Singapore Employment Pass


Employment Pass (EP) is the main type of Singapore work visa issued to foreign professionals, managerial personnel(managing director, general manager, CEO), executives or specialists who wish to work in Singapore.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) allows the foreigner to apply for a Singapore Employment Pass after they have incorporated their Singapore Company to enable them to live and work in Singapore. The EP does not fall under any quota system nor is there a monthly levy charge for EP.

You can apply for Singapore Employment Pass (EP) work visa, if:

  • You are a foreign Entrepreneur, professional, managing director or shareholder of a Singapore company who wishes to relocate to Singapore to manage the company operations
  • You are a locally incorporated Singapore Company and want to hire foreign employees
  • You have an Employment offer from a prospective Singapore employer. In this case, you will have to request the employer company to make the employment pass application on your behalf.

Employment Pass Eligibility Requirements

Singapore Employment Passes are carefully assessed by the Ministry of Manpower by taking into consideration a number of factors such as the applicant’s qualifications, working experience, job profile, economic contribution, employer’s track record and the quality of the applicant to complement and supplement Singapore local workforce.

To be considered for an Employment Pass, you must have a fixed monthly salary of at least S$2,800 and possess one or more of the following:

  • Recognized Diploma/Degree qualification from a reputable university
  • Professional qualification
  • Specialist skills
  • Work related experience

The Ministry of Manpower evaluates each applicant based on individual’s merits. Other factors which  are also considered, include:

  • Salary of applicant
  • Age of applicant
  • Role & responsibility
  • Reputation of the company
  • Company paid up capital
  • Applicant's current citizenship
  • Employer’s track record

Having a recognised educational qualification does not guarantee a successful EP application as the applicant also needs to satisfy other criteria such as relevant work experience and/or professional skills.

Similarly, an applicant who does not possess a recognized educational qualification may not necessarily be rejected an EP if he possesses other compensating factors.

Pass Types

There are three categories of Employment Pass: P1, P2 and Q1 Pass.

The P Pass is for foreigners seeking managerial, executive or specialist jobs.

  • P1 Pass – for applicants earning a fixed monthly salary of more than S$7,000.
  • P2 Pass – for applicants earning a fixed monthly salary of more than S$3,500 and up to S$7,000, and possessing recognised qualifications.
  • Q1 Pass – for applicants earning a fixed monthly salary of more than S$2,800 and possessing recognised qualifications.

Employment Pass Eligibility Summary Table

Pass Type Factor One Factor Two Factor Three
P1 Fixed monthly salary
> S$8,000
Professional, Managerial, Executive, Specialist jobs
P2 Fixed monthly salary
> S$4,000
Professional, Managerial, Executive, Specialist jobs Recognised qualifications
Q1 Fixed monthly salary
> S$2,800
Recognised qualifications In lieu of recognised qualifications, MOM may also consider compensatory factors such as skills and years of experience (MOM recommends a minimum of five years relevant work experience)

Important Note:

With effect from 1 st July 2011 the salary scale has been increased,

1. From 1 July 2011, the EP salary threshold was raised to $8,000,$4,000, $2,800 for the P1, P2, Q1 pass respectively, while the S pass salary threshold would be $2,000. For existing EP and S pass holders whose passes expire(d) on or after 1 July 2011, and are affected by these changes, MOM will grant a one-off renewal of up to 2 years as per earlier thresholds of $7,000,$3,500 and $2,500 respectively.

2. Pass holders who have applied/who apply for renewal before/after 1 July 2011 are treated equally and given the same one-off renewal. Subsequent renewal applications will be assessed based on the prevailing work pass criteria.

Passes for Family Members

All Employment Pass holders can apply for Dependant Pass and/or Long-Term Visit Pass for their family members.

Dependant Pass

Both P and Q1 Pass holders can apply for Dependant’s Pass for their:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age

If you are an Employment Pass or an EntrePass  holder, your spouse is eligible to work in Singapore as a Dependant Pass holder. However, your prospective employer is required to apply for a Letter of Consent (LOC) with Ministry of Manpower. (Note: Not eligible for S pass Holder)

Long-Term Visit Pass

P Pass holders can also apply for Long-Term Visit Pass for their:

  • Common law spouse
  • Unmarried daughters above 21 years of age
  • Handicapped children
  • Step-children
  • Parents/parents-in-law

A Snap Shot

Pass Type Granted to
Employment Pass Holder
Dependant Pass Long-Term Visit Pass
P Yes Yes
Q1 Yes No

Procedure and Timeline

Rikvin submits all Employment Pass applications electronically to Ministry of Manpower as the application process is shorter, and subsequently you will also learn of your application outcome sooner. The process consists of the following steps:

  1. Application to obtain authorization code to submit application online for newly incorporated company. Upon submission, it takes about 7-14 days for Ministry of Manpower to send the authorization code.
  2. Submission of application online. It takes Ministry of Manpower between 1-15 working days to process the application.
  3. Upon receiving the In-principle Approval notification, we will make arrangement for the collection of your EP.

Documents Required for Employment Pass

Rikvin will need the following documents for submission of Employment Pass visa application in Singapore:

  • Resume or CV stating your educational and employment history (download Singapore Employment Pass Application form)
  • Copies of educational certificates and past employment testimonials
  • A copy of the personal particulars page of your passport

* Any documents that are not in English must be translated into English by an official translation service.

Approval and Collection of Employment Pass

Once the application is approved, the Ministry of Manpower will issue an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter via email. The IPA letter must be produced upon collection of the EP at the Work Pass Division at Ministry of Manpower. An IPA letter is valid for Six months from the date of notification of approval.

To collect your EP you will be required to present:

  • A copy of the IPA letter
  • Recently taken passport size photograph
  • Original passport with the entry embarkation cards
  • Medical exam report* (if the In-Principle Approval states that you require one)
  • Any other documents that are requested in the approval letter

* You can get a medical examination done in your own country through an established clinic/hospital or in Singapore. Most clinics in Singapore can provide medical examination and report within a day.

Entry Visa into Singapore

If you are overseas and require an entry visa to Singapore, your IPA letter will include a single journey entry visa. Upon your arrival in Singapore, we will make an appointment with Ministry of Manpower on your behalf for finger printing. Upon completing the procedures, your pass will be ready in 4 working days.

You may collect the pass at Ministry of Manpower personally or authorize Rikvin to collect it on your behalf.

Approval of Employment Pass Application

Singapore Employment Pass Validity

The validity period of an EP varies for:

  • First-time applicants – up to two years
  • Employment Pass renewals – up to three years

Rejection of Employment Pass Application

In the event that your Employment Pass application is rejected by the MOM, Rikvin will investigate why your application has been rejected. Based on the reasons provided by MOM, we will submit an appeal that will address the issues outlined by MOM and also include additional documents as per their request, if any. Please note that it may take three weeks or more to process an appeal, depending on the complexity of the case

Change of Employer

Employment Pass holders must apply for a new pass whenever they change employers. There is no need to cancel the existing pass prior to application for a new pass. Ministry of Manpower evaluates each application for a new pass based the applicant’s qualifications, work experience, and employer credentials. A new pass will be issued once the old pass is cancelled.

Renewal of Employment Pass

Ministry of Manpower will mail an Employment Pass Renewal Form to your employer’s address two months before your EP expires. You should submit the renewal application at least  four weeks prior to the expiration of your EP. Once approved, your employer will receive a letter of notification and the new pass is ready for pick up at the Ministry of Manpower.

Permanent Residence Eligibility

EP pass holders of P1, P2 and Q status are eligible to apply for Permanent Residence through Professional, Technical & Skilled Workers scheme. There is no designated waiting period but since one of the documents required is 6 months of salary record, hence it is advisable to wait for at least six months prior to application. It is, however, advisable for Q1 pass holders wait for at least 2 years before applying for permanent residence.

Important Information About Personalised Employment Pass:

For existing EP holders and overseas professionals that meets certain criteria, Singapore has introduced a new type of employment pass named Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) that is not tied to any employer. For more details, please refer to Singapore Personalised Employment Pass page

For professionals who want to know what the current skills demand in Singapore are, please refer to 2010 - Strategic skills demand in Singapore

Foreign Entrepreneurs and corporations, who wish to form a Singapore company, are required to appoint a professional firm to act on their behalf. The employment pass application can only be submitted to the relevant authorities once the company has been incorporated.

The timeline of forming companies in Singapore is fully computerized and as a result, the actual formation of the entity can be accomplished within 3 hours, if all documents are in place. Time may vary if you are not physically present in Singapore to sign on the documents. To form a Singapore Company and secure your employment pass, please refer here for more information Singapore Company Registration + Employment pass application.