Work permit / Visa in Singapore

To live and especially work abroad as expat for a longer period of time, you need a visa that exceeds the normal tourist visa. In Singapore, there is a whole range of different work visas and work permits, divided into visas for 

  • Professionals 

  • Skilled worker

  • Trainees and students

  • Family members

  • Exceptions and working while on a visit pass

For more information about the different visas and permissions, I recommend visiting the Ministry of Manpower website in Singapore.

Since I worked in Singapore, I was issued a work pass, the so-called Employment Pass (EP). This work visa is tied to my employer, which means that any change in my employment will require a change in the work visa, too, and the employer can only make the work visa application. For spouses or parents that relocate with the employee on the EP, there is a so-called Dependent’s Pass (DP), that is, as the name suggests, depending on my EP. DP holders are allowed to work in Singapore too but require a Letter of Consent (LOC) for this purpose, which needs to be applied for by the employer.

The application process for the work passes took a couple of weeks. During the application, we didn’t book any flights or hire a moving company. We first had to wait for the approval, which came in a notification letter sent to the employer. This letter was a temporary visa for us, as we could immigrate. Then, after immigration, we went to my office to collect the original letter that needed to be signed and brought to the employment office, the Ministry of Manpower.

This process is straightforward and efficient. We could schedule an appointment with the Ministry of Manpower within the next few days. The office imposed us a lot with its prime location at the Singapore River and views of Singapore’s government buildings and the Singapore Flyer. All in all, the appointment in the Ministry didn’t take longer than 20 minutes, as we only needed to finish up some formalities and take pictures for the final passes. Those we received only a couple of days later. In the meantime, the white card that we had received at the immigration worked as an interim visa, and with that, we were even able to leave the country for a quick Bali getaway.

As Germans, we are not very spoiled with how German authority offices handle things. It’s usually a very bureaucratic process that often drives you crazy with the way, and we were amazed at how comfortable and easy the process in Singapore turned out to be. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions.


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