Singapore, the glittering island country of Southeast Asia. A modern metropolitan city with balmy weather all year round, it attracts tourists by the millions each year. However, applying for travel documents has never been easy – and may even turn into a nightmare.
Fortunately, getting a Singapore visa is relatively smooth, with a convenient electronic system that has streamlined the process.
Just follow these easy steps to apply for your travel visa, and you will soon be on the plane to this tropical paradise!
1. Check If You Need a Visa
Are you fortunate enough to be from a visa-exempt country? If you are not sure, check through the countries listed below, and find out if you are among the luckless people who will need to trudge onwards through the paperwork!
List of countries requiring a visa to enter Singapore:
Visitors holding these travel documents also require a visa to enter Singapore:
- Hong Kong Document of Identity
- Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Travel Permit
- Palestinian Authority Passport
- Temporary Passport issued by United Arab Emirates
- Refugee Travel Document issued by Middle-East countries
2. Inspect Your Travel & Medical Documents
What is your passport’s expiry date? Strange as it may sound, your document must remain valid for 6 months after your stay in Singapore. This is to ensure that your passport will still be useable in the case of unexpected extensions to your stay.
Medical check-ups are not necessary for entry into Singapore. However, if you have been in or passed through any country endemic for yellow fever, you will need a yellow fever vaccination certificate – travellers under 1 year of age are exempted. The International Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever is only valid 10 days after vaccination, and will remain so for the next ten years.
Countries Endemic for Yellow Fever:
3. Filling out the Application Form
If you are envisioning endless reams of paper, you can stop panicking now. The visa application for Singapore is surprisingly simple, and features only 3 pages. This form is available online, and provided free of charge at all Singapore overseas missions. You will need your passport details and the address at which you are staying in Singapore.
You will also need one recent passport-sized colour photograph, which will be attached onto your form. The image must be taken within the last 3 months, with a white background. Your face must be in full view, and headgear is not permitted except those worn on religious or racial grounds. Make sure that your headgear does not hide facial features.
4. Other Documents That You Need to Submit
- A photocopy of your passport’s biodata page
- Letter of Introduction
- Where Applicable: Local contact’s Singapore Identity Card, both the original and a photocopy
What is a letter of introduction? And who’s your local contact? All will be explained in the next step…
5. Assistance with Visa Submission
While you can complete the application form by yourself, you will need another party to help you with the actual submission. This is where authorized visa agents, strategic partners and local contacts come in.
They will help you submit your visa application through SAVE (Submission of Application for Visa Electronically). You can contact your country’s Singapore missions for more information.
Strategic partners are institutions and travel agencies with excellent track records. They are granted SAVE strategic partner accounts to submit visa applications on behalf of applicants.
You can also submit your application through a dependable local contact if he/she is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident, who is at least 21 years old and has a SingPass account. Don’t worry about fraud – it is mandatory for your contact to enter his/her passport details in SAVE.
Your Letter of Introduction can be completed by whichever agent you are working with. If they are not able to furnish you with a LOI, you can ask your embassy to issue the letter. Additional documents and information may be requested whenever necessary.
Remember, the visa application must be submitted within 30 days before arrival in Singapore!
6. Damage to Your Wallet
Actually, not that much! The processing fee is a mere SGD 30.00, and can be paid online via VISA or MasterCard Credit/Debit Card.
However, you may be required to pay a security deposit where applicable. This is generally SGD 1,000, and you will be informed as to whether this is necessary, and how to make payment. The security deposit will be refunded if you do not break any of the conditions stated in the security bond.
7. Receiving Your Visa
You are now on the last step of your arduous journey! Excluding the date of submission, weekends, and public holidays, it takes about one working day to process your visa application. Some applications may require a longer processing time.
If the application is approved, you or your agent can print a copy of the e-Visa. If your country is not approved for e-Visa, you will be mailed a sticker visa. This visa is issued for a period of thirty days, and can be extended in Singapore for a further ninety days through the Immigration Department.
It is important to note that a Singapore visa is not an immigration pass. It allows you to travel to Singapore, but the pass will be determined and granted by the immigration officers at the point of entry. Do check your issued pass before leaving the checkpoint, as the period of stay granted on your pass is not tied to the validity of your visa.
Paperwork is never a pleasant task – but in this case, the rewards are fantastic. Persevering through a mountain of mundane details, you emerge victorious with the all-important key to your tropical vacation. Celebrate with a Singapore Sling on the white beaches of Sentosa Island, or go on a shopping spree in the glitzy malls of Orchard Road. You have certainly earned it!