How to get a Singapore Employment Pass

3 minute read

A Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is a type of renewable work visa that permits foreign working professionals, including managers, CEOs, and executives to live and work in Singapore.

Unlike Singapore’s S Pass, there are no official quota limitations on issuing Employment Passes by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).  This makes EP applications a relatively swift process.

However, even with clear guidelines available online, the process to apply and receive an Employment Pass is often nuanced, as each EP application is reviewed and judged on its merits. There is not necessarily a ‘golden formula’ to a successful application, although over time trends emerge around what makes a successful application.

This guide steps you through the general guidelines for an EP application and what to expect during the application process.


Key facts about the Employment Pass

  • Applicants must earn a fixed monthly salary of S$4500 (but we recommend a higher salary than this)
  • Applicants must have an employment offer in Singapore
  • Applicants must work in a managerial, executive or specialized job
  • Applicants should hold appropriate academic qualifications (a university degree, or professional qualifications)
  • Applications typically take around three weeks to process
  • You can appeal if your application is rejected

In case you are unsure, you may use this tool to check if you qualify. Do note that it does not fully guarantee that you will be granted an EP.

How do you apply for an EP?

Your Singapore employer will most likely apply to MOM for your employment pass on your behalf. You will need to supply scanned copies of documents such as your resume, educational certificates and a copy of your passport. Once you or your employer has applied for the EP, you can use this link to check the status of your application. The employment pass processing time usually takes about 3 weeks.

Once your pass is approved, you will get IPA which provide them with 1 time entry visa (if nationality required) to enter Singapore. Upon issuance of the EP, you will then get a notification letter which allows you to work and travel in or out of Singapore while waiting for the EP card to be deliver from MOM.

Your letter will also let you know if you need to register your fingerprints and photo. If so, you or your employer can make an appointment online. You are required to bring along your documents such as passport, appointment letter, employment letter and any additional relevant documents.

Once all the paperwork is out of the way, you should receive your shiny EP card in 4 business days.

The application process

If you have used the self-assessment tool and passed it, your likelihood of getting qualified is very high. However, it is also good to know that these factors may also determine your qualification for an EP:

  • Your nationality has an impact on your chances
  • The type of position – employment that requires higher qualification or experience will fare better. A position in a niche role or industry helps too.
  • The more established your company is, the better. Factors includes your company’s past revenue and paid-up capital.
  • Your salary – it should be commensurate with your skills and talent

The review process by MOM is reasonably nuanced – although guidelines are available online, applications are not automatically approved and each application is judged on its merits. This means that there is not necessarily a ‘golden formula’ to a successful application, although over time trends emerge around what makes a successful application.

What happens if my EP application is rejected?

If your EP application is rejected, you or your employer have three months to appeal the decision.

When this happens, your employer can offer further clarifying information and documents to MOM to assist them in making a determination on your application.

Visa specialists who have experience in the nuances of the approval process can also help at this point. A visa specialist can analyse why your previous application was rejected and re-adjust your application to showcase your skills and experience in a way that highlights your attractiveness as a candidate for the EP.

If you do submit an appeal, the process can take at least three weeks to process.  The status of the appeal can be checked online.

(Facing an EP rejection? Click to read our article to find out the most common reasons why.)

Need a hand preparing your application?

If you’re ready to take your business from dream to reality, we can help you make it happen. Get tailored, practical advice from us about your situation – get in touch with us today.

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