Applying for Singapore PR has been known to cause headaches, stress, and anxiety. So, here are 24 of our best Singapore PR application tips to lower your stress levels, and help make your application approval-worthy.
These tips are great for first-time applicants who are unfamiliar with the process. They are also good for re-applicants who desire to improve on their last application.
We’ve put together these tips based on our experience of where applicants are often confused, get sidetracked, or go wrong.
This article contains 24 tips arranged in the following sections:
- Before you start your application – the things you must know
- Completing the application form
- Preparing your documents
- Strengthening your application
- Submitting your application online
Tip #1: Remember, it’s a competition.
And the competition is tough. Firstly, you’re in competition with others for limited vacancies.
About 30,000 new PRs are granted each year (this is the “annual quota” people often refer to). And according to most estimates, about 100,000 applicants are considered for these slots. As expected, the government is strict in their selection to ensure the right people are approved. Standards are high and the authorities are highly selective.
Secondly, the government has the pick of the bunch. The pool of competing applicants is made up of well-qualified candidates. Many come armed with impressive resumes, qualifications, and sought-after skills.
So, prepare to put in the required effort to build a complete and strong application. This will help you to improve your odds of success. If you’re going to apply for Singapore PR, then compete to win.
Tip #2: Focus on what you can control.
Depending on your social circle, everyone seems to have a story about getting their PR or failing to get their PR. And these stories might cause you to worry about things that are NOT under your control.
Here’s the bottom line.
You can’t control the quota and you can’t control the quality or the quantity of your competition.
Don’t stress over the things you can’t control.
You can only control the quality of your application and the merits that go into your application.
Focus on the preparation of your application. Focus on building your life and career in Singapore.
Tip #3: Understand the evaluation criteria.
Be aware of the criteria and how you’d be evaluated. This will enable you to have a better gauge of what your chances are, and adjust your expectations accordingly.
It will also help you to determine the areas you can improve, and the issues to address in your application.
Tip #4: Know which PR scheme applies to you
- If you’re a working professional in Singapore with an Employment Pass, S Pass, or Personalised Employment Pass – Apply under the Professionals, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers scheme (Form 4A)
- If you’re a spouse of a Singapore citizen or Singapore PR – Apply under the sponsor scheme (Form 4SC)
- If you’re studying here on a student pass and have completed national exams such as PSLE, GCE ‘N’/ ‘O’ / ‘A’ levels or the Integrated Programme (IP) – Apply under the student scheme (Form 4B)
For the above schemes, you submit your application to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). You can download the explanatory notes and document list from ICA here.
There are other schemes to consider too:
- If you’re a foreign investor, entrepreneur, or family office principal in Singapore with $2.5 million to invest locally – You can apply under the Global Investor Programme through the Economic Development Board.
- If you’re a foreign artist with professional experience and exceptional achievements in Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Design and, or Media – You can apply under the Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme.
Note: The majority of applicants would apply to be Singapore PRs under the first two schemes (Form 4A and Form 4SC). This list of tips would mostly apply to these two groups of people.
Tip #5: Don’t rush the application process.
Take the time and effort to be thorough when preparing your application form and organising your documents. When you complete the application in a hurry, it’s easy to miss out the required details. Details that could also strengthen your application.
We get that paperwork is not the most fun thing in the world. But imagine spending years building your life and career in Singapore, and not taking the time to make sure all your merits are deservingly reflected in your application. Now, wouldn’t that be the true waste of your time?
Tip #6 Get clear on your WHY.
When you have a goal and a strong reason why you want it, then you’ll be more motivated to achieve it. Even in the face of difficulty or setback.
That’s the difference between being interested in a goal versus being committed to a goal.
So, it’s important to understand why you actually want to be a Singapore PR.
In a previous article, we explored some of the practical and not-so-obvious reasons why people become PRs in Singapore.
Learn more: read “The Real Singapore PR Benefits Nobody Shares”.
Tip #7: Be complete, consistent, and correct.
When you are filling up the details in your application, bear in mind these 3Cs.
Complete – Make sure you provide ALL details required fully. For example, when you are asked for your last ten years of residence – include all the residences that you lived in for 6 months or longer. There shouldn’t be gaps of more than 6 months in your timeline.
Consistent – The details you provide throughout your application should be consistent with the details in the documents you are submitting.
Correct – You have to be as accurate and truthful as possible. You know how sometimes we embellish/stretch the truth in our resumes to impress people? Well, this is NOT your resume, so DON’T do this in your application. Or else, you risk committing an offence.
Tip #8: Use simple language, avoid jargon.
Clarity is important in your application. So it’s always best to use simpler words, so the authorities can understand your application and your merits.
People usually tend to make this mistake when they are filling up their job descriptions.
For example: “Utilised Python to construct a database”.
Firstly, instead of saying “construct” or “utilised”, you could say “build” or “used”. See how simple is better.
Secondly, a Python is a giant snake to most people. Unless you’re into software development or technology, you probably wouldn’t know it’s a programming language. Don’t assume that the authorities are familiar with the technical terms of your job. Avoid jargon.
Tip #9: Pay attention to the “Details of achievements and innovation…” section in Form 4A.
Many people make the mistake of leaving this blank or filling it up with shallow or vague accomplishments that they didn’t think through.
Even when you don’t think you have an accomplishment or an innovation – that’s probably not true.
Take the time to reflect.
Be as specific as possible in the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions you’ve made to your company/companies, colleagues, and/or industry.
This is the place to shine. And they’ve given you 3500 characters to do so. So, shine on.
Tip #10 Double-check, triple-check, and maybe check one more time for good measure.
It’s easy to assume you’ve made no major error when you’re completing your form. We tend to do that because most of us have filled multiple forms in our lives, and believe we would be pros by now. But not every form is the same.
To be on the safe side, check your form till you’re confident. Don’t let an unnecessary mistake hurt your chances of getting approved.
Tip #11 Fill the form ahead of submitting the application online.
You have two options to fill up the form details. You can download the form first and fill it up in your own time. Then once it’s complete, you can think about when you want to submit it on the online application portal.
Alternatively, you can fill up the details on the application portal itself.
We recommend the first option as you have the luxury to take more time to fill up the details and review it.
If you start filling up the details on the application portal itself, the portal gives you a time limit of 7 days to complete the form and also upload your documents. So, to save yourself that pressure just download the form first and complete it outside the portal.
You can download the form on the ePR system (you have to log in with your Singpass to enter).
Tip #12: Make sure your scanned documents are clear.
- Scan your original documents in colour for clarity
- Make sure the image is clear and sharp such that words can be read clearly, and logos, emblems, lettermarks, or other graphics on the document can be clearly seen
- Make sure the scan fully captures the entire document
Tip #13: Make sure your documents are in the right format.
- Each file size must be less than 2 MB. So, reduce the file size if necessary and make sure when you do so the image is still clear
- Save the files in pdf or jpeg format. You can only submit your documents in these formats.
Tip #14: Make sure to translate documents that are not in English.
ICA accepts the following translations:
- Translations provided by the embassy of the country that issued the document
- Translations produced by a notary public in Singapore or the country that issued the document
- Privately created translations attested by the embassy of the country that issued the document or notarised by a notary public in Singapore or the country that issued the document
Tip #15: Remember there are additional forms to sign off on.
Sign the forms according to the signature in your current travel document. You can date these documents on the day in which you submit them.
For Form 4A Professionals, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers scheme:
1. Declaration form to be signed by the main applicant (and spouse, if they are applying too) Form 4A applications)
2. IRAS form to be signed by the main applicant
For Form 4SC Sponsor scheme:
1. Declaration form to be signed by the main applicant
2. A separate declaration form to be signed by the sponsor
3. IRAS for to be signed by the main applicant and sponsor
For Form 4B Student scheme:
1. Declaration form to be signed by the applicant
2. Declaration form to be signed by a parent, if applicant is below 21 years of age
You can download and print these forms after logging in to the e-PR system with your Singpass.
Tip #16: Be mindful of the dates when you seek your company documents.
For applicants applying under the Professionals, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers (PTS) scheme and the Sponsor scheme, you would have to submit employment-related documents.
You would need to seek your company’s help to provide company and employment details. Take note, these documents must be dated within 1 month from the submission.
For example: if your employer letter is dated on the 25th of May 2020, we recommend you submit your application before the 25th of June 2020.
For PTS scheme (Form 4A), company documents to submit include:
1. Annex A – must be dated within 1 month of submission; applies to main applicant only
2. Employer Letter – must be dated within 1 month of submission; applies to main applicant only
3. Salary slips – must be your latest six months of salary slips
For sponsor scheme (Form 4SC), company documents to submit include:
1. Employer Letter – must be dated within 1 month of submission; applies to main applicant and sponsor
2. Salary slips – must be your latest six months of salary slips; applies to main applicant and sponsor
Tip #17: Know your strengths.
The first step to improving your application is to identify what your strengths are. Think of the areas in your professional life, social life, or in Singapore’s greater society where you’re making a contribution or an improvement.
It’s okay if you’re not impacting every part of society. If you’re making a difference in your career here, then focus on your strengths in those areas.
If you’re developing your skills continuously and making improvements on yourself personally, that’s also a strength, as it enables you to make more valuable contributions back to society.
Make a list of all your top strengths, and then see where it’s best to present it in your application.
Tip #18: Consider including a cover letter.
A cover letter is not a required document. The reason why some applicants submit one, is because they want to stand out amongst the competition. But the cover letter is not what makes you stand out – the substance of the cover letter is what matters most.
You can use the cover letter to elaborate on your other merits, contributions, achievements, and commitments in Singapore. Expand on the areas where the application form does not allow you to convey fully.
Tip #19: Consider attaching supporting documents to your cover letter.
It’s best if you can back up the key statements made within your cover letter with supporting documents. For example, if you have won professional awards, contributed to a project that benefited society, bought a house here – then show proof of that.
Tip #20: Follow the Goldilocks rule: “Not too much, not too little, but just right.”
When it comes to including details or additional documents to strengthen your application, bear in mind the “Goldilocks rule”. Don’t overdo it with too much information and irrelevant details, or else you’ll dilute the clarity of your application. Your true merits won’t stand out clearly.
Be critical of the details you want to highlight. If an item helps to communicate your commitment, contributions, and potential in Singapore then include them. But if you have multiple items that point to the same merits, then prioritise the most significant ones.
Tip #21: Get a second set of eyes to review.
Preferably someone more unbiased. In most cases, your spouse will not provide an objective perspective. Because they’re emotionally attached to the outcome.
Reach out to someone reliable and trustworthy in your social circle. They’re more likely to provide an objective perspective on your application and give you thoughtful feedback.
Tip #22: Remember to activate your Singpass.
Make sure you have your activated Singpass details ready, you need it to log in to the ePR portal to submit your application.
Tip #23: Organise all your document files beforehand.
To make the uploading of documents easier, it’s good to organise your documents systematically. We suggest creating a main folder, with subfolders for each category of your documents.
Sometimes, you might mistakenly save duplicate files. Tidy the folders as you’re sorting out your documents – get rid of the duplicates.
Name your files clearly with applicant names and the title of the document.
Come submission time, as you upload the documents required for each field, always check that you uploaded the right document to the right field. If your document files were properly named, formatted, and organised, then this part should be a breeze.
Tip #24: Buffer your time wisely.
Expect to spend several hours submitting your application.
The submission of the application includes completing the application form, and then uploading your documents online. If you have already pre-filled the form (recommended), then your time on the ePR system would be shorter. Expect to take between 1 to 3 hours on the online platform.
If you were to enter the details for the application form on the system itself, this could take several hours longer. Especially, if you don’t have all the information at hand.
It’s best to finish the application in one sitting. You don’t want to keep going back and forth on it, as there is also a time limit of 7 days to complete the process. So clear out your day from any interruptions and buffer in the time necessary to complete it in one sitting.
Did we miss anything?
As you can see, there are no hacks or shortcuts to becoming a Singapore PR.
Your application is the only thing standing in the way of you and your PR status. So make sure you get it done right.
We hope these tips will help you with your application. If we missed anything, feel free to leave a comment below.
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