The number of foreigners opting for permanent residency in Singapore is in the region of tens of thousands on an annual basis. Despite recent changes to the immigration legislation, the Lion City is still welcoming of foreign talent. Singapore continues to solidify itself as the “gateway to Asia,” as many people have become increasingly interested in not only doing business there but also becoming permanent residents.
Benefits of Permanent Residency in Singapore
There are a number of reasons why becoming a permanent resident (PR) is a good idea. Permanent residency in Singapore comes with a number of benefits that “regular” expatriates do not enjoy. These include:
- For working employees, having a PR negates the need for a working pass;
- Ease of changing employers just like any regular citizen residing in Singapore;
- Subsidized charges at government-subsidized clinics;
- Lower school fees for PR children;
- The possibility of buying public housing flats from the Housing Development Board; and
- Participation in the Central Provident Fund (the social security system), etc.
Schemes Available for Singapore Permanent Residence
There are three ways by which a foreigner can become a Singapore permanent resident:
- Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers scheme (PTS scheme)
The PTS scheme is for foreign professionals who are working in Singapore at the time of applying for permanent residence. The PTS scheme is the easiest and most assured route to attaining PR in Singapore. An estimated 95% of professionals acquire their Singapore PR via this route.
To ensure your Singapore PR application is successful through this scheme, keep the following tips in mind:
- You should belong to the relevant industry that requires your skillset;
- Your skillset should complement Singapore’s local work force;
- You should be under 50-years of age at the time of application;
- Your application should be from reputable institutions;
- Having close family ties in Singapore is an added advantage; and
- You have lived in Singapore for at least 6-months before applying.
- Global Investor Program scheme (GIP Scheme)
Introduced by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the GIP Scheme is for investors and foreign individuals who are keen on investing or starting a new business in Singapore. You must have a successful entrepreneurial background before applying for your Singapore PR and a substantial business track record.
Currently, investors can choose from two investment options under the GIP scheme:
- Option A: Invest at least SGD$2.5 million in a new business start-up or expansion of an existing business operation.
- Option B: Invest at least SGD$2.5 million in a GIP-approved fund.
- Foreign Artistic Talent scheme (ForArts)
Jointly administered by the National Arts Council (NAC) and the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), ForArts was introduced back in 1991 for those talented in any form of arts, photography, dance, music, theatre, literature or film.
Eligibility for this scheme covers the following criteria:
- Be a well-recognised artist in your own country;
- Have relevant education, training or professional experience within the recognised field.
- Significantly contribute to Singapore’s local arts and culture scene.
- Hold a strong track record of being involved in local engagements on a leadership level.
- Have concrete plans to become involved in Singapore’s local arts and culture industry.
General Eligibility for Permanent Residence
The following categories of foreigners are eligible to apply for permanent residence:
- Spouse and unmarried children (below 21 years old) of a Singapore Citizen (SC)/ Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR)
- Aged Parents of a Singapore Citizen
- Employment Pass/ S Pass holders
Documents Required for the Permanent Resident Application
Applying for permanent residency in Singapore starts with submitting two sets of the completed application Form 4A (one original and one photocopy), along with other additional supporting documents including:
- Educational and professional certificates, including two copies of your degree or diploma
- Recent passport-sized photograph
- Valid travel document
- Identity card (if applicable)
- Birth certificate
- Work pass
- Payslips for the last six months
- Income tax notices of assessment for the last three years
- Testimonials from your previous employer stating the nature, duration, and compensation of employment
National Service for PR Children
If you want your application for permanent residency in Singapore to include your spouse or children aged below 21 years, you must acknowledge that your son(s) will be liable for registration and enlistment in the National Service (NS). Registration is compulsory for boys aged 16 ½ and above, and they are likely to be enlisted once they celebrate their 18th birthday.
However, if your son is currently undergoing full time study, they are usually pardoned until they complete their studies under specific conditions. However, all permanent residents legible for NS must eventually complete it.
How to Submit Your Application
You can only hand in your application physically to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Submissions by post will not be accepted; therefore, you must make an appointment through the ICA website.
The forms to be submitted are available online and at the below specific location:
Permanent Resident Services Centre
5th Storey, ICA Building
10 Kallang Road
(Next to Lavender MRT station)
All documents must be in English. If any document is written in a foreign language, an English translation and a copy of the original document is required. Official English translation service providers include a notary public, a High Commission or Embassy.
All fees directly paid at the ICA will be stated in the approval letter. The ICA does not collect any processing fees except for certain fees for the issuance of documents. No firm is allowed to collect processing fees on behalf of ICA. In the event of a successful PR application, the applicant will be required to complete the PR formalities in person at the ICA building.
Other fees that an applicant should pay are the following:
- Entry permit: S$100
- Re-Entry permit: S$10 per year
- Visa fee (for foreigners that need a VISA): $30 per issue
The processing time for a Singapore PR application is 4-6 months. However, there are instances when some applications may require a longer processing time. Applicants will be notified through the mail so it is important to inform the ICA of any changes in the address if there are any.