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Comprehensive Guide to PR and Citizenship Application in Singapore

Applying for Singapore Permanent Resident (PR)

Applying for Singapore Permanent Resident (PR)

1.1 What does it mean to be a PR in Singapore?

Singapore is a small but thriving city-state in the South East Asia region that is highly desirable to live in because it is safe, holds many job opportunities, and is a multicultural society with people of different races, languages, and religions. Different from being a work pass holder, being a Permanent Resident (PR) in Singapore gives you rights and privileges to live, work and be educated in Singapore only second to Singapore citizens.

Being a PR in Singapore means that you can leave and enter the country without having to apply for a separate visa each time, change jobs without needing to apply for new work pass, be given priority (after citizens) to register in local schools, hold a Central Provident Fund (CPF), enjoy housing and car loans, reap significant cost-saving benefits with other schemes, and more. Overall, acquiring PR status in Singapore creates more opportunities and freedom for you to live, work, and integrate into the society of Singapore!

1.2 Who can become a PR in Singapore?

You are eligible to apply for permanent residence if you are a/an:

  • Employment Pass, S Pass, EntrePass Holder
  • Spouse of a Singapore citizen (SC) or Singapore Permanent Resident (PR)
  • Unmarried child aged below 21 born within the context of a legal marriage to, or have been legally adopted by, a Singapore Citizen or PR
  • Aged parent of a Singapore Citizen
  • Student studying in Singapore
  • Foreign investor in Singapore

* Work Permit holders are not eligible to apply for Singapore PR, unless married to a Singapore Citizen or PR.

The Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers (PTS) scheme is one of the most common Permanent Resident (PR) schemes that allows any foreigner who has been working in Singapore with an Employment Pass, Entre Pass, Personal Employment Pass or S Pass to become a PR in Singapore. In short, as long as you are working in Singapore with any of these passes, you will be eligible to apply for PR status.

However, as PR status is desired by many, there are many other criteria that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) look at to evaluate whether to approve your application and grant you PR status. These main factors include your age, marital status, financial well-being, educational qualifications, basic monthly salary, set of skills you possess, the industry that you work in, how long you have been staying in Singapore, your economic contribution, and your social contribution.

Factors that affect your PR application in Singapore

Generally, to qualify under the PTS scheme, you have to be under 50 years of age, although exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis. While you are allowed to apply for PR status any time after you have started working in Singapore with the work passes named above, you will be required to submit 6 months of payslips from your employer in Singapore, which means that you will need to have worked for at least 6 months in Singapore before you can apply for PR.

As ICA favours individuals who are well-integrated into Singapore society, they look at factors like family ties – being married to a Singapore citizen or PR, or having other family members who are citizens or PRs in Singapore increases your chances of approval – and social contributions, such as donations and volunteering. Having good educational qualifications like a diploma or degree from reputable institutions are highly looked upon by Singapore too. ICA will also evaluate whether or not the skills, industry and type of work that you do are supportive of and productive to the Singapore workforce, and especially approves of individuals with skills and knowledge in niche industries. 

Apart from qualifying you to apply for PR status, the PTS scheme also allows you to apply for your spouse and unmarried children who are under the age of 21!

1.3 How do I apply to become a PR in Singapore?

The process to apply for a Singapore PR may seem to be an easy task. However, it is not as simple as just preparing necessary documents and filling up the application form.

Getting your Singapore PR application approved requires you to cover all important aspects that the Immigration Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is looking for, such as evidence that you are socially integrated and contributing economically, which takes experience and knowledge. While you can apply to become a PR on your own, engaging a professional Immigration Consultancy firm in Singapore will increase your chances of getting an approval by a large amount.

Steps for Singapore Permanent Resident Application

1. Check and prepare the necessary documents

Different applicants are required to submit a different set of documents for  their application, which is why you are strongly advised to seek professional assistance. While you can obtain information about the basic documents needed for application on the ICA’s website, such as Passport, National ID, Birth Certificate, and Valid Singapore Passes etc., you might not be aware of other important documents that the government will look into. Should you like to seek more information, you can head to our website for more details.

2. Translate non-English documents

Are you aware that all documents are to be translated to English? Should you have any documents that are not in English, there is a high chance that your application might get rejected. Since October 1st, all translation done in Singapore has to be approved by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL). Worry not, as Singapore Top Immigration offers in-house translation and notarization services that will be acceptable in the eyes of the law.

3. Upload and Submit your online application using the e-PR portal

Using the Electronic PR (e-PR) portal, you should select the relevant options in the online questionnaire so as to retrieve the correct forms that you have to submit. You are recommended to download these forms and fill them in offline, before returning to the online portal to upload the filled-in forms. Upon completing the online form, you will then be required to upload the different documents that the portal is asking for.

4. Upload supporting documents and make payment

Once you are done with the online application forms, you can proceed to upload the documents you have already prepared. Then, you will make the required payment for your application.

Should you have missed out on uploading a compulsory document, your application might get an early rejection. By engaging a PR application agency like Singapore Top Immigration, you will receive expert guidance on what other additional documents you can upload to increase your chances of approval – apart from the ones listed out by the ICA.

If you are not confident going through this entire process alone, are not aware of the latest updates by ICA, and simply don’t wish to encounter a rejection, you should consider using these services to take you through step by step and greatly increase your chances of approval!

1.4 How long does it take to get PR approved?

Generally, it will take up to 4 to 6 months to receive results from the ICA. However, with more complicated cases or unforeseen circumstances, your application results may drag up to 12 months or more. This means you will have to wait patiently and check your mailbox regularly to receive the letter from the ICA that will inform you on whether your application has been approved or rejected.

If you have not received the results of your application after 12 months, you can first check on the status of your application using the online portal, and then drop ICA an email with the reference number of your application to enquire further – but not much information will be made available to you. As mentioned, more complex applications will require a longer processing time, while others may take a shorter time. ICA might be taking the time to review your documents and verifying with the parties involved.

1.5 My PR status is approved, what’s next?

Congratulations on receiving an approval letter from the ICA granting you PR status in Singapore!  

Upon receiving the letter, you should book an appointment on the ICA website to head down to the ICA office within two months of the date noted on the letter. Appointment slots are filled up quickly, and you will usually only be able to book an appointment scheduled 10 working days later.

You will need to prepare and physically bring the documents stated in the approval letter to your scheduled appointment as a formality- so make sure you do it in time! The documents needed usually include:

  • Original ICA approval letter
  • Two passport-sized coloured photos of yourself that will be used for your National Registration Identity Card (NRIC)
  • Results of your medical check-up that the approval letter will inform you need to take. You will likely have your measurements taken, do an X-ray, and take a blood test during the check-up.
  • Your existing work pass and family’s dependant passes to be surrendered to ICA (in exchange for your NRIC that you will collect at a later date)
Documents you need to bring to ICA appointment

The approval letter will also state the registration fees for your NRIC, $50 per applicant, which you must pay during your appointment through NETS or CashCard.

1.7 Once PR is approved, how long does it valid for?

Once you get PR status, it will be valid for 5 years. You will have to apply for a Re-Entry Permit (REP) at the end of every 5 years in order to maintain your status as PR and to continue leaving and entering the country. A PR who remains outside Singapore without a valid REP will have to lose their PR status. If your re-entry permit expires while you are away from Singapore, your PR status will be revoked automatically.

Applying for your re-entry permit is a straightforward process and is done online through the electronic Re-Entry Permit system (e-REP) on the ICA’s website.

Applying for Singapore Citizenship

Applying for Singapore Citizenship

2.1 What does it mean to be a Singapore Citizen?

Being a PR in Singapore comes with many benefits. However, being a Singapore Citizen means having full rights and first priority for living, working and being educated in the country.

Singapore citizens can travel with a powerful passport that comes in second, compared to all other passports in the world. Holding a red passport allows you to travel visa-free to most countries. Citizens are also able to purchase a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat when they are 21 years old and above, and are entitled to more grants, loans and subsidies that PRs are not eligible for. As a citizen of Singapore, you will gain access to be prioritized in the local education system. Your children will be given priority over PRs and foreigners to enrol into your school of choice. You will also enjoy government subsidies and will be eligible for schemes like the Edusave.

You will also have the right to vote for the country’s government, travel freely, and use healthcare subsidies that are open to Singapore citizens of all ages. Singapore also provides parenthood incentives such as the four-month maternity leave for mothers and two-week paternity leave for fathers. Not only that, Singapore also provides baby bonuses that are only exclusive to Singapore Citizens!

2.2 Who can be a Singapore citizen?

You can apply to become a Singapore citizen if you have been a Permanent Resident (PR) in Singapore for at least two years, depending, or are legally a child of a Singapore citizen. These are the specific criteria for applying for citizenship in Singapore:

  • You have been a Singapore PR for at least two years and are 21 years of age or older. If so, you can also apply with your spouse and children* who are not married and below 21 years of age. 
  • You have been a PR for at least two years and have been married to a Singapore citizen for at least two years. 
  • You are below 21 years of age, are unmarried, and your parent* is a Singapore citizen. 
  • You are a PR who is studying in Singapore, have been residing in Singapore for more than 3 years (of which at least one year you have been a PR), and you have passed at least one national exam such as the PSLE, GCE ‘N’, ‘O’, or ‘A’ levels, or are in the Integrated Programme (IP). 
  • You are a PR and an elderly parent of a Singapore citizen.

* ICA considers children who are born within a legal marriage or have been legally adopted. 

Other factors like your family ties to Singaporeans, qualifications, age, how long you have been staying in Singapore, commitment, economic and social contributions to the Singapore society, are some things that the ICA also looks at when deciding whether to approve your application to become a Singapore citizen.

Even with these many points to consider, you can ease your mind by using an immigration agency like Singapore Top Immigration who will take care of these things for you! An immigration agency may advise you on including good supporting documents, or help you strengthen aspects of your profile in other ways, thus increasing your chances of approval! 

2.3 How do I apply to become a Singapore citizen?

You can apply to become a Singapore citizen on your own through the ICA’s online portal or seek professional assistance through our website. We will guide you on your application, ensure that you settle everything through a hassle-free process, and improve your chances of getting approved.

1. Prepare the necessary documents

Each different profile, adult, aged parent, and child, requires a different set of documents, which is why you are strongly advised to seek professional assistance. You can obtain the information of the basic documents required from ICA’s website (like your  Passport, National ID, Birth Certificate, NRIC etc.) but you might not be aware of other important documents that the government will look into that can support your profile. Should you like to seek more information, you can head to our website for more details.

2. Fill up your application online

Should you choose to engage us for your Singapore Citizenship application, we will advise you to gather all your documents and proceed to fill up your application online on your behalf!

Don’t underestimate how tedious this application can be – when you use an immigration agency to apply, you get to sit back, relax and enjoy a hassle-free application process instead of stressing out over the many details that require your attention to ensure that your application gets processed and then hopefully approved. Be guaranteed a smooth and easy application process and a higher chance of success.

3. Upload supporting documents

Once you are done with the online forms, you will be required to upload the supporting documents that you have already prepared beforehand. Declare that your information provided is true and accurate, and then proceed to your final step of the online application process, which is payment!

Overall, the online application process may seem fairly straightforward, but requires lots of meticulousness, legwork and attention to what makes your profile a strong one. Getting approval for Singapore citizenship gets more difficult over the years because of more stringent requirements, which is why many choose to use an application agency in Singapore to cover them through every step of the process.

2.4 How long does it take to receive the results of Singapore citizenship application?

After submitting your application, it will take about 6 to 12 months to receive the results. If your Citizenship application has been approved, a letter of approval will be sent to your correspondence address. Meanwhile, if you want to check on the status of your application, you can log onto ICA’s online portal, MyICA, which will show you your application status and updates. The time taken depends on the complexity of your application, so just sit tight and await the results!

2.5 My Singapore citizenship is approved, what’s next?

Congrats on getting your Citizenship approved! No doubt, getting approval has been harder over the years, so if you’re celebrating, you should be! There are a few more steps that need to be done after you have received your letter of approval (or in-principle approval (IPA)), before you officially become a Singapore citizen. So don’t leave things hanging just yet!

1. Book slots to attend Singapore Citizenship Journey

Once you get your letter of approval, you will need to undergo a Singapore Citizenship Journey. There are three parts to your Citizenship Journey: the Singapore Experiential Tour, Community Sharing Session, and online e-journey (that individuals below 16 years old are exempted from).

In order to get things going, you should first book slots to attend the Singapore Experiential Tour and Community Sharing Session on a website that will be given to you in your letter of approval. The tour will bring you to a few sites in Singapore to educate you about the history and development of these key places, while the sharing session will be held in your community centre and aims to help you to connect with people in your neighbourhood. You don’t have to book slots to attend the e-journey, but will be able to access it anytime online.

2. Renounce your foreign citizenship

Only individuals 21 years and older have to renounce their foreign citizenship. The requirements for renouncing citizenship are different in each country, so check your country’s requirements and make the arrangements accordingly. You should prepare while you are undertaking the Singapore Citizenship Journey (SCJ) so that once it is completed, you will be ready to renounce your foreign citizenship.

After the SCJ is completed, visit your embassy in Singapore with your passport. You will be required to surrender your passport and be given letters to show that your citizenship has been renounced.

3. Register for your Singapore Citizenship

You are so close to your final stage! Once you have renounced your foreign citizenship, you will receive a letter from the ICA that informs you to register for Singapore citizenship. You should prepare a photocopy of your letter of renunciation and letter stating your surrender of passport before you head down to ICA’s office on the stated date and time of your appointment. During the appointment, you will register for your Pink Singapore NRIC and passport and, last but not least, participate in an oathtaking to pledge your loyalty to Singapore!

4. Citizenship Ceremony

At last! After you have registered for your Singapore Citizenship, you will attend the exciting citizenship ceremony to officially be welcomed as a Singapore citizen. You will receive a Singapore Citizen certificate and your pink NRIC which means that you have successfully become a citizen of Singapore!

Appealing for Singapore PR or Citizenship

Appealing for Singapore PR or Citizenship

What can I do if my PR or Citizenship application is rejected?

What can I do if my PR or Citizenship application is rejected

If you are facing rejection for your Singapore PR or citizenship application, not to worry, for you can make an appeal within 6 months. To better your chances of having your appeal approved, you should get in touch with an PR or Citizenship application agency. The firm will carefully review your application by checking on what you have been doing from the date of your submission till the date that you received your rejection and help you build a stronger case with necessary evidence. Don’t give up on your chance to have your application approved, look for a trusted firm to help you out!

Singapore Top Immigration (STI) is a reliable immigration consultancy firm in Singapore, providing trusted solutions to individuals aspiring to get Singapore PR or Citizenship. Get in touch with us, here.

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