Currently, foreign investors can acquire three types of investor visas in Singapore, under the Global Investor Program. The programs are designed especially to fit the needs of foreign businessmen who are willing to relocate to Singapore for the purpose of developing a business activity.
Below, our team of lawyers in Singapore has prepared a short presentation on this subject and, if you need legal advice on how to apply for any of the investment programs presented in this article, you can always rely on our team for legal assistance or representation.
Nationalities accepted (EU/Non-EU)
Both EU and non-EU investors can apply for the investor visa in Singapore.
Business investment option (YES/NO)
Real estate investment option (YES/NO)
Other investment options (if available)
- investments in existing Singaporean companies,
- investments in new or existing companies that hire at least 30 employees (out of which, 15 are Singapoarean citizens),
- investments in investment funds approved by the Singaporean authorities,
- investments in single family office with assets under management of at least SGD 200 million.
Living requirement in Singapore
Foreign investors who apply for an investor visa in Singapore (known as the Global Investor program) are required to live in Singapore.
Residence or direct citizenship option
Through the program, foreign investors can acquire permanent residency (for citizenship, other procedures, unrelated to the investment immigration program, must be completed).
Direct immigration with family members
Applicants can relocate with the close family members.
Family members allowed to join the program
Under the investor visa in Singapore, family of a foreign investor is defined as the spouse and the children with an age below 21 years old.
Residence visa/citizenship processing time (approx.)
Additional financial requirements for family members
Timeframe for obtaining citizenship/residency by investment
- permanent residency by investment under this program can be obtained in 1 year,
- citizenship can be granted to those who have acquired permanent residency for minimum 2 years, provided that they meet all the basic conditions for citizenship, according to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
Dual citizenship permitted
Reasons to choose Singapore
- access to 80 double tax treaties,
- the top economy in its region,
- one of the leading financial centers at a global level,
- wealthy global economy (US $82,794 GDP per capita in 2022),
- business opportunities in the services and manufacturing sectors, the largest business activities,
- there are around 300,000 busineses in Singapore (around 20% of them are foreign owned).
Personal income tax rate
Progressive system, charged based on the income (the tax rates are 0%, 2%, 3.5%, 7%, 11.5%, 15%, 18%, 19%, 19.5%, 20%, 22%).
Visa free travel to other countries (approx. number of countries)
More than 190 countries.
How can foreign investors apply for the Global Investor Program in Singapore in 2024?
In order to obtain an investor visa in Singapore under the Global Investor Program, foreign investors should qualify for one of the two options prescribed by this program; please mind that this program provides the right to obtain permanent residency in Singapore to qualified persons.
invest minimum S$10 million in one of the 3 programs (there are different capital requirements for each);
have at least 3 years of proven business experience or entrepreneurial activity;
as an applicant, you must have at least 30% of the shares of the said company, if the company is a private one;
if you already have a company elsewhere, the turnover must be at least S$200 million.
Please mind that if you want to participate in this program, it is required of you to start a business only in specific sectors that are approved by the institutions in Singapore. For example, you can start the business activity in sectors such as: automotive, aerospace, education, healthcare, engineering, pharmaceutical, medical technology and others.
Our team of lawyers in Singapore can present other business sectors that are available when applying for this program through which one can obtain the investor visa in Singapore.
Can investors bring their family members in Singapore?
The right to bring the family members in Singapore is limited to specific types of visas. Luckily, the investor visa in Singapore provides this right, given that the foreigners will invest a large capital in the Singaporean society and that they will also be granted with permanent residency.
This is why foreign investorscan rest assured that they can bring their family members to live with them in Singapore, as long as they meet the qualifying criteria. Under the above mentioned program, one can bring his or her spouse in Singapore, as well as the couple’s children with an age below 21 years old.
However, it is important to be aware of the fact that in the case in which the couple has male children with an age below 21 years old, the said persons (who are considered dependent to their family) are required to complete the National Service program.
You can request more details regarding this subject from our team of lawyers in Singapore, who can present foreigners the basic requirements young boys have to comply with, the age when the service must start as well as other important aspects concerning this matter. For any questions, do not hesitate to address to our law firm in Singapore.
In the case in which the foreign investor has children with an age above 21 years old, then a different immigration procedure must be followed. The children above 21 years old have to apply, in this case, for a Long-Term Social Visit Pass, which grants the right to live in Singapore for a period of 5 years.
Below, we invite you to watch a short video on the investor visa in Singapore:
What are the requirements for the investor visa in Singapore in 2024?
Please know that the rules concerning this investment program have been recently modified. The new law entered into effect on March 15, 2023. The program has 3 main routes and, depending on the route chosen by the investor, different regulations will have to be met.
Thus, investors who will apply after 15 March 2023 under Option 1, will be required to invest S$10 million and hire at least 30 employees. Out of these, 15 have to be Singaporean citizens and 10 must be new employees.
For those who will apply in 2024 for the Option 2, the minimum capital requirement will be of S$25 million, which will be invested in certain types of funds. Option 3 requires a very large capital investment, of S$200 million.
Please mind that those who will select Option 2 can invest their financial assets only in specific funds that have been approved by the Economic Development Board (EBD). For Option 3, as mentioned earlier, the capital requirements are very large and the investment must be made following specific steps.
Thus, for the Singapore Global Investor Program – Option 3, the investors must complete the following:
S$50 million from the S$200 million can be invested in 4 categories of investments;
the 1st refers to listed businesses that operate on exchange markets regulated by the Singapore Monetary Authority (MAS);
the 2nd category refers to various types of debt instruments, such as bonds or certificates of deposit that are listed on the MAS official list (Qualified Debt Securities Inquiry System);
the 3rd category aims at investment funds that are approved by MAS and can be found on the Financial Institutions Directory list (the funds must be managed by managers licensed in Singapore);
the 4th category refers to private equity – the investments must be made in unlisted companies registered in Singapore.
Those who will opt for the program by investing in an investment fund in 2024, must comply with additional requirements. The regulations stipulate that the fund's minimum duration has to be 8 years and that the investments can be made in a wide array of sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, chemicals, healthcare, medical technology and others.
If you qualify for Option 3, you are required to set up a Single Family Office (SFO) that is incorporated in Singapore. When applying for the Singapore Global Investor Program – Option 3, you must also prepare a 5 years business plan.
The plan must contain detailed information concerning the projected financial situation of the company, and its employment. The business plan should be established based on the characteristics of the business (the sector in which it operates, your function within the company, the types of assets held, etc.).
What is the purpose of the new Singapore Global Investor Program?
The new Singapore Global Investor Program that was launched in 2023 aims at attracting more qualified investors who dispose of a large capital and who have the capacity of investing in specific types of funds and other investment ventures that can increase the value of the Singaporean financial market.
At the same time, the Singapore Global Investor Program aims at creating more jobs opportunities forSingaporean citizensand residents, in specific fields. The overall purpose of the program is to attract only top-tier businessmen who are committed to long-term investments in this country.
Considering that the rules of the program became more difficult, especially when we consider the capital requirements, business immigration to Singaporehas automatically become more stringent, as less investors will meet the basic requirements.
However, those who wanted to participate in the Singapore Global Investor Program have other possibilities for investments in this country, where the capital requirements are lower, as well as the main conditions imposed for the new company, in terms of assets to invest in, employment, economic sectors, etc.
For instance, there is the possibility of obtaining residency in Singapore for business purposes by applying for the Entrepass. You can address our law firm in Singapore if you want to learn more about other visas that can be used for investment.
Investors can also apply for the Employment Pass. For these 2 permits, the minimum investment is below S$100,000 and each permit imposes different criteria. The evaluation of the visa application also varies based on the type a foreigner applied for.
For instance, a visa application for the Entrepass can be processed within 8 to 12 weeks, while the Employment Pass can be processed in a shorter amount of time, of 3 to 10 weeks. On the opposite side, the Singapore Global Investor Program visa has a long processing period, of 9 to 12 months.
This long period is explained by the fact that there are many approvals to obtain, many criteria to prove investors qualify for, etc. However, please know that if you will address our team of lawyers in Singapore, you will benefit from legal support throughout the entire period of time, as well as after the processing of the visa is completed.
How can foreign businessmen apply for the investor visa in Singapore in 2024?
The program comprises numerous steps, documents and forms that have to be prepared. The investor must complete:
1.Form A, which is necessary for permanent residence application;
2.the Form B, in which the businessman will detail the business plan for the investment in Singapore;
3.the papers and documents that can be used as evidence for being qualified for this program;
4.any other documents and forms that can be required by the immigration officials.
Once you prepared the documents necessary for the visa application, then you must start the application process itself, which starts by paying the official processing fee that is established by the Singaporean Government authorities. Please be aware that this is the first thing investors must comply with once they have prepared their application for the investor visa in Singapore.
After the payment of the visa, the applicant can submit the set of documents and the application forms. These have to be presented with the local institutions in a period of one month since the application fee was paid. Then, one should be prepared to participate in an interview with the Economic Development Board of Singapore.
In 2024, the application fee for permanent residency is $100 (the fee is nonrefundable - this means that unsuccessful applicants will not be able to claim back the sum of money). The application is not handled by the Economic Development Board, but by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, which handles all matters concerning immigration. However, the 2 institutions will collaborate during the application for this investor visa.
After this event takes place, the applicant can receive an Approval in Principle, which can be obtained in a period of 2 to 4 months since the initial formalities were started. The next step is to conclude aninvestment in Singapore, and this has to be done in a period of 6 months since the Approval in Principle was obtained.
The approval for the issuance of the investor visa in Singapore will be done only after the investmentwas made, and the local authorities will have a proof on the fact that the respective investment is a qualifying investment, as requested per the chosen investment program chosen by the foreign businessman.
Once the approval is obtained, the investor will have the right to move to Singapore and start the formalities for permanent residence. This step can be concluded in a period of 12 months since the local authorities issued the final approval for the investor visa in Singapore.
When the formalities for the issuance of the permanent residency will be finished, the investor will also be issued with a Re-Entry Permit, which is a document that will maintain the foreigner’s residence in Singapore even when he or she is outside the country. This latter immigration document is issued for a period of 5 years, but it can be renewed upon its expiration.
The Re-Entry Permit can be renewed for a period of 3 or 5 years, and this will be done based on the quality and the results of the business that the foreigner develops here. If you need more details on this subject, we invite you to send your inquiries to our team of lawyers in Singapore.
Important things to be aware of when applying for an investor visa in Singapore
Foreigners who will receive the investor visa in Singapore can obtain numerous benefits once they will be issued with this document. However, when applying for this visa program, foreigners should be aware that in the case in which they have children with an age above 21 years old, the said children can’t be included in the visa application. Our law firm in Singapore can offer more details.
At the same time, the parents of the investors can’t also qualify to be a part of this visa program, as a foreign investor is allowed to add on the visa application only the spouse and the children with an age below 21 years old.
In the case that the foreigner wants to bring in Singapore his or her children with an age above 21 years old, such children will have to apply for a separate visa, where they are the main applicants. The same applies to the parents of the investor.
As presented above, the investors have to make specific investments in the local economy in order for their investments to be considered qualifying ones, as per the regulations applicable to the investor visa in Singapore.
However, investors must know that they will be able to make additional investments in this country if they choose to do so, after meeting the basic investments requirements imposed by the visa program of their choice. Our lawyers can represent investors who willimmigrate to Singapore from US.
With regards to personal taxation, investors have to know that they will have tax obligations in Singapore. This is given by the fact that their residency will be in Singapore, and this means that they will be liable to personal taxation in this country. Of course, they will also be liable for corporate taxation, charged to their local businesses.
This means that the tax residency of the person will no longer be in their home country, as, since the moment the investor will obtain permanent residency in this country, this will imply that thetaxation of the person has to be done in Singapore and not in the home country.
However, the investors will not be taxed on their worldwide income in Singapore. If they will have an income obtained from overseas activities of any kind (property, other businesses, investments, rental activities and so on), such income will be taxed in the respective countries. Our team of lawyers in Singapore can provide more information on other tax matters.
Please be aware that the investor visa in Singapore can be issued after a period of 6 to 8 months since the application was made and in this time, the investor should prepare for the interview with the Singaporean officials. For more details, do not hesitate to contact our team of lawyers in Singapore, who are qualified to assist you in the process of obtaining a visa for investment purposes.
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