If you’re not a resident of Singapore but are planning to visit for business purposes, you may need a business visa.
Whether or not you’ll have to get a business visa for Singapore depends on the length of your visit, where you hold citizenship, and where you’re travelling from.
The requirements for applying may also be different depending on your home country. For example, someone wanting a Singapore business visa from India may need to take a different route and provide different documents compared to a business traveller from an EU country.
It sounds complicated, but don’t worry. In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on the different business visa types for Singapore, including how to apply.
We’ll also look at a convenient, cost-effective way to manage your expenses during your Singapore business trip, using Wise.
But first, let’s look at the different visa types available for Singapore.
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There are a number of different routes into Singapore for business visitors. Let’s run through the main features of each, so you can choose the right option for you.
This is the standard visa used for both social and business visits to Singapore. When you apply, you can select whether you’d like a business visa for Singapore for multiple entry, or just one single visit.
With an entry visa, you’ll be able to stay for up to 30 days or up to 90 days at a time depending on your home country.
It’s important to note though that an entry visa doesn’t absolutely guarantee you entry into Singapore. Ultimately, the decision is up to customs officials on arrival.
Planning to start a new business in Singapore? You could be eligible for the EntrePass scheme. This is for foreign entrepreneurs keen to set up shop in Singapore. With an EntrePass, there’s no need to apply for a Singapore business visa.
EntrePass is open to all nationalities, and you can apply if you intend to start a private limited company or your registered business is less than 6 months old².
If eligible, your new pass will last for 1 year, and you can even apply for passes to bring your family over to Singapore.
Business travellers from certain countries who have an APEC Business Travel Card can visit Singapore for up to 60 days visa-free. These countries include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Mexico, Vietnam, Thailand and a number of others. More information on the APEC Business Traveller Card is available here.
There are a couple of conditions to know about. Firstly, your APEC card must have the ‘SGP’ (indicating Singapore) code on the reverse, and the purpose of your visit must be for business only.
Have an APEC Business Traveller Card already? If so, you can apply for the Frequent Traveller Programme (FTP) which makes entry into Singapore for business trips easier and more convenient.
To join the FTP and avoid the need to apply for a Singapore visa for every business trip, you’ll need to meet the eligibility criteria. This includes having a passport from an eligible country and/or having an APEC card.
While residents of a large number of countries require a visa to enter Singapore, not all do. If you are a citizen of the following countries, you can stay in Singapore for up to 90 days visa-free³:
- EU countries
- New Zealand
- South Korea
If you’re coming from any other country, it’s likely that you’ll need some kind of business visa for an extended stay in Singapore. There are some countries from which citizens can stay in Singapore for up to 30 days visa-free, more details are available here.
If you’ve an idea of which business visit visa for Singapore to choose, now it’s time to think about applying. Here are some of the essentials you need to know:
You’ll always need to provide some documentation when applying for a Singapore business visa.
But exactly what you need depends on your country of origin. So, you may need just the basics (i.e. valid ID, colour photograph) to apply for a China business visa to Singapore, whereas a business traveller from Pakistan or Saudi Arabia may need a whole raft of additional supporting documents.
Generally speaking though, here’s what you’ll need to have ready for a standard entry visa⁵:
- A completed visa application form
- A photocopy of the biodata page from your current passport, valid for at least six months from your date of entry into Singapore
- A recent colour, passport-size colour photograph of yourself (taken within the last 3 months).
There are two ways to apply for an entry visa to Singapore. The first is online using the e-Service facility, while the other is to submit your application to a Singapore Overseas Mission - if there is one in your country. ⁵
Visa applications for Singapore are all assessed on a case-by-case basis, but your application could be processed in as little as one working day⁵.
Although the cost can vary depending which country you apply from, the fee for a Singapore entry visa is usually around S$30 ⁵.
However long you plan to spend in Singapore, make sure you have a smart way to cover your business and personal expenses during your trip.
Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can get an international debit Mastercard as part of the package. You can spend like a local with just a tap of your contactless card, with no hidden fees and the currency automatically converted if you don’t already have Singapore dollars in your Wise account.
The world of visa applications can seem complicated, especially if this will be your first business trip to Singapore.
But hopefully after reading this guide, you’ll have a good idea of the right Singapore business visa type for you - and how to apply for it.
Sources used for this article:
- Singapore Ministry of ManPower - Key facts for EntrePass
- Singapore Ministry of ManPower - Eligibility for EntrePass
- Wikipedia - Visa policy of Singapore
- Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority - Frequent Traveller Programme
- Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority - Visa Detail Page
Sources checked on 10 February 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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