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Business people talking in meeting room; image used for HSBC Singapore expat article "Work passes and visas"

Everything you need to know about local work passes

So you've decided to move to Singapore. But as any global citizen knows, non-residents need to navigate a new country/region's various visa and employment requirements first, and Singapore is no exception. We've broken down a few different categories to help you get started.

Work passes for professionals, executives and skilled individuals

Employment Pass (EP)

Are you a foreign professional working in a managerial, executive or specialised position? This one's for you. The Employment Pass (EP) must be applied for by the employer or employment agent, and it'll be cancelled when the employment contract ends. To apply, you'll need recognised qualifications and should be earning a minimum fixed monthly salary of SGD3,600. This pass is valid for up to two years for first-timers, while renewals are valid for up to three years. For dependent privileges (which gives you the option of applying for a Dependent's Pass), you'll need to earn at least SGD6,000 monthly to qualify.

S Pass

Mid-level, skilled non-citizens will need this pass to work here. A fixed monthly salary of at least SGD2,400 is required and the salary should reflect the applicant's work experience. This means older and more experienced candidates should command higher salaries. Other requirements include a degree or a diploma, and technical certificates may be considered in some cases. Either way, the applicant will need to have completed at least one year of full-time study.


If you are planning on starting your own business or investing in startups here, look no further. One of the basic requirements for entrepreneurs involves at least SGD100,000 in funding from a government investment vehicle, venture capitalist or business angel recognised by a Singapore Government agency. Serious investors will need to have at least eight years of experience as a senior management professional or executive of a large corporation. More information can be found here.

Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)

Independent foreign professionals may consider the PEP. This is an open work visa with a validity of three years. It's not linked to an employer, and allows you to stay in Singapore for up to six months between jobs. You will need a last drawn, minimum fixed monthly overseas salary of SGD18,000 (it should be within six months prior to your application). Those who are EP holders require a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD12,000.

Visas for families, students and permanent residency

Dependent's Pass (DP)

EP and S Pass holders who earn a fixed monthly salary of SGD6,000 and above qualify for the Dependant's Pass (DP). This means you can apply to bring your legally married spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old with you here, via your employer or employment agent. EntrePass holders have to meet certain requirements for total annual business spending and local employment while PEP holders have to be employed for at least six months at any time and earn a fixed annual salary of SGD144,000 and above. Approved DPs are valid for up to two years and are tied to the main work pass.

Long-Term Visit Pass

Applicable to a common-law spouse, unmarried stepchild under 21 or an unmarried, handicapped child above 21, successful candidates can stay in Singapore on a long-term basis, provided their partner meets the minimum fixed monthly salary requirement of SGD6,000 and has a valid EP or S Pass. Work pass holders who earn at least SGD12,000 monthly can choose to apply for the Long-Term Visit Pass for their parents as well.

Student Pass

Foreign students planning to study in Singapore may require this pass if they are not a child of an EP or DP holder. It's also needed for those intending to further their studies at a Singaporean university or college, too. For students looking for a temporary vacation or part-time job, a Work Pass exemption (with examples ranging from a Training Work Permit, Training Employment Pass and Work Holiday Program) is a must. To apply for a Student Pass, head on over to the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority website.

Permanent Resident (PR)

Want to plant more long-term roots in Singapore? You might want to try for a Permanent Resident (PR) status. Expats with a Singaporean PR or citizen spouse may have a higher chance of obtaining this visa, which comes with both perks and requirements. Successful candidates could find it easier to purchase a house or set up a company, while sons of permanent residents will be expected to fulfil a two-year National Service stint.

For more in-depth details on requirements and applying for employment passes and visas in Singapore, visit the Ministry of Manpower and Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority websites.