Every year, thousands of people from many other countries visit Singapore for a number of reasons. The small island nation situated in Asia attracts an influx of tourists, students and migrants, who go there to ravel in its serenity, enjoy its cuisine, maximize available economic opportunities and the country’s acclaimed excellent educational system. To make these a possibility, one requires the possession of a Singaporean visa for entry into Singapore, which must be applied for at least thirty days before arrival in Singapore. Interestingly, Singaporean visas function as pre-entry permits: they guarantee travel to Singapore but not entry. Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) makes entry evaluations based on specified eligibility requirements at the country’s entry point. They then issue passes to eligible visa holders to enter Singapore. This article discusses how to check the status of a Singaporean visa online. As part of its discussion, it also presents a broad overview of the Singaporean Visa, outlining eligibility requirements, required documents, application methodology, types and categories.
Singaporean Visa: A broad overview
A Singaporean Visa is required for every foreigner seeking to enter or access the country.
Singaporean visas are grouped within two broad categories: (i)—multiple journey visas and single journey visas. The single journey visa is usable just once and cannot be used after departure from Singapore even when still valid. On the other hand, a multiple journey visa can be used numerous times within its validity period, even if one leaves the shores of Singapore.
Tourist visas are issued for tourism-related purposes and activities.
A work visa, which is alternatively known as passes, is solely issued for work-related purposes. They are subdivided into four classes: professional, skilled and semi-skilled, trainees and students, and short-term work passes. Professional work visas target high-earning foreign citizens and are issued to individuals interested in undertaking business ventures and corporate operations in Singapore. Skilled and semi-skilled visas focus on foreign citizens working in construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process and services, entertainment and domestic care sectors. This category invokes age restrictions and requirements as part of its eligibility conditions. Trainee and student visas offer time-limited access (usually not exceeding six months) to Singapore. It is designed for foreign citizens undertaking training programmes and schemes in Singapore. Short-term work passes allow the holder to perform work-related activities for up to a period of just sixty days.
The application process for a work visa is a complex process that begins with the crucial step of first securing a job placement in a Singaporean organization. This step is crucial as the visa process flows through the employing organization: the organization oversees the initiation of and administration of the process on behalf of the applicant. The application is routed through an online platform available via the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Singaporean equivalent of the ministry of labour. The organization also receives the document issued for successful applications, an In-Principle Approval. This letter secures entry rights into Singapore. In addition, it subsequently facilitates the visa application proper.
Singapore operates a visa-waiver policy for a few countries. Visa is mandatory for foreign citizens of the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, North Korea, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Moldova, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
Singaporean visa is accessible to foreign citizens who satisfy the following eligibility conditions (but not limited to):
- Possession of valid passport valid at least six months at the time of departure to Singapore.
- Possession of a return ticket from Singapore.
- Be able to prove possession of sufficient funds for living and maintenance costs incurred during the duration of stay in Singapore
- Be in possession of a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. This provision pertains to foreign citizens travelling from countries classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as transmission. This certificate has a validity period that runs from 10 days after vaccination with no termination date. Specifically, this provision applied to travellers from the following countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo and Uganda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador and Venezuela.
Singaporean visa applicants mandatorily present the following essential documents:
- A completed visa application form. This form, which must be duly signed, features questions pertaining to personal details, contact details, accommodation in Singapore, purpose and length of visit or stay in Singapore.
- A valid passport
- Duplicate of biodata page of passport.
- Duplicate of air ticket or travel schedule
- Applicant’s passport photograph not older than three months.
- An introductory letter
- A credit card is required for visa processing fees payment.
- Other documents that may be required as part of entry requirements.
Singaporean Visa application methods
A Singaporean visa can be applied for through the following channels:
Online at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) online platform, through a third-party agent. An individual who routes an application through this method goes through the online platform available at https://eservices.ica.gov.sg/esvclandingpage/save. On the site, they select the application method and follows the guidelines subsequently displayed.
At a foreign Singaporean diplomatic mission:
Third-party agents are travel agencies authorized by the Singaporean government to submit visa applications on behalf of applicants. It also includes partner bodies or contacts (either a citizen or permanent resident) based in Singapore. Applications attract processing fee charges.
Checking Singapore Visa Status
Applicants can check the status of submitted visa applications online. To do this, an applicant is required to:
- Visit the official website of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
- Click on ‘Enquire Application Status.’
- Fill in the required information on the page that opens subsequently. Here, the applicant fills in the visa reference number and travel document (passport) number
- Click on the “Submit” button upon completing the third step.
The application status will then be displayed consequently.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What is the processing time for a Singaporean visa?
Processing time for a Singaporean visa varies depending on the country the applicant hails from. Eligible countries for a Singaporean Visa are categorized into two groups: Assessment Levels I and II. Applications by citizens of countries that fall under the first group typically take one working day to be processed. Applications from citizens of countries that fall under the second group are typically processed in three days. However, Visa applications with incomplete documents may take longer or suffer outright rejection.
How much is the application processing fee charge for a Singaporean visa?
A Singaporean visa application attracts a mandatory, non-refundable fee charge of 30 Singaporean Dollars. This is not inclusive of additional fees that may be charged by visa agents. This can be paid online.
What are “Assessment Level I” and “Assessment Level II”?
These are classificatory schemes used by the Singaporean government for countries whose citizens require a visa to access Singapore. Assessment I category includes India, North Korea, Georgia, Belarus, China, Russia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan etc. Assessment Level II countries include Morocco, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iran, Mali, Yemen, Kosovo, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, etc. The key difference between both categories lies in the processing time and documents required for visa application: applicants from Assessment Level I countries enjoy shorter processing times.
Why is a Singaporean visa described as a ‘pre-entry permit’?
Singaporean visas are described as ‘pre-entry permits’ due to the fact that possessing a visa does not guarantee entry into Singapore. An applicant with a Singaporean visa is only permitted to travel to Singapore to be assessed by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officials for the issuance of a pass, which allows entry into Singapore. Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) assess and evaluate applicants at the country’s entry point based on specified eligibility requirements. They then issue passes to eligible visa holders to enter Singapore. The ICA-issued pass determines the duration of stay in Singapore.
Can I apply for a Singaporean visa directly?
Applications for Singapore Visa can only be made through authorized visa agents and local contacts living in Singapore. The local contact must be a citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore not below 21 years old. In the event where the visa applied for is for business purposes, the local contact has to be a representative of a business organization legally and duly registered in Singapore. An authorized visa agent submits required documents and takes receipt of the visa on behalf of the applicant.