Permanent Residence in Singapore - Updated for 2021
Obtain a Residence Permit in SingaporeUpdated on Tuesday 16th November 2021
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Types of residence permits one can obtain in Singapore in 2021
There are several categories of visas that can be obtained by foreign persons arriving here, and the visas are divided based on the purpose of the arrival. Foreign citizens may become Singapore permanent residents through different schemes that allow them to work or invest in the city-state.
Most foreigners apply for the permanent residence visa after working for few years in Singapore, but there are also other schemes through which foreign citizens may obtain residency. Once the residence permit is attained, a foreigner will enjoy most of the benefits as any other national, among which the right to buy a property in Singapore.
If you want to apply for permanent residence in Singapore and you are not sure on what the process may entail, our team of lawyers can help. Our law firm in Singapore can present the immigration rules that are imposed to foreigners relocating here and can offer advice on any other inquiry that you may have concerning residency in Singapore.
Who is eligible for permanent residence in Singapore?
The eligibility for permanent residence (PR) in Singapore is extended to various categories of foreign citizens, in accordance with the regulations of the local law. Foreigners are entitled to apply for permanent residency provided that they are the spouse of a person who is a Singapore citizen or of a foreigner who has the Singapore PR.
Children with an age below 21 years old are also eligible to apply for permanent residency and to obtain it, provided that they meet a set of requirements. They must be unmarried children of a couple that is legally married, or they can be the adopted children of persons who are Singapore citizens or residents.
This right is also extended to other family members of Singapore citizens, such as parents. With regards to the rights of obtaining the permanent residency through family ties, these are all the scenarios that are regulated by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. Provided that a foreigner does not fall under any of the above, other options are available.
For instance, foreigners are allowed to start the Singapore PR application process if they have arrived in this country for employment purposes. For this, they must be the holders of a qualifying employment pass; our team of lawyers in Singapore can present which are the main employment pass that can grant this opportunity.
One can become eligible for permanent residency in the case in which the person had arrived in this country for study purposes; the same is applicable for foreigners who want to enter a business partnership or invest in the local economy; of course, each category of persons will have to follow similar procedures, but they will need to submit different types of papers.
If you want to apply for a Singapore residence permit, our lawyers are at your service.
What are the rights of persons with permanent residence in Singapore?
Those who have become permanent residents and lawfully hold a Singapore PR enjoy from numerous rights, comparable with the ones of local citizens. Although comparable, permanent residents do not have full rights prescribed by the local law for the citizens of the country – they can’t vote or have a Singapore passport, for instance.
But the limitations are few and all permanent residents can live here and change jobs without the need to obtain a residence permit, enter the social security system, the health care system, benefit from pension rights, obtain loans for purchasing property or apply for Singaporean citizenship after a given amount of time.
What are the residence options for foreigners working in Singapore?
Foreigners who arrive here for work purposes can obtain residency, following the residence scheme that was created for this category of immigrants. The Professionals or Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker Scheme (PTS Scheme), as it is referred to, allows foreign professionals working in Singapore to obtain permanent residence. The most important requirement to qualify for the PTS Scheme is to have an employment pass at the time of the application. The applicant must be working in a Singapore company for six months before applying for the residence permit.
The immigration procedures in Singapore for those who need to obtain a residence permit have generally not changed in 2021, but new procedures may apply and this is why we recommend you to address to our team of lawyers for in-depth advice on the applicable rules. For instance, starting 1 May 2021, persons who are the owners of a Dependent Pass will need to comply with specific qualifications requirements in order to be eligible for employment; our team of lawyers in Singapore can offer further advice and information about any changes concerning residency in Singapore.
The Singapore residence permit can also be obtained by foreigners who come to work in the city-state.
What is the data on permanent residence in Singapore?
Although Singapore has a small population, with only few million inhabitants, the number of foreigners living here as Singapore PR or otherwise is rather large compared to the size of the population. In the list below, you can find few highlights of the population structure in Singapore, as presented by the latest data gathered by the National Population and Talent Division:
- in June 2020, the Singapore population accounted for 5,69 million persons;
- out of these, the resident population accounted for 4,04 million;
- the residency is divided into two categories – the residents who are Singapore citizens and who account for 3,52 million persons, and the residents who are foreign citizens who have obtained the permanent residence in Singapore, and who account for 520,000 persons;
- the rest of the population, of 1,64 million, represents foreigners who are non-residents and who have arrived here for various purposes, in most of the cases for employment;
- the largest share, of 21%, of the non-resident population is represented by the holders of non-CPM (Construction, Marine and Process) permit.
Other categories of non-residents refer to the following: 20% of the non-residents refer to the holders or the CPM Work permits, 17% of them are dependents of Singapore citizens or of foreigners who have successfully completed their application or who are dependents of Work Pass holders, while 15% of them are foreign domestic workers.
12% are represented by persons who have received the Employment Pass, while other 12% are the holders of S Pass, which represents another type of employment permit issued for mid-level skilled workers. The lowest share of non-residents is represented by students enrolled in local education institutions.
What are the documents for obtaining Singapore PR with a spouse and children?
When relocating to Singapore, there are multiple scenarios that can occur, depending on the duration of stay, the civil status of the person (single, married), the reason of arrival and numerous others. The procedure to obtain permanent residency in Singapore can be influenced based on these aspects, and this will be reflected in the types of documents the foreigner needs to provide, as well as the procedures that might be required to comply with.
In the case of foreigners who want to apply for permanent residence in Singapore with their spouse and children, there is a specific formality that has to be followed, and this procedure will be presented in the following section. Provided that you need additional information, you can always rely on our team of lawyers in Singapore.
In the following part of the article, our team of Singaporean lawyers will present the manner in which one can apply for permanent residency for a spouse and for the couple’s children (the same procedure will apply regardless if the couple has children or not), as long as the applicant is a Singaporean citizen or a person who was issued with the permanent residency in Singapore.
For this particular scenario, in order to obtain a Singapore PR, the spouse and the children with an age below 21 years old will be considered eligible as long as the spouse is a legal spouse, meaning that the couple has documents that attest the validity of the relationship, and as long as the children are the born in a legal marriage of the said couple or if they have been adopted by the couple.
If these conditions apply, then the spouse and the children can apply for permanent residency with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, which will analyze the application form and all the documents submitted by the applicants and will provide an answer in this sense.
Please mind that the application is made online, through the institution’s Electronic Permanent Residence system. Before starting the application procedure, it is highly recommended to study all the sections of the online portal, as you can find there valuable information as to what the application procedure entails. However, if you need advice on this subject you can also request information from our law firm in Singapore.
One of the main requirements for permanent residence in Singapore is to provide a passport size photo for each of the applicants. The photo must comply with a set of technical requirements in order to be an eligible photo. For instance, its size has to be of 35 mm wide and 45 mm in length.
The photo must be a recent one (not older than 3 months). The face of the person has to cover a large part of the image and it also needs to comply with specific digital format standards (only JPEG images are accepted). Our team of lawyers in Singapore can offer more information regarding this particular requirement.
Regarding the travel document of the applicants, which is the passport, there also basic conditions that must be satisfied. For instance, the Singapore law allows foreigners to submit documents which are in English. Provided that your papers are in another language, an official English translation must be prepared.
Here, it is necessary to know that the immigration authorities will accept official translations issued by the embassy of the country that emitted the document or official translations concluded by a public notary in Singapore, but also of a public notary in the country of origin of the applicant.
Along with the application, the applicants must prepare a declaration, one for each applicant. The standard form can be downloaded on the platform where the application will be made. As said above, foreigners who receive the permanent residence status will need to complete military service, and this is applicable only to male applicants.
Thus, if you want to arrive in Singapore with your children with an age below 21 years old you have to be aware that boys with an age above 16 years old and 6 months will have to be registered with the National Service and they will need to enlist after they reach the age of 18 years old. Exemptions from the military service are generally not granted, unless there are valid reasons to do so.
Persons who completed the National Service will have yearly obligations for this institution even after finishing the service, in the sense that they are required to work for a period of 40 days per year for the institution and this can last up until the age of 40 years old or 50, depending on the rank that they were granted while serving the National Service. This is applicable to all males who have received the permanent residency.
The Singapore permanent residence scheme for investors
Foreign investors benefit from a dedicated Singapore residence scheme. They can apply for a residence permit through the Global Investor Programme (GIP Scheme) which will allow them to start a business in Singapore or make other investments in the country. There are two options for foreign investors applying for residence permits in Singapore: they must invest at least SGD 2,5 million in a start-up or in an existing company or they must invest at least SGD 2,5 million in a Singapore Global Investor Programme fund.
Additionally, foreign investors must also submit proof of a good business background and an achievable investment plan. Foreign investors must also meet certain criteria referring to the annual turnover of the companies they own. In order to comply with the GIP Scheme requirements they must submit annual financial statements for the last three years. For complete information about eligibility criteria for the residence permits, please contact our lawyers in Singapore. You can rely on us no matter the way you want to obtain a Singapore residence permit.