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If you spend a lot of time in Singapore, you’ll usually have to apply for visas to enter the country if you’re not a citizen. But if you’re planning to stay in Singapore long-term, for work or personal reasons, you can also apply for Permanent Residency (PR). This gets rid of the need to apply for separate visas for work and travel, and it comes with other benefits too.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know on how to apply for PR in Singapore. This includes eligibility, documents, the application process and of course, the fees.
We’ll also take a quick look at a money-saving way to send money from Singapore to your home country, and all over the world. With a Wise multi-currency account, you can make international payments for tiny fees and the real, mid-market exchange rate. You can even get a contactless multi-currency card for convenient, low-fee spending in 200+ countries.
But more on that later. Let’s start with why you might want to apply for Singapore PR.
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One of the main benefits of Permanent Residency is that it eliminates the need to spend time and money on visa applications. You don’t have to keep renewing visas when they expire, or complete lots of time-consuming paperwork.
Other Singapore Permanent Resident benefits include¹:
- Bringing your spouse and children along with you to Singapore, under the same PR application
- If you have school-aged children with Permanent Resident status, they’ll be high on the priority list (second only to citizens) for places at the best schools
- As a PR, you’ll be able to change jobs whenever you like, without needing to reapply for a new Singapore work permit
- You can access the Singapore PR CPF (Central Provident Fund) - this is where you and your employer contribute a minimum monthly amount to your pension fund
- You have a better chance as a PR to access loans and finance, such as housing loans to buy yourself a home
- You will be eligible to apply for full Singapore citizenship and a Singapore passport after a certain number of years as a PR.
As well as benefits, it’s important to remember that becoming a Singapore PR also comes with certain obligations too.
For example, National Service², at least 40 days per year of which is required by every male Singapore PR (unless exempt). In the case of you renouncing Singapore PR for any reason, without having done your National Service, you could be barred from future applications to live and work in the country.
Not everyone is eligible to apply for Singapore Permanent Residency. As a foreigner, you’ll need to meet certain criteria and requirements, such as²:
- Being the spouse of a Singapore citizen or PR
- Being the elderly parent of a Singapore citizen
- Having a child under the age of 21 (and unmarried) born within a marriage to, or adopted by, a Singapore citizen or PR
- Studying in Singapore
- Having an S Pass or Employment Pass
- Being a foreign investor in Singapore.
The Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will also take a handful of other factors into account. For example, any family ties you have to Singapore citizens, plus your ability to financially and otherwise contribute to the country.
If you think you meet the eligibility criteria, it’s time to apply. You’ll need to submit your Singapore PR application online, using the ICA’s e-service portal.
Before applying, make sure you have all your documents to hand. We’ll cover what you need in the next section.
Here’s how the process works:
- Head to the online e-service portal to start your application
- Select your status - for example, an Employment Pass Holder or Foreign Student
- Login using your SingPass Digital ID if you have one
- Identify who the PR application is for - for example, your spouse and your family, your children or your parents
- Complete the online PR application form
- Upload the required documents (PDF and JPG form only)
- Pay for your application
- You’ll receive an acknowledgment of your application submission
- Wait for your application to be processed.
The documentation you’ll need to support your PR application depends on your status. So, you could need different documents if you’re an Employment Pass Holder, compared to someone applying as the spouse of a Singapore citizen. But here’s what you’ll need as a minimum³:
- Completed online application form
- One passport-size digital colour photograph of each applicant
- Valid travel document with valid Immigration Pass
- Identity card (if applicable)
- Birth certificate (including birth certificates or adoption papers for children if included in the PR application)
- Highest education certificates
- Work Pass (if applicable)
- Payslips from the last 6 months, or valid Business Registration Certificate for self-employed workers
- Identity and other documents for sponsor (i.e. your spouse)
- Employers Letter⁴ for work-related applications (including date of employment, salary, position held etc)
- Testimonials from previous employers⁴, for work-related applications.
⚠️ The list of required documents is pretty long, so it’s worth taking a good look through and making sure you have everything before starting your application.
This kind of application can take a while to process, and processing time varies depending on the complexity of the case.
However, you can expect to receive the outcome of your Singapore PR application by post** within six months** ². You can also pop back onto the e-portal at any time to check the status of your application.
We’ve covered all the basics on how to apply for Singapore PR, but how much will it cost you? There are a number of fees you need to know about, starting with the non-refundable application processing fee of 100 SGD ². This is payable by card, direct debit or PayNow at the time you apply using the e-portal.
If your application is successful, great news. But it also means a small pile of other fees to pay, including²:
- 20 SGD for an Entry Permit
- 50 SGD for a 5-year Re-Entry Permit
- 50 SGD for an Identity Card
- 30 SGD per Entry Visa (if needed).
Remember that these fees are per applicant, and they’ll need to be paid via CashCard or NETS.
If your PR application is successful and you settle in Singapore, you may still need a way to send money back to your home country - or to friends and family in other countries.
⚠️ It could be a mistake to send international payments through your Singapore bank, as banks tend to charge high transfer fees and add an expensive mark-up to the exchange rate.
A far cheaper solution is to use Wise. Open a free multi-currency Wise account and you can send money from Singapore all over the world for small, transparent fees and the real, mid-market exchange rate. This could be as much as 7x cheaper than using a bank.
Even better, you can get a linked Wise multi-currency card, which gives you low-fee, contactless spending in 200+ countries.
So, you can use it in Singapore, when you go home, on holidays or on business trips. There are no foreign transaction fees, only a small fee to convert currency at the mid-market rate. If you already have the currency in your Wise account, there’s no conversion fee to pay at all.
So, that’s pretty much it - all the key info on how to apply for Singapore PR. After reading this guide, you should have a decent idea of eligibility requirements, the application process and the fees involved.
You’ll need to dig out quite a lot of supporting documents, and the six month waiting time isn’t ideal. But it’s really handy that you can complete the whole application online, and if successful - that means no more paperwork for you for a while. The very best of luck with your application!
Sources used for this article:
- Guide me Singapore - 7 Benefits of a Singapore PR (Permanent Residence)
- Immigration and Checkpoints Authority Singapore - Becoming a Permanent Resident
- Immigration and Checkpoints Authority Singapore - PDF under ‘Documents required’ section: Explanatory Notes and Document List (spouse with/without accompanying child(ren))
- Immigration and Checkpoints Authority Singapore - PDF under ‘ Documents required' section - Holder of an Employment Pass or S Pass
Sources checked on 23 March 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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