Singapore Permanent Resident Renewal is a popular topic for the expat community nowadays. There are many different ways to promote your Singapore permanent resident status, whether it is via businesses or investment schemes. But have you ever considered upgrading your Singapore permanent resident visa to a Singapore PR? If you have an existing PR, congratulations! You’re one step closer to being a citizen of one of the most developed countries in Asia.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the news, Singapore has recently announced a new PR program. The Singapore PR is aligned with the Immigration Act 2016 and will allow foreign citizens who have lived in Singapore from Jan 1st 2009 onwards to apply for PR after 3 years of residence in Singapore. The eligibility criteria for the Singapore PR will be similar to the current applicant filing criteria for normal PRs. You can read more about it here.
The new program will be launched on June 13th 2017. So, there is still some time for you to figure out if you should apply or not.
I will share my personal experience in applying for the new program:
My Singapore Permanent Resident Renewal Visa (PRV) expires on Jun 27, 2017. I have been living in Singapore since 2007 when I was granted PR under the two-year program (before this quota was exhausted). The first time I applied for a PRV was under the 3-year limited quota in 2011 and I still hold it till today. It was my second application. I came to Singapore in 2007 and I was granted with the one-year PR. Before renewing my PRV, I had to submit my passport for a police report. The first time applying for the two-year quota was simple, but not so much for the second application in 2011. The process took about a month or so as I had to wait for a police officer to come after work and he did not work until late at night.
So, this time around I applied for a PR under the new program on May 15th 2017. My passport was verified for a police report on Jun 6th 2017 and it was sent back to my house on Jun 13th 2017. The whole process took about two weeks or so. I had an interview at the Approval Unit (AU) from Jul 3rd until Jul 6th 2017. The requirements for the PR under the new program are similar to the current applicant criteria for a normal PR.
So, I was asked about my employment details and other necessary documents which are:
A) Current Singapore Employment Pass/ Work Permit (if have one)
B) Copy of Sing Pass
C) ID (e.g., Passport, Driving License, National Registration Identity Card etc.)
I was required to give reasons as to why I wanted a PR in Singapore, why I chose Singapore as my permanent destination and given a test of basic English.
After the interview, my file was submitted to the Minister for Home Affairs who passed it back to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval. It took about 5 days for me to receive my letter of approval. The notice was sent by courier on Jul 12th and arrived at my house the next day.
The new program offers a chance for the applicant to upgrade his/her PR to a Singapore Permanent Resident Renewal well within 10 years of being in Singapore. In the past, if you wanted to upgrade your visa, you had to be married to a Singaporean or served in the Singapore Government and only then will you qualify for a Singapore citizenship. However, under the new program, you will be considered a Singaporean from the date of entry into Singapore – or if you have been in Singapore for over 7 consecutive years. You can read more about it here.
I submitted my application for a PR within 2 weeks of receiving the approval notice. I submitted my PRV renewal online through DPKI (Department of Home Affairs). DPKI is a government website that lets people submit their applications for various things such as passport renewals and work pass. The process to submit is pretty simple. You just need to fill in your Singapore address and contact details, confirm your information and upload the documents. The $32 for renewal was not an issue for me.
You can check the status of your file here:
3 Month grace period
More information about the new program can be found here. But I will briefly mention some of them before providing a final verdict on whether you should apply or not. The new program offers a 3-month grace period for the applicant who is eligible to apply for a PR under the new program. What this basically means that you can apply for Singapore Permanent Resident Renewal without having to wait 12 months. For example, if you got approved on Aug 20 2017, you should be able to apply for PR on Feb 15 2018. This is especially useful if you wish to change jobs or want to travel without any hassle. It is also good for those who want to apply for a mortgage to purchase a property in Singapore.
I have currently no plans to apply for PR under this new program. I will continue to work and reside in Singapore until the end of my working visa. I am not in any rush to apply for PR at the moment as I am waiting for my wife’s contract with her company in Malaysia to finish before we move back here again.