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Obtain a Residence Permit in Singapore

Obtain a Residence Permit in Singapore

Types of residence permits one can obtain in Singapore in 2024

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.

 Quick Facts  
  Temporary residence permit types Foreigners can obtain a residence permit in Singapore for work purposes, for business and investment or for family reunification purposes. 


Time needed to obtain the temporary residence permit (approx.) It depends on the type of document the person needs. The issuance formalities can take 3-8 weeks. .  

Temporary residence permit validity

 It depends on the visa program, but in general, the validity is of 1-2 years. However, under certain programs, one can obtain a residence permit in Singapore for only 6 months (such as the Work Training Permit). 
Documents for obtaining temporary residence

As a general rule, the following are necessary:
– a valid passport;
– confirmed flight tickets;
– proof of having sufficient financial funds to live in Singapore;
– the visa obtained by the foreigner (where applicable);
– health rules can apply for certain nationalities, such as having a yellow fever vaccination proof. 

Mandatory registrations with state authorities (i.e. with the population/municipality register) It depends on the program – the Global Investor Program directly grants permanent residency to successful applicants. 
Residency for individuals married to a citizen of the country

It depends on the visa that the spouse first obtained when arriving here.  

Documents for obtaining permanent residence – Passport photo;
– information on the educational background;
– the qualifications of the applicant;
– travel documents;
– previous visas obtained in Singapore (for work visas holders) and other papers as per the requirements of each visa type.  


Naturalization requirements – the applicant has been a permanent resident for at least 2 years;
– the person is married with a Singaporean citizen and has been living in Singapore as a permanent resident for 2 years;
– the person is the child or the aged parent of a Singapore citizen. 
Citizenship after permanent residence Minimum 2 years of permanent residency are required.  
Dual citizenship permitted in Singapore (Yes/No) No, but there is one exemption – children born abroad from Singaporean parents can have the Singaporean citizenship and the citizenship of the other country until the age of 21. 
 Parties that must apply for a residence permit  All foreign nationals are required to apply for a suitable permit when relocating here on a short/long-term basis or permanent.  

 When is a person required to apply for a residence permit 

 The residence permit is required for any stay longer than 90 days at a time.  

 Where to collect the permanent residence permit?  

 Persons who acquired permanent residence in Singapore must collect their permit from the Permanent Residence Services Centre. 

 Renewal possible (yes/no)  Yes
 Deadline to apply for the renewal of permit 

3 months prior to the expiry date of the document.   

 Apply for a tax number (yes/no) 


 When it is required to have a tax number  

 The tax number is necessary for opening a bank account, for credit cards, for dealing with local institutions, applying for loans, employment, etc.

There are 2 types of tax numbers – Tax Identification Number (TIN) for citizens and permanent residents, and Foreign Identification Number (FIN) for foreigners who are not permanent residents. 

 Fees charged for the issuance of the residence card 


 Fees charged for the issuance of the residence renewal 


 Law regulating the issuance of residence permits in Singapore    Immigration Act 1959
 Does Singapore apply penalties for expired permits? (yes/no) 


 When can Singapore apply penalties for expired documents? 

 At any moment after the expiry of a residency document that has not been renewed, provided that the permit holder did not take any measures (such as addressing the institutions for providing a temporary legal solution).  

 Application requirements for minors 

 Minors are persons with an age below 21 years old.

They can apply for permanent residence in Singapore if they are the children of a Singapore permanent resident and if they are unmarried at the date of the application. 

 Health insurance requirements 

For visitors is not mandatory to sign a health insurance policy, but it is highly recommended.

For workers in Singapore, the health insurance must have a value of minimum S$15,000 per year (the thresholds vary based on the visa the foreign has).  

 What is the fee for an identity card in Singapore?    Persons who acquire permanent residence in Singapore can obtain a Singapore identity card, which costs S$50. 

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 citizenor of a foreigner who has the Singapore PR

Singaporean citizens and permanent residents can apply for a Singaporean identity card. The document can be issued once a person reaches the age of 15 years old. The institutions in charge will ask applicants to pay a processing fee, which, in 2024, is $10 for those who are Singaporean citizens and $50 for those who are permanent residents

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. The time frame for obtaining a residence permit in Singapore is 3 to 8 weeks, while in other countries, such as Italy, it may take up to 3 months to get the Italian residency.

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. 

If you will qualify for Singaporean citizenship, after the formalities are completed, you will have the right to apply for a passport. If you apply in 2024, you need to pay a fee of $70 for online applications or $80 for in-person applications.

A person has the right to apply for a passport in several situations, such as: the document has expired, it has run out of empty pages, it was lost or damaged in any other ways, or the person is a first time applicant as a new citizen or as a Singaporean born citizen, applying for this document.  

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 Singaporefor those who need to obtain a residence permit have generally not changed in 2024, 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 aDependentPass 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.

If you want to migrate to Singapore in 2024, you have to take into account that the processing of the application for permanent residency can take approximately 6 months. 

Also, you must know that as a holder of a permanent residence permit in Singapore you must also have a Re-Entry Permit. This document is issued to all successful permanent residence applicants

This is necessary when the person travels overseas and it grants the right to maintain the residency and the right to re-enter the Singaporean territory, so this document must always be valid when being outside the country. 

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 lawyerswill 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 law on immigration to Singapore regarding the military service requirements imposed to permanent residents is rather stringent. Thus, it must be noted that persons who are permanent residents and who were accepted in universities will first have to complete the military service. 

There are no exemptions from this, regardless of the types of university studies or if the studies have already begun.  

Our immigration lawyers in Singapore can present more details concerning the law on military service. Please mind that persons who are permanent residents and who do not list when necessary for this mandatory civil obligation can be negatively impacted. 

They can have issues with their permanent residency, the ability to work, to study here and this negative impact can be extended to family members as well (issues when applying for visas, for example).  

Below, you can watch a short video on the residence permit in Singapore

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.

Please know that when you will initiate the application for a residence permit, you will also be asked to pay a processing fee. In 2024, the fee is charged at a fixed rate of $100 (non-refundable, regardless of the outcome of the application). 

Further on, successful applicants will have to pay in 2024 an additional fee for the issuance of the permament residency card, which will be charged with a fee of $20 to $50.