If you have been deployed by your company to Singapore for work, there are be a number of work passes that you may qualify for, among which, is the Singapore Employment Pass (EP). Here’s all you need to know about qualifying and applying for the EP.
What is an Employment Pass?
An Employment Pass or EP is a Singapore work visa issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower to foreign professional employees, managers, and owners or directors of Singaporean companies. This work visa allows you to live and work in Singapore, as well as travel in and out of the country without having to apply for entry visas.
An Employment Pass is usually valid for 1-2 years and can be renewed after. Possessing an EP also makes it easier for you to apply for permanent residence (PR) in Singapore.
How do I qualify for an Employment Pass?
To qualify for a Singaporean Employment Pass, you need to:
- Draw a minimum fixed salary of S$4,500 per month. This usually applies to young graduates. More experienced candidates may need higher salaries to qualify.
- Works in a managerial, executive or specialised job.
- Possess a tertiary degree from a reputable university. A strong professional employment history and high salary may compensate for lack of education.
Do note that these are general guidelines – the authorities review all Employment Pass applications before approval is granted. There is no limit to the number of EPs that can be granted to an employing Singapore company.
What documents do I need to apply for an Employment Pass?
- An EP Application Form 8, duly endorsed by the employing Singapore company
- A copy of your latest resume and relevant educational certificates
- References/testimonials from previous employers
- A passport-size photograph of yourself, taken within the past three months
- A copy of the personal particulars page of your passport
- A copy of the business profile of the employing Singapore company
- A detailed description of your job duties
- A detailed description of the activities and/or products of the employing Singapore company
Beside the eight documents described above, you may have to supply additional supporting documents as needed. You will also need to have any non-English documents officially translated into English.
How do I file my Employment Pass application, and how long will it take to process it?
There are two ways to file your Employment Pass application:
- You may register online if the employing Singapore company has registered for an EP online account. Online applications are usually processed within 3 weeks from the date of submission.
- You may also submit a manual application, which allows for the attachment of all supporting documents (which cannot be done online). Manual applications are usually processed within 8 weeks from the date of submission.
The overall processing time of your application may vary by several days or weeks. This is due to several factors, such as the credentials of the employing Singapore company, the qualifications of the applicant, and the availability of supporting documents.
How do I know if my Employment Pass has been approved, and how do I collect it?
When your Employment Pass application is approved, MOM will send an In-Principle-Approval (IPA) letter to the employing Singapore company’s address. The IPA letter is valid for 6 months from the date it is issued.
To collect your pass, you will need to come to Singapore and present a copy of the IPA letter, your passport, and any other documents that may be requested in the IPA letter. A one-time entry visa will be issued to you to enter Singapore and collect your Employment Pass.
Your IPA letter may require you to go through a medical test and produce the report when you collect visa. You may opt to do the medical test in an established clinic or hospital in your home country, or when you arrive in Singapore.
If you applied for Dependent’s Passes and/or Long-Term Visit Passes for your family, you can collect these at the same time.
Do note that all EP applications are not considered final until you have received an In-Principle-Approval of your application. Please do not make any prior relocation plans.
I have successfully obtained an Employment Pass. Can I bring my family to live with me in Singapore?
You can, if you draw a minimum fixed monthly salary of S$6000.
Spouses and children of successful Employment Pass holders can apply for a family visa known as a Dependent’s Pass (DP) during or after the approval of the EP. DPs are approved automatically once the EP application is approved and expire at the same time as the EP.
Common-law spouses, unmarried handicapped children (above 21 years old), and unmarried step-children (under 21 years old) of successful EP holders can apply for a long-stay visitor visa known as a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP). Similar to the DP, LTVPs are approved automatically once the EP application is approved and expire at the same time as the EP.
Parents of successful EP holders can also apply for the LTVP, but the successful EP holder needs to draw a minimum salary of S$12,000 (from 1 January 2018 onwards) in order for them to qualify.
I was rejected for an Employment Pass. What should I do?
If your initial Employment Pass application is rejected, do contact us. We will work closely with MOM to explore the possible reasons for the rejection – and when appropriate, we can help you to submit an appeal that directly addresses these reasons.
Appeals are usually processed within 4-6 weeks, and will likely be approved once the additional details submitted are deemed satisfactory by MOM.
How do I renew my Employment Pass?
An Employment Pass renewal form will be sent to your employer’s registered address three (3) months before your EP expires. The renewal application should be completed and submitted to MOM at least four weeks before your EP expires.
If your renewal application is approved, your employer will receive an approval letter. You will need to visit the MOM office to collect your new EP.
For more information about Employment Passes, see Employment Pass FAQs