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Complete guide to becoming a permanent resident of Singapore

Becoming a Singapore permanent resident is a highly coveted position. Singapore ranks as one of the best countries in the world in terms of its quality of life, offering a stable political climate, cultural diversity, high levels of healthcare and education, and one of the most open economies in the world, according to the World Economic Forum.

The Asian city-state has a population of upwards 5.6 million, out of which, over 500,000 are Singapore permanent residents, whereas an additional 1.6 million are foreign workers and students.

Benefits of Becoming a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR)

Singapore permanent residency holds a lot of the same benefits as Singaporean citizenship, but it subjects the holder to the responsibilities of a Singapore citizen as well.

The benefits of Singapore Permanent Resident status are:

  • You can change jobs as you like without having to cancel and reapply for an Employment Pass.
  • If your Singapore PR application is approved, you will receive a Blue Card, which allows you to enter and leave the country without having to apply for respective travel or work visas. The Blue Card serves as an ID.
  • You can receive the financial and tax benefits which Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme offers.
  • You will have a better chance of getting a loan, such as for housing.
  • You will be able to purchase a public housing unit offered by Housing and Development Board (HDB).
  • You can apply for your family members’ Permanent Residency as well.
  • You will be one step closer to Singapore citizenship.

However, you will also have to comply to the responsibilities of a Singaporean resident. For example, if you have a son and they also receive Singapore PR, they will have to register for military service before the age of 16.5. Before they turn 18, they will be called to serve for 2 years. In addition, they will also have to participate in Operationally Ready National Service for 40 days every year until they turn 50 or 40, depending on their rank.

Who Can Become a Permanent Resident of Singapore?

You are eligible to apply for Singapore Permanent Residence if you are one of the following:

  • The holder of an Employment Pass, Personalized Employment Pass, EntrePass, or S Pass.
    • You must have been working in Singapore for at least six months before applying.
  • The spouse of a Singapore permanent resident or Singapore citizen.
  • Child under 21 of a Singapore permanent resident or Singapore citizen. You must be unmarried, and born in a legal marriage or adopted.
  • Aged parent of a Singapore citizen.
  • Holder of a Student Pass.
  • Foreign investor in Singapore.
    • You must invest at least S$2.5 million in a startup business or an already-established business in Singapore.

How to Apply for Singapore Permanent Residency?

It is the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoint Authorities (ICA) who are in charge of handling Singapore PA applications. The application is done online.

The online application process for Singapore PR is as follows:

  1. Sign in to ICA’s eService for Permanent Residence. You need to have a SingPass account to log in.
  2. Select whether you are applying as:
    • An Employment Pass/S Pass holder.
    • Singapore citizen
    • Singapore Permanent Resident, or
    • Foreign student.
  3. Depending on your status, you have to select whether you are applying for:
    • Yourself
    • Your spouse and/or children
    • Your aged parents.
  4. You will be shown a list of forms and documents that you will either have to:
    • Download and complete.
    • Upload electronic copies of.
  5. Complete the Singapore PR application form. You have two options when it comes to completing the form:
    • Download it, print it, fill it in, then re-upload it to the eService.
    • Complete the PR application form online.
  6. Fill in all other required fields on the online application tool.
  7. After you complete/upload the application form, you will have 7 days to upload all the other required documents and submit your completed Singapore PR application.
  8. Upload electronic/scanned files of all the required documents.
    • If you do not have a document, you will need to provide a reason for it.
  9. Pay the Singapore PR application fee as indicated on the eService.

If you are a foreign student, you can access the eService through your Foreign Identification Number (FIN) and the date your immigration pass was issued. Before you can proceed with the application, you will also have to prove that you are eligible to apply for PR by answering a questionnaire.

What documents should I submit to support my application?

When you submit your Singapore Permanent Residence application, you must have several supporting documents, such as:

  • Copies of the personal details pages of your (valid) passport.
  • Copy of your immigration pass.
  • Copy of your ID (if applicable).
  • Change of name certificate or deed poll, if applicable.
  • Copies of your highest educational certificates. You must include all tertiary certifications.
  • Passport-sized digital picture which is in line with Singapore photo requirements.
  • A signed declaration form, which is available on the eService. You must download, print and sign it before re-uploading.
  • If you employed and/or you are applying for PR as an EP or S Pass holder:
    • A letter from the employer stating your position, salary, and start of employment.
    • Pay slips from the last six months.
    • Testimonials from any previous employers stating your position, the duration of your employment and last salary (EP/S Pass applicants only)
    • If self-employed: Valid Business Registration Certificate showing the names of all business partners and any licences relating to your occupation.
  • For spouses and/or if you are applying for PR for your spouse:
    • Official marriage certificate
    • Birth certificates of children or adoption papers, if applicable.
    • Custody papers of children from previous marriages, if applicable.
    • Death certificate or marriage certificate from a previous marriage, if applicable.
  • For children:
    • A birth certificate or household census which states both parents’ names.
    • Adoption papers, if applicable.
    • Custody papers, if applicable.
  • For foreign students applying for PR:
    • Copies of educational certificates.
    • Copies of transcripts.
    • Copy of vocational trade certificates.
    • Copies of any professional license/membership certificates.
    • Copies of your parents’ passports, showing their details.
    • Your birth certificate or an official household census showing your parents’ names.

All the documents that you upload have to be in English. If they are not, they have to be translated. The ICA will accept the following translations:

  • If the document was translated by the embassy of the country that issued the document.
  • If the document was translated by a notary public in Singapore or in the country that issued the document.
  • If the document was translated privately, but authenticated by:
    • The embassy of the country that issued the document.
    • A notary public in Singapore or in the country that issued the document.

The documents vary depending on the case. The ICA also periodically updates the list of required documents and can ask for any additional documents as they see fit.

How long will it take for the PR application to be processed?

Your Singapore PR application will take between four to six months to process. Some applications can take longer, depending on the specific case and whether you have all the required documents.

You can use the eService to check on the status of your application during this time.

If your application is approved, you will receive a letter informing you on the outcome and on how to proceed. You have to make an appointment online so you can visit the Permanent Resident Services Centre in Singapore, where you will receive your ID Card.

You will also have to bring hard copies of the documents which you uploaded online, and pay additional fees as required.

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