If you are a foreign national who has found a managerial, executive or specialized job in Singapore, you are eligible to apply for the Singapore Employment Pass. Nationals from any country can apply for the EP Singapore.

In addition to having a job waiting for you in Singapore, there are different requirements you and your employer will have to meet to be eligible for the Employment Pass.

Who Qualifies to Apply for an Employment Pass for Singapore?

You are eligible to apply for an Employment Pass for Singapore if you meet all the following requirements:

  • You will take up a managerial, executive or specialized position.
  • You meet the Employment Pass minimum salary requirements:
    • If you have a shorter period of work experience or are a recent graduate, your minimum salary should be at least S$3,600.
    • If you are an older and more highly-experienced worker, the EP minimum monthly salary requirements will be higher.
  • You must have adequate qualifications, such as a university diploma, special skills, or professional qualifications.

The Ministry of Manpower decides whether an applicant meets the requirements for a Singapore Employment Pass. There is no list of approved institutions in which you are allowed to take up work. Instead, the MOM looks at other criteria to decide whether you are eligible to receive the EP, such as your employer’s rankings and employment standards, or your own skill set.

If you are thinking of applying for the EP, you can take an assessment test on MOM’s website (called the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT)) to check your own eligibility.

You have to enter your personal information, your work experience, qualifications, and the salary you will receive. The tool tells you whether you meet the criteria for the Employment Pass or any other pass.

Employment Pass Application

The application process for the Employment Pass is divided in two parts. The first part takes place while you are still in your home country. Your employer submits the Employment Pass application to be approved. The second time, you have to be in Singapore as your employer submits the application to get your EP issued. Both parts of the application are done online.

On the other hand, if your employer’s company is not registered in Singapore, you will need a local sponsor to submit the application on your behalf. In this case, the sponsor has to submit the application manually.

Applying for the Employment Pass Online

The Employment Pass online application process goes as follows:

  1. You send your employer a written letter of consent to apply for the EP on your behalf. This is needed to show that you agree to be employed.
  2. The employer applies for the Employment Pass through the online application tool, EP Online, which is found on MOM’s website. They have to submit any required documents and pay the necessary processing fee.
  3. If the Pass is approved (The Employment Pass processing time is about three weeks), your employer will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter.
  4. They send the IPA letter to you, which you can use to enter Singapore. It contains a pre-approved, single-entry Singapore visa.
  5. Once you are in Singapore, your employer submits another application via EP Online, this time to get your Pass issued. They have to pay another fee.
  6. Your employer has to enter an address where you can receive your Pass and other personal information about you, such as passport number, mobile number, and email address.
  7. Your employer will receive a notification letter, which they give to you. The notification letter:
    • Allows you to start working and to leave and enter Singapore until your Pass Card is issued.
    • Informs you whether you have to register your fingerprints and photo.
  8. If you need to register, you must do it at the Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC) within two weeks.
  9. After you register, you will receive your Pass Card, typically within four working days.

Other than your employer, a Singapore Employment Agency can also submit the application on your behalf.

Applying for the Employment Pass Manually

If your employer’s company is not registered in Singapore, then you must find a local sponsor to submit the Employment Pass application at the Ministry of Manpower for you.

To submit a manual Employment Pass application, the process is as follows:

  1. Send your local sponsor a written letter of consent, allowing them to submit the EP application on your behalf.
  2. Your sponsor has to download and complete the Employment Pass Application Form for sponsorship cases, which is found on MOM’s website. They must attach all the required documents mentioned on the form, which you provide them with.
  3. They mail the application to MOM via a SingPost branch (Singapore’s post offices).
  4. The sponsor has to pay the EP processing fee and save the receipt.
  5. After your Employment Pass application is approved, the MOM emails the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter to the contact person assigned on the application form. The EP application processing time is about 8 weeks when done manually.
  6. You can use the IPA letter to enter Singapore (within six months) so you and your sponsor can apply to get the Pass issued.

What Are the Employment Pass Document Requirements?

When you submit an application for a Singapore Employment Pass, you must have several supporting documents as follows:

  • Completed Application Form for Employment Pass found on MOM’s website.
    • It must be signed by you (the foreign employee) as well as your employer (or an authorized person from the company).
    • It must be stamped with the hiring company’s stamp.
  • Photocopy of the personal information page of your passport and the issue/expiry date.
  • Your educational certificates, such as diplomas and degree qualifications.
    • If you are from India, you will need the following additional documents: Transcripts and Marksheets.
  • Verification for your educational certificates and documents, which you can get from Dataflow or other global verification agencies. Sometimes, certification from a notary will not suffice.
    • If you are from China, you can get the verification from China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center or China Academic Degrees & Graduate Education Information.
  • A recent resume.
  • Recent passport-size picture in line with Singapore photo requirements.
  • Copy of your hiring company’s business profile.
  • Description of your job responsibilities/duties.
  • Letter of Support or Registration from a Registration Agency, Professional Body, or Accreditation Agency. Based on occupation, you can receive these letters of support from the following professional bodies:
    • Singapore Medical Council (Doctors)
    • Singapore Dental Council (Dentists)
    • Allied Health Professions Council (Diagnostic radiographers, Occupational therapists, Physiotherapists, Radiation therapists, Speech therapist)
    • Singapore Nursing Board (Nurses)
    • Singapore Pharmacy Council (Pharmacists)
    • Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (TCM Practitioners)
    • Legal Services Regulatory Authority (Lawyers)
    • Sport Singapore (Football player or coach)
  • For employees in a food establishment: A copy of the license issued by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

Additional documents to provide

In addition, when you apply to get your Employment Pass issued, you will need to present:

  • Your passport details.
  • Details about your Short-Term Visit Pass or immigration pass.
  • Your address of residence in Singapore.
  • Your Embarkation/Disembarkation Card.
  • If needed: A medical examination form or a health declaration form. (Your IPA letter will inform you whether you will need to undergo a medical examination. You must do this in Singapore.)
  • Your IPA letter.

Keep in mind that the officers in charge of handling your application reserve the right to ask for additional documents after they receive the application.

Any documents that are not in English will have to be translated by a professional translator.

Is There a Quota for the Employment Pass?

There is no quota on how many Employment Pass holders a Singapore employer is allowed to hire. Also, employers are not required to pay a levy for their EP holder employees.

Employment Pass Renewal

An Employment Pass is valid for two years when it is first issued and it can be renewed. After each renewal, the EP will be valid for a maximum of three years.

You can start renewing your Employment Pass a maximum of six months before it expires. Your employer has to apply for the Employment Pass renewal through EP Online.

If you applied through a sponsor, your sponsor has to complete the Employment Pass renewal form and gather all the documents. They must mail the application to MOM via SingPost at least two months before your Pass expires.

Can I Bring My Family Members to Singapore With an Employment Pass?

Yes, holders of an Employment Pass can bring their family members to live with them in Singapore.

Depending on the family relationship, this can be done in two ways:

It is your employer who has to apply to bring your family members to Singapore. They can do this at the same time they apply for your own EP, or after you have already received your EP and settled in Singapore.