Guide to Singapore Citizenship and Permanent Residence - 2022 Update

 

Singapore is one of the best countries in the world to live in. It has great health care, a low crime rate, good schools, and many jobs and business opportunities. People are drawn to Singapore because it has so many benefits compared to other countries in Southeast Asia.

It is not surprising that foreigners want to apply for a PR (Permanent Resident) status so they can enjoy the benefits it offers. The PR status also puts you in a good position to apply for Singapore citizenship if everything works out well.

  • What does it take to become a Singapore PR?

  • What are the things you need to apply for Singapore citizenship?

  • How much money will be needed?

We’ll answer these questions and more in this complete guide.

Definition of a Singapore Permanent Resident

So what’s the difference between a Singapore Permanent Resident and a Singapore Citizen? 

Well, Singapore citizens share some of the same benefits of Singapore Permanent Resident. For example, SPR’s have access to property purchases, subsidized healthcare, and subsidized education. The only thing they are not able to do is to vote and hold political offices. 

Singapore citizen enjoys those benefits above and more and they also gain access to one of the most powerful passports in the world. But before you can become a citizen, you need to be a Singapore Permanent Resident first. 

What are the Five Schemes Available for Singapore Permanent Residency?

The Singapore government provides you with five schemes to secure a Singapore permanent residence status for you and your family. 

  • Professionals/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker scheme (PTS)

  • Sponsored Scheme for your Foreign Spouse and Unmarried Children

  • Global Investor Program (GIP)

  • Foreign Artistic Talent Programme (ForArts)

  • Foreign Student Option

PTS Scheme - Singapore PR Application for EP/S-Pass/PEP Holders

The easiest and most common scheme made available to foreigners working in Singapore is the PTS Scheme. 

To qualify for the scheme, you need to be a holder of one of these visas: 

  • Employment Pass or EP

  • Entrepreneur Pass or EntrePass

  • S-Pass

You also need to submit a payslip with at least six months worth of salary and that you have to be currently employed at the time of application. 

Sponsored Scheme for Foreign Spouse and Unmarried Children

Singapore makes it easy for PR and citizenship applicants to bring their families to the country. This is made possible through what’s called the Sponsored Scheme. 

The Sponsored Scheme is intended for spouses and children of a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident. 

Spouses and children who are Dependent Pass (DP) holders can also apply for PR through the same sponsorship. For both cases (dependents in Singapore and not in Singapore), the sponsor needs to be a Singapore PR or Singapore Citizen. 

The eligibility criteria are as follows: 

  • Spouse of a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident

  • Unmarried children below 21 years of age and born within the context of a legal marriage, or legally adopted by a Singapore citizen or SPR.

For male PR or citizen sponsors, they are exempted from the National Service Liability. But their children are not. Their male children, as long as they are physically and mentally healthy, are required to comply with National Service.  

Global Investor Program (GIP)

Singapore is keen on acquiring foreign investors who are driven to establish their businesses and investments in the country. With a strong business track record and a solid entrepreneurial background, a foreign investor or business owner can qualify for Singapore PR through the Global Investor Programme (GIP) scheme. 

The GIP is a scheme administered by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Ministry of Manpower (MoM), which makes it different from all the other four schemes listed here. Application for the GIP scheme is done through the EDB site, instead of the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) website. 

To qualify for the GIP scheme, the applicant must: 

  • Invest a minimum amount of S$2.5 million directly in a Singapore company or in a GIP fund that invests in Singapore companies

  • Have a minimum of three-year entrepreneurial and business track record and must provide audited financial statements of their company for the last three years. 

  • Have a turnover of at least S$200 million the year for their company before the application date and an average turnover of S$200 million annually immediately preceding three years before application. The applicant’s contribution is taken into account here. 

Foreign investors who want to go the investment route will need to comply with one of the three options. 

  • Option A will need a minimum investment of S$2.5 million in 

  • A new Singapore business entity or

  • An expansion of an existing business

Investors going for Option A will need to provide a 5-year business or investment plan for the future. 

  • Option B will need a minimum investment of S$2.5 million in a GIP fund investing in Singapore companies. You can refer to the list of approved GIP Funds

  • Option C requires a minimum investment of S$2.5 million in a new or existing Singapore-based Single family office with Assets Under Management (AUM) of at least S$200 million.

This table will show you what option is viable for you depending on how you qualify:

Profile Established Business Owners Next Generation Business Owners Founders of Fast Growth Companies Family Office Principals
To Qualify a) You must possess at least 3 years of entrepreneurial and business track record; a) Your immediate family should have at least 30% shareholding or is the largest shareholder inthe company you use to qualify; a) You must be a founder and one of the largest individual shareholders of a company witha valuation of at least S$500 million; a) You must possess at least 5 years of entrepreneurial,investment or management track record;
b) You should currently be running a company 1 with an annual turnoverof at least S$200 million in the year immediately preceding your application,and at least S$200 million per annum on averagefor the three years immediately preceding your application; b) This company’s annual turnover must be at least S$500 millionin the year immediately preceding your application, and at least S$500 million per annumon average for the three years immediately preceding yourapplication; b) Your company must be invested into by reputable Venture Capital /Private Equity firms; b) You must have net investible assets of at least S$200 million.(NB: Net Investible Assets include allfinancial assets, such as bank deposits, capital market products, collective investment schemes,premiums paid in respect of life insurance policies and other investment products, excluding real estate.)
c) If your company is privately held , you should have at least 30% shareholding in the company; c) You must be part of the management team of the company (e.g. C-suite / Board of Directors); c) Your company must be engaged in one or more of the industries listed in Annex B.
d) Your company must be engaged in one or more of the industries listed in Annex B. d) Your company must be engaged in one or more of the industries listed in Annex B.
Investment Options Option A or B or C Option C

Foreign Artistic Talent Programme

Are you a musician? You could apply for Singapore PR through the Foreign Artistic Talent Programme.

The artistic scenes in Singapore have witnessed massive growth in recent years. This is in line with the nation's goal to turn into a regional arts club. Do you have any talents that lie in the form of music, dance, photography, arts, literature, film, or theatre? 

If you answered yes, you can apply for Singapore permanent residency via the Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme (ForArts). 

The Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme (ForArts) was first introduced in 1991 and incentivized professionals in the art industry to become Singapore permanent residents. This was the country’s way of appreciating their contributions to the art scene. 

The scheme allowed talented individuals to take part in the growth and development of Singapore’s art and cultural landscape. 

The scheme is administered by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and National Arts Council (NAC). The NAC will handle assessment of all ForArts applicants but ICA will have the final say on these PR applications. 

Applicants going through the ForArts scheme will need to meet the minimum criteria: 

  • Relevant training and education in their field of practice

  • Relevant professional experience with outstanding achievements in any of the following field: 

    • Performing Arts

    • Visual Arts

    • Literary Arts

    • Design

    • Media

  • Made significant contributions to Singapore’s art and culture scene, including a strong track record of local engagements at a leadership level

  • Have concrete plans for continued involvement in Singapore’s art and culture sector. 

If an applicant does not meet the minimum criteria, he or she can still make a direct application for PR via ICA’s website. ICA has different assessment criteria and considerations. 

Creative industry professionals are also considered for the ForArts scheme as long as they meet the minimum criteria on top of their professional and commercial engagements in the various industries mentioned above. 

Student Option

Singapore’s education system is globally competitive and graduating from any of their educational institutions can put you ahead of everyone else. 

Students who are holders of Student Pass are eligible to apply for PR as long as they are studying in the country at the time of application. 

Foreigh students can apply for PR at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority for consideration. 

They need to meet the minimum criteria: 

  • Have resided in Singapore for more than two years at the time of application

  • Have passed at least one national exam (GCE ‘N’/’O’/’A’ levels or PSLE) or are in Integrated Programme (IP). 

Male applicants who are granted PR status or were sponsored by their parents’ for PR application are required to register for the National Service once they reach 16 ? years of age and enlist by the time they reach 18 years old. 


Will you qualify for any of these schemes?

We’ll be more than to consult with you. Simply fill up the form below and hit the Submit button.

Name

National Service Liability for Singapore PR and Citizens

Singapore citizens and permanent residents are required to go through military training called National Service. Your male children will go through this service by the time they’re 18, even if they were sponsored for SPR. 

The National Service was first introduced in 1967 to augment the military defence of Singapore, instill discipline, and develop strong leadership skills into male Singaporeans. This is the equivalent of the mandatory 2-year military service in South Korea for all male citizens. 

Under the Enlistment Act, male Singapore Citizens and PRs are required to register for NS by the time they’re 16 ? years of age. They will commence their service full-time by the time they reach 18 years old. 

Their service constitutes 40 days of Operationally Ready NS (ORNS) every year until they reach the age of 50 for officers and 40 for other ranks. 

There are instances of deferment and exemptions for the National Service, which you can read up on CMFB’s website. 

Not completing your NS or not applying for NS will greatly affect your PR renewal and possibly citizenship application. 

What Are the Documents Needed for Singapore PR Application?

These are the documents needed for applying for Singapore PR. These are curated from the ICA website, for which we'll provide an individual link.

Foreign investors can go through the Singapore Economic Development Board under the Global Investor Programme for the list of requirements.

For artists and creative professionals, they will need to go through the Singapore National Arts Council under the Foreign Artistic Talent Programme for the list of requirements. 

What is the Singapore Permanent Residence Application Process?

Applications for Permanent Residence are submitted online through ICA e-Service. You can submit your application online through SingPass as long as you have a valid account and if you are:

  • Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident applying for spouse or child (unmarried and under 21)

  • Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident applying for an aged parent

  • Employment Pass or S-Pass holder is applying PR for self.

Students currently studying in Singapore may access e-Service via their FIN or Foreign Identification Number together with the issuance date of their immigration pass.

Foreign investors and business owners looking to secure a PR through the GIP scheme will need to go through the Singapore Economic Development Board under the Global Investor Programme.

Foreign artists and creative professional securing a PR through the ForArts scheme will go through the National Arts Council (NAC) for their application. 

For applicants going through the GIP scheme, the process is a bit different. 

  1. Applicants will go through the EDB website to submit the completed application forms. They will then be invited for an interview by the EDB. 

  2. When an applicant meets the assessment criteria, the ICA will issue an Approval-In-Principle (AIP) which is valid for six months and allows the investors to come into singapore to make the necessary investments for their selected investment options (A or B). 

  3. Once the investment has been made, the applicant will provide documents of the investments made to the EDB. These documents include bank statements and true copy of share certificates among others. They will also need to submit the Investment Undertaking on the Terms and Conditions of investments made. 

  4. Once these investment documents are verified by the EDB, ICA will issue the final approval letter. The applicant will then need to formalize his or her PR status within twelve months from the date of the approval letter. 

Applicants going through the ForArts scheme also have a different process. 

  1. Applicants will need to go to the website and complete the downloadable application form along with a copy of their CV to the NAC managers. 

  2. Suitable applicants are contacted by the NAC to submit additional documents for assessment. Applicants will be informed of the outcome within three months after NAC receives all the requested documents. 

  3. Successful applicants chosen for the ForArts Scheme will need to complete ICA’s PR Application Form and provide the necessary documents. This will be submitted together with NAC’s recommendation for the ForArts scheme. 

ICA is the final authority on all PR applications.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the entire process, you can always get in touch with us. Talk to us on WhatsApp and we’ll get your questions sorted.

What are the SPR Application Fees?

You'll need to pay a processing fee of S$100, which is non-refundable per PR applicant at the time of submission. You will not get refunded this application fee if your application is rejected.

If the Singapore PR application is successful, you'll need to pay the following fees per PR applicant:

  • S$100 for Entry Permit for applications submitted before Dec 18 2017

  • S$20 for Entry Permit for PR applications submitted from Dec 18 2017, onwards

  • S$50 for a 5-year Re-Entry Permit

  • S$50 for Identity Card

  • S$30 per Entry Visa (foreigners requiring a visa)

Processing Time for SPR Application

It usually takes four to six months for ICA to review and process each PR application, assuming that all documents are properly filed and submitted. Some applications may take longer than six months if the case is complex.

There are five steps to the application process:

  1. Data Verification

  2. Document Verification

  3. Processing

  4. Outcome Finalization

  5. Notification of Outcome

You will know whether or not your PR application is approved through post but you can check the status of the application via MyICA or e-Service. You don't need to contact ICA during the time they are processing your application.

Repeated or new applications for the same person are not accepted while there is an ongoing application in queue.

Singapore Citizenship Application

Like other countries, there are pros and cons to becoming a Singapore Citizen. But the most significant disadvantage here is Singapore does not honour dual citizenship. Foreigners looking to apply for citizenship will need to renounce their current citizenship if their application is approved. If you are unsure about renouncing your current citizenship, you might as well apply for a Singapore PR status.

But that is a minor setback compared to what you are getting. The Singapore passport is considered one of the most powerful passports globally as passport holders enjoy visa-free access to more than 180 countries and territories. Citizens also enjoy subsidies on education, housing, employment, and healthcare.

There are six steps to applying for Singapore citizenship, but they're not as straightforward as applying for a Singapore permanent residency.

Step 1: Reviewing Your Eligibility

The first step to the Singapore citizenship journey is reviewing your eligibility.

These are the people who're eligible for applying for a Singaporean citizenship

  • An individual at least 21 years of age and has been a holder of permanent residence status for at least two years before the application

  • Spouse of Singapore citizen who's been a permanent resident for at least two years before the application. 

  • Child born outside Singapore but parents are Singapore citizens, and must be below 21 years of age and unmarried

  • Students granted a PR status while applying for citizenship and have resided in Singapore for at least three years (at least one of which should be a PR) and passed at least one National Exam (PSLE, GCE N/O/A levels, etc) or in the Integrated Programme (IP).

  • A PR and an aged parent of a Singapore Citizen

Other than the above mentioned criteria, the following aspects play a crucial role in deciding the result of the citizenship application. These include:

  • Your track record while living in Singapore during your time as a Singapore PR holder

  • Your ability to abide by the law

  • Your social and financial investment in Singapore, which will indicate your intention to stay in the country long-term

  • Your capability of being resourceful for the nation and not turning into a liability. That is your potential to produce wealth for yourself and your loved ones, whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee and your entire financial capacity.

Step 2: Preparing Citizenship Application and Supporting Documents

Your second step involves preparing the necessary documents, both application and supporting documents. These are the forms you need to download and complete:

You'll need to complete the application form and prepare the supporting documents mentioned in the links above. Make sure that you have the original copies and photocopies of these documents:

  • Existing passport

  • Birth Certificate

  • Marriage Certificate; Divorce Certificate; Separation Deed

  • Singapore PR card and PR certificate

  • Educational certificates (high school and above)

  • Death Certificate of an ex-spouse or proof of children's custody from the previous marriage

  • Deed Poll or change of name (religious certificate) if applicable

  • Foreign citizenship certificate

  • Certificate of employment or letter of employment from employer

  • Income tax notice of assessment for the last three years

  • For employed, your payslips for the last six months and CPF contributions for 12 months

  • For business owners, the latest ACRA business profile together with the balance sheet or profit and loss account of your business

You can also file for your spouse's and children's citizenship application together with yours as long as they are permanent residents and have met the eligibility criteria listed above.

Your spouse will need the same documents above. Your children will require a birth certificate, passport, and PR certificate. Take note that your family application is approved or rejected at the same time.

Although not required, these documents will significantly help in your citizenship application:

  • A cover letter goes well with your application. This should summarize the critical points of your application (i.e. why you decided to want to become a citizen, what your financial strengths are, and so on).

  • If you purchased any property in Singapore during your stay, you might include the proof of purchases as supporting documents.

  • Along with proof of purchases, it would help if you could prove any significant financial assets if any.

The bottom line here is that you need to convince the Singapore government that you are good enough to be approved.

Step 3: Completing the Application Procedure

Assuming you have the necessary application and supporting documents, it's time to proceed with the application.

All Singapore citizenship applications need to be submitted online using the ICA e-Service. Individual file sizes of documents should not exceed 2MB. 

There is a non-refundable processing fee of S$100, which is payable upfront for every application.

If the application is successful, you'll need to pay S$70 for the Singapore Citizenship Certificate. New citizens aged 15 years old and above must obtain the pink National Registration Identity Card for a fee of S$10.

Step 4: Waiting for the Outcome and Singapore Citizenship Application Processing Time

It may take anywhere between six months and up to a year to determine whether or not your application is successful. 

As the main applicant or sponsor, you can check the application status or view updates on an application status via MyICA. Clarifications or status updates will be sent to the main applicant or sponsor, so be sure to provide a working email address during the application.

The Singapore Citizenship roadmap shows that how you can become a Singapore citizen in 4 simple steps

Step 5: The Oath Taking Event and Officially Becoming a Singapore Citizen

You'll receive the citizenship approval letter via regular postal. You'll then need to visit the ICA office to take your Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance, and Loyalty (ORAL). Remember, there's a renunciation oath because Singapore does not allow dual citizenship.

Your approval letter will contain the appointment date and time for your oath-taking event. You'll need to prepare the following documents:

  1. Original and photocopy of the Renunciation Letter of Foreign Citizenship.

  2. Your PR Card or Blue Identity Card

  3. Other documents listed in the approval letter

For the Renunciation Letter of Foreign Citizenship, you'll have to visit your country's embassy and give up your citizenship after receiving the citizenship approval letter. Remember that you can't become a dual citizen in Singapore.

The embassy will submit the sworn statement of renouncement and send it to the concerned authorities back in your home country for processing. This may take anywhere between one months and up to a year. You'll receive a notification from your embassy that they've processed your application. Once they finish processing, you'll get an official certificate that you lost your nationality.

Don't worry since between the time it takes to wait for the renunciation certificate, your country's embassy will provide you with a letter that states they're currently working on the application, which you can submit to the ICA. This letter will be a temporary substitute for the Loss of Citizenship certificate.

Once you are finished meeting with the officer, you can apply for a Singapore passport on the spot when you complete an application for the issuance of a passport. This shouldn't take you less than 5 minutes to complete because it's still filed in the ICA office.

You'll need to pay S$70 for each passport application via NETS. Your passport will be mailed to you between three and five days via registered post.

Step 6: Singapore Citizenship Ceremony

Three to four months after taking your oath, you'll be asked to attend another event. This time, it's for the Citizenship Ceremony. This is held at your nearest local community centre near your residential area.

Your attendance at this ceremony is compulsory, except for infants, aged adults, or disabled adults.

All new citizens in the area will be attending the ceremony together, so you'll need to bring in the following documents:

  • Letters you received from ICA

  • Your temporary identity card

This program lasts for about two hours and is attended by a state minister and your local MP. The programme will consist of:

  • Guest of honor speech

  • Singing of national anthem

  • Reciting the pledge

  • Presentation of pink Identity Cards (NRIC) and Citizenship certificates

  • Group photo

  • Reception

And once that's all said and done, congratulations! You are officially a Singaporean citizen, with perks and all.

Singapore Citizenship Application Fees

This table will show you the associated fees for the Singapore citizenship application.

Updated Fees For Citizenship Application
Processing/Upfront Fees Successful Applicant Fees
Adult Permanent Residents (PR) and Children of PR S$100 for each application S$70 for Singapore Citizenship Certificate
S$10 for Singapore Identity Card
Overseas Born Children to Singapore Citizen Parents S$18 for each application
(inclusive of certificate)
S$10 for Singapore Identity Card
(For Children aged 15 and up)
All Other Overseas or Locally Born Children S$100 for each application S$70 for Singapore Citizenship Certificate
S$10 for Singapore Identity Card
 

Closing

The Singapore government is open to the arrival of professionals who can contribute to the country's development. If you have any questions on becoming a Singapore PR or on becoming a Singapore citizen, we would be more than happy to assist you. Shoot us an email or talk to us on WhatsApp! now.