Temporary Residence Permits in Singapore: Simple Guide

Singapore, a bustling metropolis known for its towering skyscrapers, lush green spaces, and multicultural tapestry, attracts people from all corners of the globe.

Whether you’re coming for work, study, or family reasons, navigating the process for obtaining a temporary residence permit is your first step towards planting roots in this vibrant city-state.

This guide aims to simplify this journey, offering a straightforward path through Singapore’s permit process, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your new adventure in the Lion City.

Let’s dive in!

What Are The Differences Between Temporary And Permanent Residency Permits?

If you want to live in Singapore for an extended period, remember there is a difference between applying for a temporary residence permit and becoming a permanent resident of Singapore. 

A resident of Singapore has access to many opportunities that a non-resident does not. Singaporeans also have access to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), an obligatory savings system that helps you get lower-cost housing and a pension, among other perks.

The employment pass or the work permit can help you temporarily stay in Singapore. The work permit is valid for at least two years. If you renew your employment pass, it will be suitable for another three years. 

This article will help you know different work permits to stay in Singapore temporarily. 

What Are The Work Permits And The Employment-Based Visas?

If you are planning to move to Singapore, you must get an employment visa (or work permit) rather than a business visa to work in the Lion City lawfully. Luckily, there are numerous work visas and permits to consider. 

These permits, usually, are only workable for two years and do not provide you with permanent residency.

Singapore Work Visa Requirements

In general, all employees must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Singapore work visa:

• Possess a valid passport

• The age must be at least 18 years old

• Be qualified for the role (with supporting documentation from approved institutions)

 • Work exclusively within the scope of their role.

All employees must have the appropriate work visa. If you are relocating with a business, they should be able to assist you with this. If not, skilled expats will likely require one of the following visas:

  • Employment Pass: For international professionals, managers, and executives with a monthly salary of around 3,600 SGD (2,600 USD) and necessary qualifications.
  • S Pass: For mid-level skilled staff who will earn at least 2,400 SGD (1,700 USD) per month and meet the assessment criteria. Valid for up to two years.

Employees in the entertainment, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process, construction, or services sectors can also obtain specific work permits.

What Is the Cost Of A Work Visa?

Visa Cost SGD Cost USD Employment Pass 230 165 S Pass 175 125

Application Form For Work Visa

Organizations or companies must apply for work permits to help the employees. You should be aware that your company may use the services of an employment agency during the procedure in order to assist you in this regard.

Employers from other countries must ask a Singapore-based corporation to act as a local sponsor. The employee’s application will be submitted on their behalf by the local sponsor.

The processes for obtaining an employment pass or S pass are comparable.

Before applying for employment or S pass, you must acquire:

  • Written consent for your company or agent to apply on your behalf
  • A copy of your passport’s information page. You should also provide an explanation letter and supporting documents, such as a deed poll if the name on your passport varies from the name on your other legal papers.
  • Your educational certificates are verified by a global verification agency (if they are from an institution not listed on the application form).

Your company will be expected to provide its latest business profile or instant information as registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

When the application has been submitted, the processing time is generally around three weeks for online applications and eight weeks for manual applications.

What Are the Processes Following the Submission Of A Work Visa Application?

Your employer should acquire a letter of Principal Approval (IPA). You will be given a copy of this, and the employer will have 6 months to bring you to Singapore to issue an employment pass or only 60 days if asking for an S pass. You must be present in Singapore to receive your pass.

When you arrive in Singapore to obtain your permit, you should bring the following documents:

• A copy of your current immigration passes and disembarkation/embarkation card

• A medical examination or health declaration form

• A Singapore residential address that matches housing regulations.

Following Your Application, What Steps Are Usually Involved?

You will receive a notification letter after your employer has fulfilled the relevant issuance requirements and your pass has been approved. This is valid for one month; however, it can be extended. 

With this letter, you can begin working and traveling in and out of Singapore while you wait for your pass card.

The notification letter also informs employees whether they must register their photo and/or fingerprints within two weeks of receiving their pass. 

This will occur at a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Services Centre. If you need to register, bring the following documents with you to your appointment:

• Original passport

 • Appointment letter

 • Notification letter

 • Any papers mentioned in the IPA letter and notification letter.

If you do not need to register, the access card should be delivered to you within four days of providing all of the required documentation. If you must register, your card should arrive within four days of registering.

What Exactly Is the EntrePass Business Visa?

If you want to start a new business in Singapore, you might be eligible for an EntrePass. Workers using this pass are not required to have a secure job before applying, nor are they needed to earn a minimum wage.

What Are The Requirements For Obtaining An EntrePass?

This pass has strict requirements. Applicants must be a business owner, innovator, or investor. You may check your eligibility here, but we’ve included some requirements below.

Entrepreneurs must have funded over 100,000 SGD (72,000 USD) from a venture capitalist acknowledged by a Singapore Government Agency and have a proven track record of accomplishments and experience in their company area.

 • Innovators must have registered intellectual property and/or work with a Singapore research institute. You may have exceptional knowledge of your industry.

 • Investors must have a track record of successful investments

 • The business you want to register must have a minimum capital of 50,000 SGD (36,000 USD). Applications must be submitted before or within six months of registering your company with ACRA.

Which Businesses Are Not Qualified For An EntrePass?

• Coffee shops, hawker centers, or food courts

• Bars, nightclubs, or karaoke lounges

•Foot reflexology, massage parlors, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, or herbal dispensing companies

• Employment agencies

• Geomancy businesses.

Dependents And EntrePass: What Is The Connection?

You may only bring dependents on this pass once your company spends at least SGD 100,000 (72,000 USD) each year and employs at least three people.

What Is The Application Form And Procedure For EntrePass?

The application form for an EntrePass submission can be taken from the Ministry of Manpower’s website.

You must apply for an EntrePass in person by downloading and completing the application form. Before submitting the scan online, it must be printed and signed. To use it, you must pay a cost of 105 SGD (75 USD).

Along with the application form, you must attach a screenshot of the banking page confirming your payment and any supporting papers listed on the form.

The application will be processed in around eight weeks. Once granted, you will receive an In Principle Approval (IPA) letter with a six-month window to arrive in Singapore and obtain the pass. The pass can only be issued if you are in Singapore. This can be done online or in person.

At this stage, you must pay an extra 225 SGD (160 USD) to obtain the pass. You must additionally provide:

• A copy of your current immigration permit and disembarkation/embarkation card

• A completed medical examination form and proof of medical insurance

• A Singapore residential address that fits housing standards.

What Is The Letter Of Notification?

When the pass is accepted, you will receive a one-month notification letter. It implies you can begin working and travel in and out of Singapore.

This notification letter also informs you whether you must register your photo and fingerprints at a MOM Services Centre within two weeks of receiving your pass. You must bring the following documents on the day of your appointment:

• Original passport

 • Appointment letters

 • Notification letters

• Any papers mentioned in the IPA letter and notification letter.

If you do not need to register, the access card should be delivered to you within four days of providing all of the required documentation. If you must register, it should come four days after you register.

What Is The EntrePass Costs?

Visa Cost SGD Cost USD EntrePass 330 235

What Are Self-Employment Visas And How Do They Work?

There are no self-employment visas available in Singapore because you can only be self-employed if you are a permanent resident.

This means that the essential qualifications for a self-employed visa are that you have an employment or S pass and have been in the country for at least two years. The application forms, method, and cost for self-employment visas are the same as for work and S passes.

Is Being Self-Employed In Singapore Worth It?

Due to the high cost of living in the country, having a full-time career with part-time freelancing work on the side makes more sense. Singaporean corporate culture, on the other hand, requires extended working days. 

It is essential to ensure that your basic wage is sufficient to cover your expenses, as relying on freelance work to supplement your income can significantly restrict your free time.

There are several possibilities for permanent residents who want to start a side business, including a unique plan for home-based firms. More information can be found under “Home-Based Small-Scale Businesses.


None of the current work permits are acceptable for seeking to work as a freelancer in Singapore. This means that you cannot enter the country on a “self-employed” visa. It is also improbable that most freelancers will meet the qualifications to work lawfully under the EntrePass route.

However, permanent residents can become freelancers. To work as a freelancer, you must:

  • Check to see whether you need a business license to operate; decide whether you want to form a corporation (not required, but gives security for invoicing and so on)
  • Make contacts and establish yourself by networking.
  • To work, you do not need to register your services with the government in general.
  • You may not need a work permit if your freelancing work is solely performed in other countries and these organizations have no presence in Singapore. 

Although you must still file a personal income tax return, money generated outside of Singapore is not taxed by the Singapore government. This could be useful for persons who come to the country on a Dependent Pass and cannot work without clearance from the Ministry of Manpower.

Starting A Business: What Key Considerations Should You Keep in Mind?

To start a business in Singapore, you must first register with Bizfile and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). 

If you require professionals to advise you through the process, such as lawyers and accountants, InterNations GO! can help you discover the right people.

You should then incorporate your firm following ACRA requirements. Following the registration of an ACRA-approved company name, your company must acquire:

  • Minimum of one shareholder
  • Minimum of one director
  • Who must be a Singapore resident living in Singapore
  • A company secretary, who must also be a Singapore resident
  • A company secretary, who must also be a Singapore resident.
  • Minimum paid-up capital of 1 SGD (0.72 USD) is required, as well as a registered location for actual office space.

Following incorporation, you will be required to follow specific restrictions based on your business:

Obtaining licenses, establishing your business hours, registering for Singapore customs goods and services tax, and registering with the Central Provident Fund are all examples of things you can do.

You must also open a bank account in Singapore.

What Are The Key Aspects Of Small-Scale Home-Based Businesses?

The Singapore Housing and Development Board (HDB) provides a specific scheme for permanent residents who live in HDB-provided housing. It is intended for small-scale companies such as bakeries and beauty salons.

This initiative allows persons to use their home address as their business address when registering with ACRA, rather than getting HDB approval to start a business. It was designed to assist workers in supplementing their income.

Registration for five years costs only 20 SGD (14 USD). The scheme does not apply to foreign workers with work permits or employment passes.


As we wrap up this guide on securing a temporary residence permit in Singapore, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to navigate the application process with ease.

Singapore’s approach to temporary residency is designed to be efficient and welcoming, reflecting the citystate’s global outlook and commitment to diversity.

With your permit in hand, you’re ready to explore the endless opportunities and experiences Singapore has to offer. Welcome to Singapore, where your new chapter begins with confidence and excitement.

Happy settling!

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