information for global expats

Visas and Passports in Singapore

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: June 2015


To enter Singapore, you will always need a valid passport, or an equivalent travel document if you are a stateless person or refugee. Passports and other travel documents must be valid for six months after your scheduled date of departure. Note that, in Singapore, you are legally required to have your passport with you whenever you are out in public.

Immigrants from certain tropical countries will need to produce a medical certificate to prove they have been vaccinated against yellow fever. A full list of affected countries affected is available on this WHO webpage.

Disembarkation/Embarkation Card

On arrival in Singapore, all non-residents must present a completed Disembarkation/Embarkation Card (D/E Card for short.) This is a two-part card and is normally available on the plane, ferry or bus on which you are travelling into the country. On entry clearance, the immigration officer retains the disembarkation section of the card. In addition to these documents, you may need a visa to immigrate into Singapore.

Visa Requirements

In some cases, no visa is required to enter Singapore. Citizens of many of the world’s countries do not require a visa to enter Singapore. are entitled to a visa-free short stay in the island state. The length of the stay varies from country to country, with the maximum being 90 days. Note that expats from visa-exempt countries will need to supply bank statements to prove that they can support themselves financially.

Most of the 35 countries whose citizens do require a visa are in Asia and North Africa; a full list is available on this Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) webpage. Citizens of these countries seeking a short-term stay in Singapore will need to apply for an entry visa, either at their local embassy or consulate or online at the ICA website.

If you are eligible for a short stay, the immigration authorities will issue you with a certain type of pass on entering the country, which is an endorsement on your passport. For example, tourists will receive a visit pass and business people will get a miscellaneous work pass.

A visit pass entitles you to stay in the country for up to four weeks. You may choose to extend your visa for another 89 days, though to do so you will need to find a local who is prepared to sponsor you.

Note that women planning to give birth in Singapore will always need entry clearance. In addition to a passport and possibly a visa, all visitors to Singapore will require proof that they have sufficient funds to cover their stay.

Types of Visa

There are many different types of visa issued by the Singaporean authorities. Short-term types include Business Visa, Social Visit Pass and Student Pass. None of these types permits work in Singapore, and all are only valid for three months. There is also a Professional Visit Pass, which lasts for six months. There are also various kinds of work pass (work permits); for more information on these, see Expats Working. For more information on Spouse visas, see Family Members and Marriage

Visa Application

You may apply for a Singaporean visa by post or in person. You should start the application process at least three months before you intend to move to the country. All visa application forms are available in English. Whichever visa you are applying for, you will need the following documents:

  •  valid passport (with at least one blank page)
  • colour passport-sized photo (taken within the last 3 months)
  • payment of visa fee
  • notarised proof of sufficient finances to cover your stay (only for non-workers)
  • copy of your ongoing itinerary

In some cases, you will also need letter of introduction, either from a Singaporean citizen, or permanent resident, or from your employer. Any documents not in English will need to be accompanied by a certified translation. Note that Singapore does not have representation in all the world’s countries. If you do not have a Singaporean embassy or consulate in your country, diplomatic representation can generally be found at the nearest embassy in a neighbouring country.

Be aware that penalties for overstaying your visa can be severe. You may be fined, subjected to corporal punishment with a rattan cane, or even deported.




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