Watch the video or read below
Singapore is one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia. The city-state has a global reputation for its high standard of living, political stability, and strategic infrastructure. In addition to that, Singapore offers world-class healthcare services and state-of-the-art medical facilities. Its free-market economy and multiple international trading links are best for both employment and entrepreneurial ambitions.
People all over Asia are interested in settling in this city country. They know that the opportunities are many and the lifestyle is good. For the hardworking person, it is not difficult to amass a fortune. The country is also secured, there are good educational opportunities for the children.
Because of these reasons, Singapore has become the top choice for ex-pats. Many people come to Singapore on various work-related visas and eventually think of settling here. The first step of this process is obtaining the Permanent Residency (PR) status.
The PR success rate was much higher a decade ago. You could go to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building on some afternoon, take your papers along, wait for your ticket number to be called, present all copies, and show all certificates. Then, after filing, you would get your results in 3 months. And rejection of PR was unheard of, especially if you had stayed for more than two years in Singapore. However, times have changed. In the years 2008 Singapore ICA approved approximately 80,000 PRs. But government policy changed thereafter, and now ICA approves only 30,000 PRs per year.
In past you could apply with the minimum required documents and got selected. Circumstances are different now. The approval rate of a Singapore PR application is considerably lower compared to that in 2008.
The table below explains the changes in Singapore’s PR statistics in the last 12 years.
|Population Breakup: Singapore|
|Total EP/DP/SP holder||490,360||672,810|
|% population applying (25% Estimated)||122,590||168,202|
|Total PR Granted||79,167||27,500|
|2 in 3||1 in 6|
It is estimated that only one out of six applications are accepted by ICA now. The reasons for such a low acceptance rate are:
You must fulfill any of the below-mentioned Singapore PR requirements to become eligible to apply for Singapore PR.
Eligible candidates from above can submit their PR applications under various PR schemes. However, each scheme entails specific eligibility requirements depending on your profile. There are five different schemes to submit your Singapore Permanent Resident application.
Professional, Technical Personnel, and Skilled Worker (PTS) scheme are for foreigners who are S Pass, Employment Pass, PEP, & EntrePass holders. This scheme also includes their dependents.
Global Investor Program (GIP) scheme is for international investors and seasoned business owners
The sponsored scheme is available for the spouse, aged parents, and children of a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident
Foreign Students scheme is applicable to foreign students who are studying in a qualified Singapore institution. To qualify for this, you must have studied in the local educational institution and must have passed at least one national level examination.
Foreign Artistic Talent scheme is applicable to experienced artists, sportspeople, and athletes who have displayed outstanding achievements in their fields.
You must apply under the scheme that suits your circumstances best, to maximize your chances of success. Most of the Singapore PR applications (over 80%) are submitted under the PTS scheme. Therefore, we will focus mainly on this scheme throughout this article.
There is no specific best time to apply for Singapore PR. You can apply whenever you are ready and feel like you want to make Singapore your home. However, one of the required documents in your Singapore PR application is your last six months’ salary slip from your Singapore employer. Hence, you are required to wait at least six months to apply after start working in Singapore. This is the minimum time period to apply for the PR application. However, please note, we do not recommend applying PR so early. Most of the applications filed right after six months of stay in Singapore are rejected by the ICA.
It is recommended to wait for at least one year so that you have an entire year of IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) assessment. Waiting for at least one year will also give you ample time to build your profile. If you happen to be an Indian, we usually recommend at least two years of stay before you file your application.
One of the key points you will have to decide at this stage is whether you want to do the process yourself or do you want to take help from an agent? People often react with a shock to the idea of using an Agent for the PR application. The view presented often is, why do you need an agent when you can do it yourself? But sadly, people fail to notice the changed circumstances. The view was justified in 2008 when getting a PR was relatively easy. However, today there is much more competition for the same. So take your decision wisely, do not base it on hearsay views.
Hiring a PR agent can help you throughout the entire PR application process in many ways. The benefits of hiring an agent are:
A PR specialist can do an in-depth analysis of your profile and your eligibility for a successful PR application. After careful evaluation, a PR agent can offer you insights into the changes and improvements your profile needs. An agent can also tell you which scheme will be best for you based on your profile.
A PR application must meet all the ICA requirements, and a PR agent can help you ensure that you are not missing anything. More specifically an agent can help you in following ways.
A PR specialist can guide you about how you can make your profile better and stronger. If your application got rejected once and you are reapplying, this is a crucial factor. A PR agent can tell you what your profile lacks and how you can make those areas strong.
Another important task agent can help you with is ensuring that all your documents are error-free. Sometimes a tiny error can result in a negative outcome for your PR application. And the worst thing is you wouldn’t know as ICA does not disclose the rejection reason. An agent will go through all your documents and check that all the details are filed without errors. Since agents handle many cases, they are adept about documents and typical errors in it.
While not mandatory, a cover letter helps you create a good first impression and makes your application stand out from the thousands of others. A PR agent will write a concise and personalized cover letter for you.
It is essential that you consider all the factors mentioned above before applying. In addition, make sure that your profile is solid, so you do not get rejected easily. You must consider all the factors before taking this decision. If you think your profile fulfills ICA’s criteria, you should apply immediately.
There are several advantages and fewer disadvantages of being a PR in Singapore.
As a Singapore PR, you are allowed to live and work in Singapore. However, the status comes with many other benefits, namely:
Flexibility – After acquiring the Singapore PR status, you do not have to worry about visa restrictions entering Lion City. Other work visas, such as an Employment Pass, require you to leave the country within 30 days of losing your job. There are no such restrictions with a Singapore PR. Therefore, you can live and work in Singapore as long as your PR status is valid, even if you are not employed for a few months.
Better Career Options – As a PR in Singapore, you become a part of Singapore’s local workforce. You are free from the struggle of obtaining an Employment Pass for every new job you seek. You can also apply for Civil Service positions in Singapore. Since you are not required to get an employment pass, employers are also happy to recruit you as there is no extra hassle of visa application.
Entrepreneurial Opportunities – As an Employment Pass or S Pass holder, you are tied to a single company (that has sponsored your work visa) and cannot start your business in Singapore. However, being a PR, you are not restricted in this manner. You can incorporate your own business and become a local director in your company. What’s more, you can add your spouse as a director and manage the business in part-time.
Buy Resale Flat – A Singapore PR get access to all the ‘resale flat’ market. You can buy a resale HDB flat while paying a lower ABSD (Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty). The ABSD for a PR is 5% which is 20% in the case of a foreigner. As a PR, you can offset monthly house loan payments using your CPF Ordinary Accounts.
Local Education – Your kids will get priority placement in the public schools of Singapore. The government of Singapore subsidizes the cost of education to make it more affordable for Singapore Permanent Residents.
Medical Subsidies – You get access to world-class medical care and state-of-the-art medical facilities. Depending on the ward you are admitted to, you also get a specific subsidy on your treatment.
Tax Reliefs – Singapore PRs are eligible for easy approval of bank loans, and they also receive various tax reliefs from the Singapore government. In addition, Singapore PRs receive many monetary benefits from time to time.
Pathway to Singapore Citizenship – If you want to make Singapore your permanent home, the SPR marks your first step toward acquiring citizenship in Singapore. After two years of being a PR, you can apply for Singapore citizenship to settle permanently here.
CPF Plan – Once you become a PR in Singapore, you become eligible for CPF (Central Provident Fund). It is a retirement fund plan that offers reasonable interest rates.
As many benefits as Singapore PR offers, there are few disadvantages of this status. Which you need to consider before making a final decision.
PR Status is not permanent – The PR status is called Permanent Residency, but it is not permanent. It is tied with your Singapore Re-entry Permit (REP). A REP is valid for five years, and so is your PR. After five years, you must renew your REP or your PR. If you haven’t filed taxes in Singapore in the last two years (Out of this five years period), then you might face some issues while renewing your REP.
National Service Liability – Your children (male only) become liable for National Service in Singapore. Many people do not like this liability and try to find a way to avoid it.
Reduced in-hand monthly salary – Due to the CPF contributions, the salary you receive in your account may get reduced. Some part of your monthly salary is contributed to your CPF account, and your employer also makes such contributions. As you become a Singapore PR, your employer might not like the idea of paying you extra by making contributions to your CPF account. So instead, they may make the contributions from your current salary package by way of a backward calculation, which could significantly reduce your take-home pay.
CPF is locked – Your CPF account is locked except for a few usages. You can use some of your CPF money for housing, medical needs, and your kids’ education. However, you cannot use the funds from your CPF account to make lump sum investments.
HDB Buying Requirements – If you want to buy an HDB flat in Singapore, you cannot legally hold any property overseas. It could put your overseas properties at risk if you have any. You can either sell your overseas property or transfer it in any of your relative’s names. But as you guessed it, the money often involved can be huge, and there can be risks in transferring it in the name of even close relatives. Fortunately, the problem arises only when buying an HDB unit, and there is no issue when buying a condo unit.
It is always recommended to apply with your family for PR. There is one significant benefit of it. Applying with your family shows your commitment to settle down in Singapore. It also indicates that your next generation is also interested in making Singapore their home.
If you are applying alone, you must include a letter explaining why your family is not applying with you. Remember, the purpose of any immigration program is to get people to migrate and become part of society. So obviously, authorities are interested in seeing signs that your next generation also wants to settle here. If you can not demonstrate this, then why they should give Singapore PR to you?
Documents play one of the most crucial roles in your Singapore PR application process. Missing out on even one of the required documents means an incomplete submission. Moreover, errors in documents can also play their part resulting in rejection. Even a single document can change everything throughout your PR procedure. While the list of documents is clear, it is important that you ensure that all the documents are error free and correct.
Here is a checklist of all the different document types required for your Singapore PR application:
These documents are specifically required for you when you are applying:
If your spouse is applying with you, then the following documents are required from your spouse:
If you have children who are also applying to become Singapore PR, you must provide the following documents on their behalf.
If these documents are in a local language, you must attach their notarized English translations with them during submission.
You may be required to submit additional documents if your case is not ordinary. For instance, you are submitting a PR application for your child born within the context of your previous marriage. In this case, you must submit your previous marriage certificate along with your divorce certificate or death certificate of your previous spouse (whichever is applicable).
Another example is when you file a Singapore PR application form for an illegitimate child. In this scenario, you are required to file an affidavit with your home country’s embassy. You must attach this affidavit with your PR application.
Now you have decided to file a Singapore PR Application, but there are some pre-filing preparations that you should do. It is wise to prepare everything in advance rather than missing out on anything at the last moment. Also, note that you have only seven days from the start of the process to finish the submissions in the ICA e-PR system.
Keep all the required and additional documents with yourself before you start filing your application. Once you begin your PR application, you only have seven days or 168 hours to submit the rest of the documents. Therefore, you must double-check to ensure that you have all the required documents with you.
Ensure that all the data provided in your documents are accurate. Double-check all the content of your documents for errors to ensure there are no basic mistakes. Specifically for certificates, ensure that there is no incomplete information, or name mismatched, etc.
If there are errors, you must take the essential steps to rectify those errors and get the corrected documents from your home country. If your embassy allows, you can carry out those procedures in Singapore as well (recommended).
You must provide notarized translations or affidavits for documents that are in the local language. Make sure the translated documents are free from errors. For this you must engage an approved translator.
You attach scan copies of your documents with your PR application. However, once your PR status is approved, you must present the original documents to the immigration officer. Therefore, have them in your custody so you do not face any inconvenience after the success of your PR application.
Always make sure that all the documents are scanned in high resolution. Use a good scanner instead of taking a picture from your phone camera. Every tiny detail must be visible in the digital copies of your documents. If you still want to use your phone camera, then use a special app and take the scan using even lighting.
Now having prepared everything, the next step is to file the application in the ICA system. The actual PR application filing procedure can be broken down into six steps.
To start your application, you must log in to Singapore e-PR system with your Singpass. Then, you will have to download the Singapore PR application form (PDF version) from there. This marks the start of your PR application.
You must fill out the form. However, note that there is no need to print the form and write on it with a pen or pencil. Instead, fill the required spaces on the form using your computer. Make sure the data you entered is accurate and there are no errors.
The PR application form is required to be filled and uploaded to the e-PR system within seven days. Proofread once before uploading it to the system.
With your application form, attach scans of all the documents you are submitting. Ensure that all the documents are in the prescribed format, or the system will not accept them. For example, your passport-size photograph must be in JPEG format only. Other documents have to be in PDF or JPEG format.
Another point to remember is that the size of a document must not exceed 2MB.
You have to file and tick some declarations to finalize your application.
In the end, you have to pay a processing fee which marks the end of your Singapore PR application. After a few days of the lodgment, you can start checking your Singapore PR application status.
Before going ahead and submitting your PR application, you must ensure that you are not making the following mistakes. These mistakes could result in the failure of your application. So take steps if any of the following weaknesses exist.
One mistake that most people make is applying for PR status immediately after six months. At this stage, the chances of rejection are 99.99%. Therefore, it is not worth your efforts when the approval rate is a mere 0.01%. As mentioned previously, you should wait for at least a year and preferably get one full year of tax assessment.
If you have not made significant social contributions or are not socially integrated with other Singaporeans, your chances of getting rejected are high. ICA considers this factor while evaluating your application. So take some steps towards social integration.
Submitting only the minimum required documents could be a huge mistake on your part while applying. For example, you may have won a prestigious award that could help your PR application, but if you do not attach the relevant document, ICA will never come to know about it. As there are more PR applications each year, you cannot rely only on minimum documents asked by ICA. Instead, you need to add additional documents to stand out from thousands of other applicants.
Another common mistake is that people attach too many additional documents with their PR applications. For example, attaching a school certificate about you winning a singing or dance competition many years back, is entirely irrelevant. You must only include supporting documents that will help your application and are relevant at this stage. Attaching irrelevant documents may adversely impact your application.
A personalized cover letter helps you create an excellent first impression of yourself on the immigration officer. If you do not include one, you are missing out on a huge opportunity.
ICA does not disclose the criteria they use for deciding on a PR application. However, it is estimated that there are 25 factors that play a role while deciding the outcome of a PR application. These factors can be further divided into four categories, namely:
The table below shows all the 25 factors:
|Age||Are you married?||Commitment – Investment||Social Integrations|
|Family ties||Have Children||Life Insurance Coverage||Social Contributions|
|Your industry||Child in local school||Commitment – Property||Unique Talent|
|Job scope||Son Vs. Daughter||SRS Account||Unique Talent of Child/Spouse|
|Salary/Tax paid||Financial Position|
|University from Where?|
|Awards & Recognitions|
|Subject Matter Expert|
It will not be prudent to go through each criteria here as it will occupy too much space. But, we have a separate article explaining each of these criteria. So do check the same. You can check all these factors beforehand to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Then, you can work on your profile’s weak parts while keep strengthening the strong parts.
The immigration authorities generally assess the following:
The ICA wants to ensure that you are well-educated, skilled, and a good fit for Singaporean society.
The ICA wants to assess the level of commitment you have towards the city-state.
If the ICA grants you PR and you leave Singapore in the next few years, it will not make sense. ICA carefully examines every application to ensure that they are giving the PR status to candidates who want to make Singapore their home.
ICA also wants to consider the fact that your children will continue settling in Singapore. Here’s a scenario to understand it better. Suppose you are married with kids and applying for Singapore PR. Everyone in your family is applying except your male child. This gives the impression that your male child is trying to avoid the NS liability. However, it also means that your children may not like to be Singapore citizens in the future. ICA is less likely to prefer such a PR application as it wants to grant PR status to those who wish to settle and stay in Singapore permanently.
The Singapore government has set aside approximately 30,000 quotas for new PRs in Singapore every year. From 2015 to 2019, ICA has approved 31,700 (on average) permanent residency applications each year. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the numbers of new PRs in Singapore were less.
As we understand, these quotas are further divided into quarters, with ICA granting 7,500 (approximately) applications every quarter. It can further be divided into more subcategories based on age group, industry, ethnicity etc. However, ICA has not disclosed it.
When you submit a new Singapore PR application, it becomes part of a subcategory in that quarter and gets assessed on those factors. If your application is not approved in this quarter, then it may be considered in next quarter quota.
The PR application takes months to process. In this time, your profile may go through many significant changes, such as:
Many people do not contact ICA after filing their PR application. However, you must inform ICA whenever there is a significant change in your profile.
For instance, you get a new job where the salary is much higher than before. Or, you get a promotion, and your wage gets increased significantly. In addition, you may have won a prestigious award in your industry or passed an exam that boosted your qualification.
All these factors could positively affect your PR application, and it is highly advisable to inform ICA immediately about any of them.
Once you have filed your PR application with all the required documents, the only thing that remains is to wait for the results. You must also remain prepare for the post-approval process if your application gets approved. Generally, you can check the status in the e-PR system from time to time.
Generally, ICA takes around six to nine months to declare the outcome of your application. So if you get the results in three months, it is most probably a rejection. However, if it takes longer, it is still good news as successful applications take longer. Similarly, receiving a thick envelope means that your application probably got approved as there are many other documents along with the results.
Of course now a days people come to know about the status by checking on-line.
Once you receive ICA’s letter that your PR application is approved, you must do two essential things.
Medical Test – You and your family members have to undergo a medical check-up after getting your PR applications approved. The check-up usually involves a chest x-ray and an HIV blood test. The approval letter contains a format for the medical report as well.
Completing all formalities at the ICA’s Office – You have to make an appointment to visit ICA’s office for the post-approval procedure. You can also visit ICA’s website to make the appointment electronically. Your approval letter contains a list of documents that you must carry during your visit. The immigration officer will collect the documents and do the other formalities like fingerprinting, signing, etc.
Generally, you have to carry the following documents to the ICA’s office:
You are also required to make the payments for entry permit, re-entry permit, and identity card registration.
Once all the formalities are complete, you will receive the following:
Remember that you will have to make another appointment to obtain your NRIC separately (National Registration Identity Card).
After this final step, you are a full-fledged Singapore permanent resident. Therefore, you must do the following as soon as you become a Singapore PR:
Your PR application can get rejected for several reasons. As disheartening it can be, you still have two options after receiving the bad news.
ICA allows you to submit one appeal letter for your rejected PR application. However, it is not easy to overturn the decision of ICA unless you have made significant improvements in your profile. Remember that you can only make one appeal, so try to make it as good as possible.
Some tips for a good appeal letter:
Make sure you have the required documents to back your claim.
The second option after a rejected PR application is to wait and reapply after six months. This option is recommended as it will give you ample time to work on your profile. For instance, your salary may have increase in these six months. In addition, you may have got a promotion. Also, your duration of stay in Singapore gets increased.
As Singapore has tightened the criteria for a PR application, engaging the services of a PR agent is your best option. You must also carefully measure all the advantages and disadvantages of being a Singapore PR before applying. Applying with your family gives a good impression. Work on your profile, and do not apply just for the sake of applying. Your application must show that you genuinely want to be a part of Singapore.