Thinking of visiting the United States for a holiday, visiting family or work? Or perhaps you’re considering moving there permanently. Whatever the reason for your trip from Singapore to the US, you’re likely to need a visa.
Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about US visa applications for Singaporeans, including the documents you’ll need and how much it costs.
We’ll even give you a hot tip for paying your visa application fee. Open a free account with Wise and you can send money to the US and all over the world with low fees and the mid-market exchange rate.
But first, let’s explore the different types of US visa for Singapore citizens.
If you’re planning to visit the US from Singapore for business or tourism for up to 90 days, you won’t need a visa. This is because Singapore is part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)¹, along with many other participating countries.
All you’ll need to enter the country is a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and at least 6 months validity on your passport¹.
For longer or permanent stays, you’ll need a visa. We’ll take at the different US visa types for Singaporeans next.
Like many countries, the US has a huge list of different visa types covering all kinds of reasons for visiting and staying there.
For most travellers heading from Singapore to the US though, the most suitable visa will fall under one of two categories.
These are the Business/Tourist visitor visa (B-1 visitor visa) and the Immigrant visa. The latter of course is for people planning to settle in the US permanently.
The B1 visitor visa is designed for people wanting to visit the US temporarily, for a holiday, medical treatment or for business purposes. It has a maximum stay of 10 years for Singaporean citizens², and is multiple entry so you can jet between Singapore and the US whenever you please.
This visa does not permit you to study or work while in the US. But if you are heading to the country for employment purposes, you can apply for a B1 visitor visa (or an Immigrant visa) and then apply for the appropriate temporary worker visa.
Want to move to the US permanently? If so, you’ll need to apply for an immigrant visa. There are a few different routes to getting this permanent stay visa, including being sponsored by an immediate relative (for example, if your spouse is a US citizen) or a US employer.
There are also other types of Immigrant visa, including the Diversity Visa Program and a visa for returning residents.
The application process varies depending on the visa type, but here’s a quick look at the usual steps involved:³
- Head to the Consular Electronic Application Center at the US Department of State website
- Complete the online application form for your chosen visa type
- Upload a current photograph of yourself
- Once you’ve filled in all the required details, print the application form confirmation page and keep it somewhere safe
- Schedule an interview at the US Embassy in Singapore - this is usually required unless the applicant is under 13 years old or over 80 years old
- Pay the non-refundable visa application fee
- Gather the required documentation (we’ll look at what you’ll need in just a moment) and take it with you to your interview
- During your interview, digital fingerprint scans will be taken
- Wait for your visa to be approved.
Before you apply for your US visa, it’s a good idea to get all your paperwork ready. You’ll need to bring certain documentation along for your visa interview.
Here’s what documents are required for Singapore citizens:³
- Current passport valid for at six months beyond your period of stay in the US
- Your completed application form - you’ll need to print out the confirmation page
- The receipt for your application fee
- Additional documentation relating to the purpose of your visit, intent to depart the US after your trip and ability to cover all costs relating to the trip.
The wait times for an interview at the US Embassy in Singapore are quite quick, at around 1 day⁴.
But when it comes to US visa from Singapore processing times, you’ll need to be more patient. It could take up to 180 days⁴ from the date of your interview, although of course it could be quicker.
When you start your US visa application from Singapore, there will be a visa processing fee to pay. Let’s take a look at how much this is for each type of US visa:
|US visa type||Visa application fee⁵|
|Electronic System for Travel Authorization (for entry under the Visa Waiver Program)||14 USD⁶ (19 SGD)|
|Tourist/Business B1 visitor visa||160 USD (215 SGD)|
|Temporary worker visa||From 190 USD (255 SGD)|
|Immigrant visa||535 - 775 USD (718 - 1040 SGD)|
While you’re preparing to apply for your US visa, have you considered the most cost-effective way to pay for it? Open a Wise account and you’ll have a low cost way to send money over to the US from Singapore.
If you pay visa fees and other travel or relocation expenses using your bank, you could be charged high international transfer fees. Plus, there’ll usually be a mark-up added to the exchange rate, used when converting SGD to USD. This can make it much more expensive to send money over to the US.
But with Wise, you’ll only pay low fees and you’ll always get the real, mid-market exchange rate. You can even use your new Wise account when you arrive in the US, spending in the local currency using your international Wise debit Mastercard. Plus, you can make low-cost transfers back home to Singapore if you need to.
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So, that’s US visas in a nutshell - everything you need to know about the main types of US visa for Singapore citizens. Plus, the fees involved and how to apply.
You should now have all the info you need to start gathering your documents and getting that online application completed. Good luck!
Sources used for this article:
- Department of State - U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
- Department of State - U.S. Visa for Singaporeans
- Department of State - U.S Visitor Visa
- Department of State - Visa Appointment Wait Times
- Department of State - Fees for Visa Services
- US Customs and Border Protection - Official ESTA Application Website,
Sources checked on 5 March 2021
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