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Immigrate to Singapore from US

Immigrate to Singapore from US

American citizens who want to immigrate to Singapore from US have several legal options, which depend on the purpose of the stay and the duration of the stay. The immigration law in Singapore provides the opportunity to relocate here under a permanent residency scheme, for business purposes or by obtaining a visa issued for a given purpose, family related matters being available as well. 

Our team of lawyers in Singapore can present the full list of visas American citizens can obtain and can also help you ease the process of obtaining an immigration document. The manner in which an American can immigrate to Singapore from US will vary based on the type of document needed. 

When is a visa required for American citizens in Singapore?

The basic rules for immigration, regardless of the state, require foreigners to obtain a visa for short-term stays or for long-term stays. The same rule applies in Singapore as well, but exemptions from the visa can happen for the nationals of country with which Singapore has signed agreements that exempt such citizens from visa requirements. 

Americans who will immigrate to Singapore from US can benefit from this right in given situations. Most of the visa exemptions that apply in almost all countries, Singapore included, refer to exemptions from short-term stay visas. It is important to know that if you arrive from the US on a short-term basis, you will not need to apply for a visa

According to the US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs, Americans can simply book their travel to Singapore without applying for a visa, as long as the duration of stay is limited to maximum 90 days, which defines a short-term stay. This is given by the fact that the immigration law grants the right to live here for the 90 days period without applying for any special documents, but for stays longer than this, residency rules will apply. 

The only condition to comply with is to have a valid passport, with a validity date of at least six months longer than the date in which the American citizen will arrive in this country. The visa exemption is applicable as long as the American will immigrate to Singapore from US for business or traveling purposes. 

Please mind that in the current context of Covid-19 additional rules will apply and thus, Americans who arrive here in 2022 will have to comply with the local rules on health and safety measures. For the latest updates, you can verify the Singaporean embassy or you can address to our team of lawyers in Singapore, who can present the latest rules that have to be respected by foreigners. 

Applying for the Singapore Electronic Arrival Card

It is important to know that Americans must also comply with another simple rule, which refers to completing the Singapore Electronic Arrival Card. This does not represent a visa, and it is a system that replaces a previous offline system, the Disembarkation and Embarkation Card, which was a paper based document. 

The document can be completed very easy and the purpose of the document is to link the owner of the passport with the document, in order to have a clear image on the arrivals of foreigners who have entered in this country. At the same time, the document marks the fact that the person has arrived in the country and that the person can only enter the Singaporean territory once. 

With other words, Americans who immigrate to Singapore from US for a short-term basis without having a visa, will be able to arrive here by having a valid passport and the Singapore Electronic Arrival Card, but they will not be able to come and leave the country as they please. They will arrive here for the purpose that they have declared and will stay for as long as they need (but no longer than 90 days) and then return back home. 

Please be aware of the fact that if you need an extension on your stay, you will not be able to use this document as way to receive the right to live in Singapore for a longer period of time. In the case in which you want to live here for a longer period of time, you will need to start different immigration procedures and apply for the specific visa that will grant you the right to immigrate to Singapore from US for more than 90 days. 

When applying for the Singapore Electronic Arrival Card, you will be asked to provide information on your identity – name, gender, date of birth and other personal details, the place where you live, the nationality, contact details (including the residential address) such as phone number or e-mail address, the date of arrival in Singaporeand the passport identification data. 

In order to be issued with this travel document, you will also be asked to pay a fee; after this, the processing of the document can start and you must know that the issuance of the document can be completed in maximum 1 or 2 business days, but in most of the cases, one can receive the document in only few hours after the submission of the application was completed. 

However, even though the document can be issued rather fast, it is recommended to apply for it with at least 5 days before your arrival in Singapore, as various national days can occur (which involves that public institutions will not work) or due to other extraordinary events. If you need legal advice on how to arrive here for long-term stays, our law firm in Singapore remains at your disposal. 

How can Americans obtain permanent residency in Singapore? 

Permanent residency in Singapore provides numerous rights to foreigners relocating here, almost similar with the ones of local citizens (the difference being that a permanent resident is not a citizen of the country, which means that the foreigner does not have a passport issued by the authorities of Singapore). 

However, a permanent resident is entitled to move to Singapore and leave the country freely and, more importantly, will receive an identity document issued by the local authorities, known as the Blue Card. A foreigner is also entitled to bring his family in this country (spouse and children) and the children can be enrolled in the public school system, having the same rights as the children of locals.  Our Singapore lawyer can help with in-depth information on the legal procedures of enrolling foreign children in local schools. 

An important advantage of permanent residency is that the foreigner can easily access the employment market and can change jobs according to his or her wishes. Those who relocate to Singapore from US for employment and who do not have permanent residency have to apply for a work permit and a visa issued for this purpose and may only work with the employer where they have their employment contract and for which the visa was issued. 

Currently, there are several legal pathways which grant the right to permanent residency and which can be presented at length by our team of lawyers in Singapore. One can apply for permanent residency as Work Pass Holders or by participating in the Global Investor Program. 

What are the USA – Singapore relations? 

The connection of the United States of American (USA) with Singapore is a developed one, and this applies in numerous areas, such as foreign investments, bilateral trade, tourism and others. It must be noted that the US government has established a visa waiver program for the Singaporean citizens, who are exempted from obtaining a visa for visits with a duration of maximum 90 days. Some of the highlights of the Singapore – USA relations are presented below:

  • the countries signed a bilateral free trade agreement in 2004, which amounted to traded goods with a value of $45 billion in 2016 (increase of 62% since 2004);
  • in 2016, the USA was the 1st foreign investor of Singapore, with investments of $228 billion, according to the date of the US State Department;
  • in 2019, Singapore received 729,060 visitors from the USA
  • in 2014, 3 out of 10 Americans arriving in Singapore had as the purpose of the visit business related matters;
  • Americans who relocate to Singapore from US for short-term stays had as a main reason for arriving here visiting family or friends (45% out of the total number of arrivals). 

Can Americans become citizens of Singapore?

Yes, American passport holders can become citizens of this country. Our law firm in Singapore can advise you on the procedure, if you are interested in permanently relocating here and obtaining the citizenship status. Becoming a citizen of the country will provide full rights, including the right of purchasing a property at advantageous rates, applying for a bank loan and other rights which are granted to citizens.

However, any person who wants to move to Singapore from US on a permanent basis, with the purpose of becoming a citizen of this country, has to be aware that when the citizenship process starts, the American will need to renounce his or her basic citizenship, as Singapore does not allow dual citizenship, although numerous countries across the world provide the right to multiple citizenships. 

We invite you to contact our law firm in Singapore for more details on the documents one needs to prepare when relocating here. Our lawyers in Singapore are ready to assist you and provide you with the most suitable solution for your particular case, so do not hesitate to address to our team!