Foreigners are not eligible to apply for NRIC in Singapore. NRIC, or the National Registration Identity Card, is applicable only for Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents. Foreigners are those who are neither citizens of Singapore nor permanent residents of the country. However, they are required to carry certain permits in order to move around freely in Singapore. These permits are listed in detail below.
A visa is a permit allowing you to come to Singapore. Visa is not an immigration paper but is just a print out of the e-visa. Having a valid visa does not mean that you are allowed to enter or stay in Singapore. Visa will have a validity period, but that does not indicate the number of days you can stay in Singapore.
A visit pass is a permit provided to you at the airport by the Singapore immigration official, stamped on to your passport and/or immigration card. This will tell you how many days you can stay in Singapore. For example let’s say you have been granted a Singapore visa for 1 March to 31 August. You decide to travel to Singapore on 12th April. When you reach Singapore, the immigration officer would decide how many days you should be allowed to stay in Singapore. He or she could grant you 1 month, 10 days or 3 days. The officer will check your documents, and he or she could even reject your entry and send you back if they are not convinced by your reasons to arrive in Singapore.
The visit pass is of two kinds – short-term and long-term. Short-term visit passes can be extended if your case is compelling enough. You can get a visa and visit pass when entering Singapore as a visitor for personal, tourism or business purposes.
Student’s Pass is required for people who come to Singapore for full-time studies. You need to apply for a Student’s Pass, except in cases where you already hold a Dependent’s Pass, Immigration Exemption Order. If your course is just a month long or shorter, your Short-Term Visit Pass will suffice.
This is a permit allowing foreign professionals to work in Singapore, if a local company has offered them a job. The pass is originally valid up to 2 years and can be renewed for up to 3 more years. You need to have a salary of at least S$3,600 per month to get an Employment Pass. The employer or their agent has to apply for this permit on behalf of the employee.
Mid-level skilled workers from outside Singapore who earn at least S$2,200 per month and have been asked to come and work in Singapore by a local company are required to hold an S Pass. The pass is valid for a maximum of 2 years but can be renewed as per need. The employer or their agent has to apply for this permit on behalf of the employee.
This permit is for the legal spouse and single children younger than 21 years of persons who already have an Employment Pass or S Pass. The validity of the Dependent’s Pass is based on the validity of the primary work permit. The employer of the work permit holder or their agent has to apply for this, and it can be renewed if the Employment or S Pass is extended. Dependent's Pass holders can also find employment in Singapore.
Foreign entrepreneurs who want to set up a business in Singapore have to apply for an EntrePass. The application has to be made by the entrepreneur himself/herself. It is valid for one year, and has to be renewed every 2 years thereafter.
Personalised Employment Pass
This is a permit for Employment Pass holders and foreign professionals who earn high salaries. The minimum salary required to apply for a Personalised Employment Pass is S$12,000 per month for Employment Pass holders and S$18,000 for Overseas Foreign Professionals. The application has to be done by the person himself/herself and it is valid for a maximum of 3 years. This pass cannot be renewed.
There are several kinds of work permits, which are mentioned below:
- Work Permit for Foreign Worker: This is for workers from selected countries who are working in any of the following industries – manufacturing, construction, marine shipyard, services or process. There is no qualifying income criterion and the pass is valid for a maximum of 2 years but can be renewed. The employer or their agent has to apply for this permit on behalf of the worker.
- Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Worker: This is for foreigners who work for someone as a domestic helper. It is valid for up to 2 years, can be renewed, and has to be applied by the employer or authorised agent. There is no minimum income parameter.
- Work Permit for Confinement Nanny: This is for Malaysian nationals who are appointed as confinement nannies for a Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident who is pregnant. The validity of this pass is a maximum of 16 weeks beginning from the child’s birth. It cannot be renewed, and the application needs to be done by the employer or agent.
- Work Permit for Performing Artiste: This is for artistes who come to Singapore to perform their art at authorised venues. The pass is valid for a maximum of 6 months and cannot be renewed. The employer or agent has to apply for this pass on behalf of the employee.
There are several other kinds of passes as well, such as the Training Employment Pass, Training Work Permit, Work Holiday Pass (under Work Holiday Programme), and Work Holiday Pass (under Work and Holiday Visa Programme). Depending on which pass you qualify for, you need to ensure that you or your employer applies for the right document, and that you carry the pass with you at all times.