Employment Pass. You’ll have to be working in the country holding this pass and submit 6 months' payslips before you apply to be a permanent resident. Don’t forget to factor in the Singapore PR application processing time, the sooner you start the faster it goes.

Remember: One of the application sections is filed by your employer, so make an effort to remain on good terms with them.

Step 2: Think About the Possibilities of Being Approved

Your job as an applicant is to prove to the Singapore government that you will be an asset to the country. It means you will be a well-educated, financially stable, and law-abiding person who will contribute to the developmental cause of Singapore. According to the PTS Singapore scheme, officials look into the following aspects:

  • Duration in Singapore: You have to be employed and living in Singapore on your work pass for a minimum of six months before applying for PR. It is ideal to wait for a year because the duration of your stay in the country is one of the factors that the authorities consider before approving the application.
  • Earnings:. Submit your salary payslips for all the months you have worked in Singapore. Keep in mind that similar to the EP application, your salary will be an important factor. The salary has to be in the minimum range of S$6,000 to S$8,000, or up to S$12,000 if you are applying for the family members too.
  • Educational Background: Your educational background will also matter. If you studied in recognized and prestigious Universities, there will be more chances of approval.
  • Employment: You need to submit the Singapore PR cover letter and other credentials of your employer. Established and financially stable organisations are more likely to score well for approval.
  • Personal Character: You should have a clean personal track record, with no law infringements, community work, and proof of charitable contributions will have a positive impact.
  • Family Connections in Singapore: Include these if you have any as it will boost the application.

Step 3: Filing PR for Your Children

If you are a parent, you can apply for your children’s PR too. Keep in mind again that all healthy and able-bodied sons who receive the PR status are required to register for military service. So, make a decision before applying and consider your personal view on this subject.

Step 4: Necessary Documents & Filing Requirements

After completing all the other steps, you need to file for PR after completing the required form. You can download all the relevant forms online. You can also check the PR application form sample or the process of applying online here.

You will need the forms called Form 4A, along with Accompanying Notes listed under the PTS scheme.

Form 4A contains two parts. You need to file the first part with the PR Application Form and your employer needs to file the second part (Annex A).

You would also see relevant explanatory notes regarding Form 4A. We advise that you read it carefully. Subsequently, get the supporting documents and file the PR application form.

What Is a Global Investor Programme?

The Global Investor Programme (GIP) initiative approves PR status to global investors who want to invest in or set up new businesses in Singapore. The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) launched this programme.  

To apply for GIP, you should have a solid track record in business and an impressive entrepreneurial background. Once you fulfill those conditions, you can pick one of the two available GIP options:

  • Option A: You have to invest a minimum of S$2.5 million in a startup business or help expand an existing business in Singapore. If you pick this option you have to submit a five-year business plan for your organisation. On top of it, you have to achieve these milestones outlined in the business plan within five years of the initial capital investment.
  • Option B: You have to invest a minimum of S$2.5 million in a fund that puts money in Singapore-based businesses. This fund must have GIT approval.

Assessment Criteria

After an applicant chooses one of the two options in the previous section and applied for the GIP, authorities review the application to give their verdict. They consider  the following criteria:

  • The applicant has a minimum of 3 years of experience in entrepreneurship and also submit audited financial statements from the last 3 years.
  • The turnover of the applicant’s company is a minimum of S$50 million in the previous year and had a minimum annual turnover of S$50 million for the three years before the application.
  • The applicant has to submit the company’s financial statements which have the highest turnover. If the applicant owns multiple companies, he/she may submit the consolidated annual turnover. The merged companies must be engaged in one or more of the approved lines of businesses.
  • If the applicant has a privately held company, the person should be holding a minimum of 30 percent shares in the company.

For more detail, read Enquiry on Obtaining Permanent Residency under the GIP.

PTS vs GIP: What To choose?

PTS is perhaps the fastest method to obtain Singapore Permanent Residency. This is why more applicants choose this option. Usually, the processing of the PTS residency application can take from two weeks to two years. On the other hand, GIP applications generally take between 6 and 12 months.

You need to keep in mind that for the GIP you need to submit application forms, plans, and undergo interviews. Also, the GIP is mainly for wealthy people who are willing to make large investments in Singapore.

Singapore PR Application: Online Documents To Prepare

Before you begin your Singapore PR application online, make sure you know the documents you need to motivate for your eligibility:

  • Employment proof: Contracts, assessment reports, recommendation letters
  • PR application letter from employer: Employer contact details
  • Educational certificates: Degrees, diplomas, and certificates beginning from high school
  • Proof of financial solvency: Documents to prove your financial solvency, including salary proof and other income sources
  • Resume: Write a resume that will correspond to you
  • Property ownership proof: Documents to prove your ownership of properties in Singapore
  • Documents for your spouse and children if they are applying with you

Originals and scanned copies should be kept handy. Remember that all documents in a foreign language require an official translation to be considered when you apply to be a permanent resident in Singapore. The safest bet is to use a translation service recommended by your embassy.

How To Submit Additional PR Application Documents

If you want your application to be a permanent resident in Singapore to stand the strongest chance for consideration, bolster it by submitting additional documents:

Proof of Professional Contribution

If you’ve earned any accolades or professional merits in your field of expertise, they’ll be beneficial to submit as additional documents in your application. Demonstrating professional contributions and achievements can increase your eligibility for PR.

Proof of Family Ties

Indicating you have existing family ties in Singapore will help in your application to become a permanent resident. You are not guaranteed PR status if you’re married to a Singaporean but since you have family ties there, the reviewing officer will have more reason to consider your application intent. That means a greater chance of it being approved. The same applies to other family members or relatives living in Singapore.

Proof of Professional Integration

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) requires all applicants to indicate whether they are members of Professional Memberships, Clubs, Associations, Religion Groups and/or Other Professional Organisations.

To add credibility and increase your chances of application approval, join a local professional organisation that demonstrates a level of professional integration - which you indicate in your application to the immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

What Is the Process for PR Application?

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) within the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) manages PR applications. According to the PTS scheme, you have to fill out mainly two online forms: one for yourself and another one for your employer.

Here you need to remember that, unlike your Employment Pass/working visa, your employer will not sponsor the Permanent Residency. ICA has outlined detailed explanations of how you should prepare the documents. So, make sure to go through them thoroughly before going ahead.

After completing the forms, attach the scanned documents and submit them to ICA for review. If ICA approves your application, you need to fix an appointment and submit the following documents:

  • Your proof of employment that is mentioned in the application form;
  • The medical reports of yourself and your family members;
  • your EP and DPs.
I had to wait 15 months for my PR application to be approved. The process was very simple and clear: we didn’t have to contact a consultant, we did it ourselves. We applied after 7 years of staying in the country. I think it helped that my husband and I work in different fields and that we had a child in Singapore. The authorities also appreciate it if you have made some economic and social contribution in Singapore: bought any kind of private property, have a helper, pay foreign workers levy, etc.
Sahana Jayaprakash got Permanent Residence in Singapore, with her husband

How Long Do PR Applications Take?

The official process of ICA takes 4-6 months to close the application. However, ICA has a cap of 30,000 applications for approval for Permanent Residency every year. It means, realistically you might have to be on the waiting list for 12 months just to learn about the rejection of your application. It would be best to give the allowance for 12 months to give yourself enough buffer time.

What if My PR Application Gets Rejected?

Apply again, there’s no cap as to how many times you can apply for the Permanent Residency. Many ideal candidates often get rejected every year. So, if you got rejected too on your first attempt, do not give up. We suggest that you wait for a minimum of six before re-applying. Instead, during that time, keep working on improving your case. For example, get a job with a higher salary, buy a property, go for higher studies, or get involved in community work to avoid your Singapore citizenship from being rejected.

SG Incorporation for foreigners

Can Family Members With Dependent's Passes Become PRs?

What are your other options?

Employment Pass (EP) is the most common relocation option for foreigners who want to open their business and move to Singapore. You can also get a dependent’s pass for your family to bring them to Singapore.

The answer is, yes. According to the rules laid out by the PTS scheme, your spouse, as well as unmarried children below 21 years, can apply with you.

Keep in mind that if you have a son, he has to register for national military service, including two years in the army and 40 days for the annual training exercise. You or your spouse need not enlist for this service.

How Much Does It Cost?

You need to pay S$100 as a non-refundable fee for each applicant. If ICA grants your application, you will have to pay a fee of S$120 per applicant that covers an Entry Permit, a five-year Re-Entry Permit, and issuance of the Identity Card.

How Do I Renew My PR Status?

Obtaining the Permanent Residency status is for a lifetime. However, the re-entry pass (REP) that works as a travel document will be valid for 5 years, and you need to renew it periodically. You have to apply for a minimum of three months before expiring your REP by paying a fee of S$10. Without fulfilling these conditions, your request for Singapore PR renewal will be rejected. It is easier to apply online through the e-service section of ICA.

Note

If you mostly live outside of Singapore, you might receive a re-entry pass only for one year that you can later upgrade to five years.

Other Tips To Be Approved as an SG Permanent Resident

  • Living in Singapore for a longer duration will increase your chances of getting approval.
  • Keep in mind that they also have options, such as Singapore Employment Pass, the Entrepreneur Pass, or the Personalised Employment Pass.

Lastly, if you are running a business in Singapore, and want to live there permanently, you can apply for Singapore citizenship. Osome helps business owners secure a work visa that allows you to live and work as well as bring your family under Dependant’s Passes.

Becoming a Citizen of Singapore

Thinking about becoming a Singapore citizen?

The benefits of becoming a Singapore resident include more subsidies for starting a family, incurring negligible costs for healthcare and education, and better terms on buying a property from a Singapore project.

This is a relatively easier way to obtain the PR status, though it takes longer and you will never know if your application is approved.

Application requirements for becoming a Singapore citizen:

  • Submit documents such as identity proof, birth certificate, passport, proof of education,  employment, salary, marriage certificate, and national service certificate for yourself and your family in case they apply.
  • Get through an interview in Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), a government body that reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Pay a state fee of $S100 for each applicant.

Timeline: You can apply for Singapore citizenship after living in the country for two years as a Permanent Resident. Usually, it takes 6 to 12 months for processing the application. You may even have to wait up to two years.

Family: Your spouse and unmarried children below 21 years are also eligible to apply with you.

Get more details on how to become a Singapore Citizen.

Can I Have Dual Citizenship in Singapore?

The Government of Singapore does not allow dual citizenship and will ask those with foreign citizenship to renounce it before taking up the Singapore citizenship status.

Is It Possible to Renounce Your Singapore Citizenship?

You can renounce the citizenship of Singapore by only becoming a legal citizen of another country. If you wish to get all the necessary documents for Renouncing Singapore Citizenship, send an email with your full name and contact information to the Singapore Consulate. The renunciation process takes 2 to 3 months, and you need to pay S$35 as the fee.

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