Here are some tips if you're thinking of taking up Singapore citizenship or permanent residence.
If you come under the category of "professionals, entrepreneurs, skilled personnel and other qualified persons" and have been a Singapore permanent resident for more than 2 years, you may apply for Singapore citizenship under the Accelerated Citizenship Scheme. Check out the National Registration Department website for more details.
You can also get applications from:
Registry of Citizens
National Registration Department
10 Kallang Road
Tel: (65) 6391-6366 or 6391-6368
Changes as of Apr 1, 1999:
These changes are aimed at making it more attractive for talented foreigners to come here. They will also help foreign husbands of Singapore women to settle in Singapore.
- Waiting period for permanent residents to qualify for Singapore Citizenship reduced from the current 2 – 10 years to 2 – 6 years.
- The average processing time for citizenship applications also reduced from the current 6 – 10 months to 3 – 6 months.
- Singaporean women can sponsor their PR husbands for citizenship if the family has the means to support itself and the husbands have been PRs for at least 2 years.
You may also apply for Singapore permanent residence before coming to Singapore or after starting work in Singapore.
Non-Singaporeans can become Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) by obtaining an Entry Permit (an application for an Entry Permit is an application for Singapore Permanent Residence). Processing time will vary from case to case.
The following categories are eligible to submit applications:
- Spouse wife or unmarried children (below 21 years old) of a Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident,
- Aged parents of a Singapore Citizen,
- Employment Pass ( P or Q Pass ) Holders,
- Investors/Entrepreneurs and
- Hong Kong residents who satisfy certain guidelines can apply for permanent residence by submitting applications through SMC (HK) Ltd in Hong Kong (details are available from SMC (HK) Ltd in Hong Kong or SMC Management Consultants in Singapore).
You can get applications from:
PR Services Centre
5th Floor SIR Building
10 Kallang Road
You can also make enquiries at the various EDB overseas offices and Singapore Embassy/High Commission.
Documents you'll need:
For a complete list, check out the Singapore Immigration & Registration website at http://www.sir.gov.sg/pr_sc/pr_app.html
There are two schemes for permanent residence: one based on capital (called plainly the $1.5 million deposit scheme) and one based on qualifications.
$1.5 million deposit scheme
- You are eligible if you come under the category of "foreign entrepreneurs" (read "those with lots of capital to invest"). You will then need to deposit at least S$1.5 million with the Singapore government for investing in a range of business activities approved by the Economic Development Board (EDB). You may choose to invest the whole sum of the deposit in a project in Singapore or use part of it in a regional project.
- There are some limits when investing in a regional project. If you own a Singapore registered company, up to 30 per cent of the deposit may be used for investment in a regional project approved by the EDB. If the company in question has at least 20 per cent Singaporean ownership, up to 50 per cent of the deposit may be used for such investment.
- You may use the remaining funds to invest in a project in Singapore. Under the scheme, an approved regional project should be in one of the Singapore industrial parks such as Suzhou Industrial Park and Wuxi Singapore Industrial Park in China, Batamindo Industrial Park and Bintan Industrial Estate in Indonesia, Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park and Bangalore IT Park in India.
- You have up to 2 years to make the investment from the date you make the deposit. You should submit the investment proposal before applying for the release of the funds. You must then maintain the investments you made for a period of 5 years. If the deposit is not released for investment 2 years from the date of deposit, it will be retained with the government for another 20 years, with no interest. The deposit will be returned to you after the 20-year period.
- Entrepreneurs may also apply for permanent residence for their spouses and children under 21 years. Unmarried children above 21 may also apply but will be considered based on their merits. Entrepreneurs may also apply for permanent residence for their parents and parents-in-law by depositing an additional S$300,000 for each person.
Permanent residence for professionals/technical personnel/skilled workers
You are eligible if you come under the category of "professionals and skilled personnel", are below 50 years old, and are in Singapore on an Employment Pass. Approval is on a case-by-case basis and depends on, among other things, your academic qualifications, employment background and expertise.
Changes to PR criteria and work permit rules
January 1999 saw several changes to the existing Permanent Residence application criteria and work permit regulations. The changes are in line with the government's policy of attracting foreign talent to Singapore, as well as an attempt to make the granting of PR status more transparent and comprehensive.
The changes are:
- A points system similar to those in the United States and Australia will be used to decide PR applications, although it was not revealed how the new criteria will be weighted
- The six new criteria are: type of work pass, duration of stay in Singapore, academic qualification, basic monthly salary, age and family ties in Singapore.
- All factors being equal, professionals and professional visit pass (P Pass) holders stand the best chance of becoming PRs. P Pass holders usually include administrators, professionals, managers, entrepreneurs, investors and specialist talent.
- A Singaporean woman can now sponsor her foreign husband for PR status so long as the wife, or the family, has the means to support itself. At present, a Singaporean man can sponsor his foreign wife but not vice versa.
- Foreigners on short term assignments no longer need the professional visit pass unless they are coming to Singapore to conduct or attend forums of a racial, religious, communal, cause-related or political nature. Foreign journalists on assignment and performers at nightclubs and lounges must also apply for passes.
- Foreign artistes in cultural troupes, professional artists and foreign cultural missions are examples for those who no longer need the pass, although they still have to apply for a public entertainment license for exhibition or performance.
For clarification or more information, please call (65) 6391-6100 or visit the Immigration Department's website at www.sir.gov.sg