Singapore Employment Pass Scheme

Work Visas
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Employment Pass (EP) is a type of work visa issued to foreign professional employees, managers, and owners/directors of Singapore companies. There is no quota system limiting the number of Employment Passes that can be issued to a company. This guide provides detailed information about eligibility requirements, application procedure, processing timeline, and other relevant details about the Singapore Employment Pass. In this document, the terms “Employment Pass” and “Employment Visa” are used interchangeably.

The Employment Pass (EP) is normally issued for 1-2 years at a time and renewable thereafter. An EP enables you to work and live in Singapore, and travel in and out of the country freely without applying for Singapore entry visas. Possessing an EP also opens the door for potential Singapore permanent residence in due course.

Singapore Employment Pass Eligibility Requirements

The current salary threshold for the Employment Pass is S$3,300 a month.
From 1 Jan 2017, the salary threshold will increase to S$3,600 a month.

The key facts and requirements for an Employment Pass type of work visa consist of the following:

    • Aside from the minimum salary, the applicant’s educational qualifications and work experience are also key considerations for the MOM in granting the EP.
    • A tertiary degree from a reputable university and relevant professional experience is important. Applicants should be educationally qualified with qualifications from reputable institutions. In some cases, your strong professional employment history and good salary may compensate for lack of good education. Your proposed employment in Singapore must be relevant to your prior experience and education.
    • The minimum salary requirement of S$3,300 is typically applicable to fresh graduates from good quality educational institutions; whereas older applicants who are experienced will need to command higher salaries in order to qualify.
    • There is no official quota system. Each application is reviewed by authorities based on the credentials of the employing company and the applicant.

The above is a general guideline only and the EP application is still at the discretion of the authorities. Successful applicants can bring in their families, and whether a specific family member is eligible will depend on the salary threshold of the EP-holder:

For immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age), EP-holders with a minimum fixed monthly salary of $5,000 can apply for a family visa called Dependant’s Pass. Usually, the Dependant’s Pass (DP) application will be approved automatically if the EP application is approved. You can submit DP application(s) at the same time or at any time after your EP application is approved. The expiry date of the DP(s) will be tied to the expiry of the EP.

For certain other family members (such as common-law spouse, unmarried handicapped children above 21 years old, and unmarried step-children under 21 years old), EP-holders with a minimum fixed monthly salary of $5,000 can apply for a type of long stay visitor visa called Long-Term Visit Pass. For parents of the EP-holder, the EP-holder must be earning a minimum fixed monthly salary of $10,000 in order to apply for the Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP). Similar to the DP, the Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) application(s) can be submitted at any time after the EP application is approved, and the expiry date of the LTVP(s) will be tied to the expiry fo the EP.

Documents Required for Employment Pass

The following documents are required for submission of Employment Pass visa application in Singapore:

  • EP Application Form 8. This form must be endorsed by the Singapore employing company
  • A copy of resume detailing the applicant’s work experience
  • Copies of educational certificates and past employment testimonials
  • A passport-size photograph taken within the past three months
  • A copy of the personal particulars page of the applicant’s passport
  • Copy of business profile for the Singapore company
  • Detailed description of the duties to be performed by the applicant
  • Detailed description of activities and/or products of the company
  • Additional supporting documents may be required on as needed basis

Any documents that are not in English must be officially translated into English.

Employment Pass Application Procedure and Timeline

Completed applications along with the required documents must be submitted to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) – the government body that processes EP applications. The application can be filed manually or online. The online application is generally quicker (if the company has already registered their EP Online Account), but an online application does not allow for attachment of all the supporting documents.

For an online application, once filed, the normal processing time can vary between 1-10 working days depending on the credentials of the employing company and the qualifications of the applicant. For a manual application, the MOM’s processing time can be anything from 3-6 weeks from the date of submission.

Please keep in mind the timeframe for the overall application procedure can vary from a few days to a few weeks, depending on a number of different factors (such as the availability of the applicant’s documents, whether the application is submitted online or manually, etc.).

Approval and Collection of Employment Pass

When your Employment Pass visa application is approved, MOM will send an In-Principle-Approval (IPA) letter to the employing company’s address as specified in the completed application form. The letter has a 6-month validity and you should collect your Employment Pass before this time expires. You will need to come to Singapore to collect your Pass.

In order to issue the EP, MOM requires a copy of the IPA letter, passport, medical exam report, and any other documents that may be requested in the IPA letter. You may have to go through a medical test and produce the report when collecting your Employment Pass. The IPA letter will indicate whether or not you are required to go through a medical test (along with the list of tests). You can get the medical tests done in your own country through an established clinic/hospital, or you can get it done when you arrive in Singapore.

If you are overseas and require an entry visa, a one-time entry visa will be issued to you as part of IPA letter so you can enter Singapore and collect your Employment Pass. If you had applied for Dependant’s Passes and/or Long-Term Visit Passes for your family, you can collect these at the same time when collecting your EP.

Word of caution: An EP application is not approved as a matter of course, but is subject to review and approval by authorities. Therefore you should not make any relocation plans until you have received an In-Principle-Approval of your application.

Handling Employment Pass Rejections

The fact is that not all EP work visa applications are approved. MOM takes into account the applicant’s qualifications, work experience, and employer credentials when approving or rejecting applications. If the initial application is rejected, we will explore the reasons with MOM and, if appropriate, we will submit the appeal by addressing the issues raised by authorities. If the additional details submitted are satisfactory to MOM, your application will likely be approved. The processing of an appeal application can take 4-6 weeks.

Employment Pass Renewal Procedure

Generally three months before your EP is due to expire, an Employment Pass Renewal Form will be sent to your employer’s registered address. The renewal application should be completed and submitted to MOM at least four weeks before the pass expires. If your renewal application is approved, your employer will receive an approval letter. You will need to visit MOM office to collect your new Employment Pass.


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