Employment Pass explained

The Employment Pass is the most common visa for foreign workers in Singapore. It requires sponsorship from a company or their proxy based in Singapore. It allows you to work for that company or their clients. You can bring your spouse and dependents.

How to get an employment pass

To get an Employment pass you'll need a local company to sponsor you, provided you meet the eligibility requirements.

Employment pass application process

As with most government departments in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower are very efficient. You can apply for the pass online or using a form which you submit at any SingPost office. This can be done from outside Singapore or within. If you are in Singapore on an existing visa that is about to expire you must still leave the country when your visa runs out, even if your Employment Pass application is still being processed.

When the application is approved the company will be notified by email (if application was made online) or post (if made in person). The provisional approval letter is valid for 6 months. Your employer will use the letter to request the Ministry issue the pass for you online. You must be in Singapore when this takes place.

Once the pass is issued, a notificatoin letter will be generated. This may say you need to register at an Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC). The EPSC will collect your biometric information : fingerprints and photo. Four days after registration the Employment Pass card will be ready for collection at the EPSC.

You may need to complete other requirements like a medical checkup which checks for infectious disease (Tubervulosis, HIV, Syphilis, Malaria).

How long does it take?

Most online applications take 1 week. Applications submitted in person to a SingPost office take roughly 5 weeks. You are best advised to submit online. 

Am I eligible to apply?

The rules relating to an employment pass are fairly simple. You must meet a minimum salary requirement of at least SGD 4500 per month. You'll need acceptable qualifications which is a loose term covering academic qualifications, professional qualifications and specialist expertise. If you have a degree from a decent university and some good commercial experience this should be sufficient.

What does it cost?

The only initial government fees are an administration charge of SGD 70 for the application. If the application is approved then the Employment Pass fee is SGD 150 and a Multiple Journey Visa will cost a further SGD 30. Given how easy it is to travel from Singapore it is a good idea to get the Multiple Journey Visa.

Can I bring my spouse and children?

Provided you earn at least SGD 4000 per month your spouse and dependents can join you. They need to make a separate application for each family member. 

Can I get an employment pass without a job offer?

No - your pass is tied to the employer who sponsors you. When they make the application, they have to be offering you a job.

What documents are required?

All documents should be in English or accompanied by an official English translation.

For the Employment pass to be released you need to supply:

  • The Approval Letter
  • Passport
  • Photo (passport sized)
  • Current Singapore Immigration Card (White Card, Green Card, Long Term Pass Card, S-Pass or Work Permit)
  • And any other documents required in the Approval Letter such as medical examiniation form or declaration form.

The benefits of an employment pass

Your family can join, low monthly salary requirements, easy to transfer, quick to obtain. The pass has an initial duration of 2 years and is extendable.