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How to Gain Permanent Residence in Singapore

In this article, we will discuss how migrants living in Singapore can gain permanent residency for themselves and their family members. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London.

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The sovereign island city-state of Singapore is known the world over for its thriving and modern economy, stable democratic government, and stunning skyline. It also boasts the world’s largest seaport for cargo. For these reasons, and many more, thousands of skilled professionals make the move to live in Singapore each year, and many of those go on to secure permanent residency. In this article, we will discuss how migrants living in Singapore can gain permanent residency for themselves and their family members.

What Are The Main Routes To Permanent Residency In Singapore?

  • As a Spouse of a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident - Spouses and the unmarried children who are under 21 years old (born within the context of a legal marriage or legally adopted) of a Singapore Citizen/ Permanent Resident are eligible to apply for permanent residence in Singapore.
  • As a child of a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident – This route is only available to children who are unmarried, aged below 21, born within the context of a legal marriage to, or have been legally adopted by an eligible parent in Singapore.
  • As an aged parent of a Singapore citizen - This route is only open to aged parents of Singapore citizens. Parents of permanent residents may need to apply for a Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) instead.
  • As the holder of an Employment Pass or S Pass - Any migrant working in Singapore on an Employment Pass or S Pass can submit an application for permanent residence (PR) to ICA. The application can include their spouse and any unmarried children aged below 21 who was born to him/her within the context of a legal marriage or has been legally adopted by him/her.
  • As an international student studying in Singapore – This route is open to international students who are studying in Singapore. To be eligible, they must have resided in Singapore for more than two years prior to applying or have passed at least one national exam (i.e. PSLE or GCE ‘N’/’O’/’A’ levels)
  • As a foreign investor in Singapore – Under the Global Investor Programme (GIP), it is possible to acquire Permanent Residence in Singapore if you are an eligible investor who intends to invest in Singapore and has a “substantial business track record and successful entrepreneurial background”.

Immigration applications in Singapore are handled by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority Singapore (ICA). The guidance published by ICS states that when assessing an application for permanent resident, they take into account “factors such as the individual’s family ties to Singaporeans, economic contributions, qualifications, age, family profile and length of residency, to assess the applicant’s ability to contribute to Singapore and integrate into our society, as well as his or her commitment to sinking roots”.

How Do I Apply For Permanent Residence In Singapore?

As you would expect of a highly modern and digital state, the process of applying for permanent residence in Singapore is completed online using the ICA’ e-Service. The application guidance explains that you can submit a PR application online with a valid Singpass account if you are a/an:

  • Singapore citizen or applying for Permanent Residence for your spouse or for your child who is unmarried and aged under 21
  • Singapore citizen applying Permanent Residence for your aged parent
  • Employment Pass or S Pass holder applying Permanent Residence for self.

The guidance also states, “If you are a student currently studying in Singapore, you may access the e-Service using your Foreign Identification Number (FIN) and the issuance date of your valid immigration pass. If you are a foreign investor in Singapore, you can apply for permanent residence at the Singapore Economic Development Board under the Global Investor Programme”.

For those who are not familiar with a Singpass, this is a pass that enables citizens and permanent residents of Singapore to securely and easily access a range of government services across 60 different agencies. As such, you will need a Singpass in order to apply for permanent residence.

At the point of application, you will need to pay a processing fee of S$100, which is non-refundable. In the event that you receive a positive decision on your PR application in Singapore, you will then need to pay another set of fees, as follows:

  • S$20 for Entry Permit
  • S$50 for a 5-year Re-Entry Permit
  • S$50 for Identity Card
  • S$30 per Entry Visa

How Long Will It Take To Receive A Decision On My Singapore Permanent Residence Application?

Applications for permanent residence in Singapore are typically processed within four to six months, with the time depending on the circumstances of your case. On processing times, the ICS states, “All applications for PR are carefully considered and reviewed by ICA. Generally, PR applications take about four to six months to process, provided all the required documents are submitted. Depending on the complexity of the case, some applications may take more than six months to process”.

Once a decision has been made on your application, you will be sent a letter by post. It is also possible to see the progress of your application using the online portal.

Final Words

Applicants considering permanent residency should also be aware of the requirement to undertake National Service in Singapore. This applies to both Singapore citizens and permanent residence holders. The guidance states, “Under the Enlistment Act, all male Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, unless exempted1, are required to serve National Service (NS). Following the completion of full-time NS, they will be required to serve up to 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) per year for the duration of their ORNS training cycle, till the age of 50 years (for officers) or 40 years (for other ranks)”. This is clearly a major consideration for most applicants and one you will need to consider both for yourself and your family members. If you have any questions on this or any other aspect of permanent residence in Singapore, it is well worth speaking to your local ICA office or to an immigration lawyer before you apply.

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