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Complete guide to obtaining a Student pass to study in Singapore

If you are a foreign national who would like to pursue their studies in a Singapore university, you will need a Singapore student visa.

The student visa in Singapore is referred to as a Student Pass.

Who needs a Singapore Student Pass?

Almost everyone who wishes to study in Singapore full-time for longer than thirty days has to obtain a Student Pass.

You are exempt from holding a Student Pass if:

  • Your course lasts less than 30 days.
  • You have an Immigration Exemption Order. Immigration Exemption Orders are issued to diplomats, military personnel, and their family members.
  • You are in Singapore with a Dependent’s Pass and you want to study at an institution that is not at university level.

In Singapore, universities are referred to as Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL).

Eligibility criteria for a Singapore Student Pass

You are eligible to obtain a Singapore Student Pass if you have already been accepted into an approved Institute of Higher Learning in Singapore.

The courses you will be attending must be full-time. Part-time, evening, and weekend classes do not qualify.

You may apply for a Singapore Student Pass if you have been accepted into one of the following institutions:

Singapore universitiesSingapore polytechnicsForeign institutes with branches in Singapore
National University of SingaporeNanyang PolytechnicÉcole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales
Nanyang Technological UniversityNgee Ann PolytechnicINSEAD
Singapore Management UniversityRepublic PolytechnicUniversity of Chicago – Booth School of Business
Singapore Institute of TechnologySingapore PolytechnicDigiPen Institute of Technology
Singapore University of Social SciencesTemasek PolytechnicUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas
Singapore University of Technology and Design German Institute of Science and Technology – TUM Asia
  Sorbonne-Assas International Law School
  SP Jain School of Global Management

Singapore Student Pass application process

The application process for a Singapore Student Pass takes place online. It is the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) who handles your Student Pass application.

You have to apply using SOLAR (Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration), the online application service found on ICA’s website.

The application must be submitted at least one month before the start of the semester, but no earlier than two months.

You can apply from your home country since you are not required to be in Singapore while your application for a Student Pass is processing.

You can only apply after you have been admitted into a Singapore university. You will not be able to continue with the application without the SOLAR application number stated on your acceptance letter from the university/polytechnic.

If your application is approved, you will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter, which states all the documents you need to bring to the ICA building in Singapore when you travel there to collect your Student Pass.

You will also have to pay a non-refundable S$30 processing fee.

Singapore Student Pass application processing time

The processing time for a Student Pass application depends on whether you need a Singapore visa or not:

  • If you do not need a Singapore visa, the application will be processed within five working days after the date of submission.
  • If you need a Singapore Visa, your application will be processed within ten working days after the date of submission. See a list of who needs a Singapore Visa here.
    • Your visa will be included in your IPA letter.

Collecting your Student Pass

After printing your IPA letter, you can use it to travel to Singapore. Once you land at the airport, you have to show the IPA letter to the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority officers, who will give you a Visit Pass.

After you enter Singapore, you must make an appointment at the ICA building to complete the formalities of obtaining a Student Pass. You can make an appointment online, on ICA’s website via e-Appointment.

You need to visit the ICA building to finish these formalities for the Student Pass before your Visit Pass expires.

You have to submit all the documents required on your IPA letter along with a signed Terms & Conditions of Student’s Pass (STP) document. You can download the STP document on ICA’s website. As the name suggests, you need this document to declare you agree to the terms and conditions of a Singapore Student Pass.

You will need to pay a S$60 fee for the issuance of the Student Pass.

Requirements for Singapore Student Pass application

When you submit a Singapore Student Pass application, you will need several supporting documents and information, including:

  • A completed Student Pass Application Form (eForm 16), which you can download from ICA’s website. The form can be completed electronically.
  • A passport-size picture in line with Singapore photo requirements.
  • The Registration Acknowledgement Letter from your school.
  • Photocopy of the bio-data page of your passport.
  • Documents stating your educational background.
  • Your employment history.
  • Documents related to any financial support you are receiving.
  • The address where you will be living in Singapore and local contact.
  • Any documents mentioned on the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter.

All the documents you submit must be in English or translated to English by an official translator. You must include both the original document and the translation.

Can you work with a Student Pass?

Yes, you can work with a Singapore Student Pass without having to obtain a Work Permit/Pass. However, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must be enrolled in an approved learning institution.
  • You must be at least 14 years of age.
  • During the school term, you cannot work for longer than 16 hours a week.
    • You can work full-time during vacations.
  • The work you do must contribute to your school requirements. This means you can only work in an industrial attachment program held by your educational institution.

If you want to hold an internship which is part of your university course, you can check if you are eligible for the Training Work Permit.

If you are an exchange student, you cannot work in Singapore.

Other types of Singapore Student Passes

Other than students enrolled in a Singaporean university (IHL), foreign nationals may need a Student Pass if they want to enroll in another Singapore educational institution.

These include:

  • Approved Private Education Organisations, which must be EduTrust-certified and registered with the Committee for Private Education (CPE).
    • You must apply yourself via ICA’s eService 2-3 months before the course begins.
  • Foreign System Schools, which must have EduTrust certifications.
    • You will not need a Student Pass if you already hold a Dependant’s Pass or Immigration Exemption Order.
    • You must apply yourself via ICA’s eService at least four weeks before the course begins.
  • Government, Government-Aided, or Independent Schools.
    • You will not need a Student Pass if you already hold a Dependant’s Pass or Immigration Exemption Order.
    • You must apply yourself via ICA’s eService at least four weeks before the course begins.
  • Institutes of Technical Education.
    • You will need a local Singapore contact to submit the application on your behalf.
    • The local contact has to be at least 21 years old and a Singapore citizen or permanent resident
    • The local contact cannot be an organization/institution.
    • They must apply via ICA’s eService at least four weeks before the course begins.
  • Kindergartens and Childcare Centres. Your child will need a Singapore Student Pass to attend a kindergarten/childcare center unless they are a Dependent Pass holder or subject to the Immigration Exemption Order.
    • You must submit an application on their behalf 2-3 months before the classes begin.

If the applicant is under 12 years of age, they must also submit the vaccination information to the Health Promotion Board (HPB).

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