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How to Apply for Singapore Permanent Resident as a First-Time PR Applicant

If you are an expatriate who has been living in Singapore for several years, you may be wondering if you are eligible to apply for Singapore permanent residency. After all, as a country, Singapore has the stability and growth opportunity many people are looking for.

The weather is generally predictable throughout the year, and the country is not prone to any form of natural disaster. So, despite the hotter climate, it is generally a great place to raise a family.

However, applying for a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) status can be a daunting and overwhelming task, particularly if you are a first-time PR applicant. There are several stages to the process, including completing forms and uploading supporting documents, all of which must be submitted within seven days (168 hours).

Overview: Applying as a First-Time PR Applicant

  • Log in to ICA’s e-PR system with a valid SingPass
  • Complete the online application form in full, with all required supporting documents
  • Pay the applicable fees
  • ICA will review your application and contact you with the outcome
  • If successful, complete and submit any further required documents
  • Reapply after 12 months if unsuccessful

That’s why we’ve decided to put together this quick guide listing the various steps and stages to give you a better overview of what to expect. This way, you can ensure that your application is submitted correctly, on time, and with fewer chances of getting rejected.

The ICA e-PR System

The first step is to log in to your account on the ICA’s e-PR system. This means you need a valid SingPass to access the online application form.

Do take note that the online application form must be completed in full, with all required supporting documents uploaded within seven days (168 hours).

The required documents include:

  • A recent passport-sized photograph of yourself
  • A copy of your passport biodata page
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • A copy of your highest educational qualification certificate or transcript of records
  • A copy of your employment history for the past five years

Also, if you’re submitting documents that are not in English, ensure that you get them translated before uploading them. It might seem like common sense, but we’ve had ample cases where documents were submitted in various languages.

Obviously, the ICA will not bother translating them for you and will promptly ignore those documents.

Once your submission is made, all that is left is to pay the applicable fees. The current fee for a first-time applicant is S$100.

A Notable Change from Previous Application Processes

In the past, you would then be invited down to ICA’s building for an interview with an officer. However, this step has been removed since 2009.

Today, you have to make your entire applicant case strictly online. This means your application form must be completed and with your best-selling case included, as you won’t have a chance to present it in person. Everything has to be in writing and within a few pages.

After which, ICA will review your application and supporting documents. They will then contact you via email to inform you of the outcome of your application. Alternatively, you can log in to ICA’s e-PR application portal to check the outcome or status of your application.

If your application is successful, you will be issued a Letter of Intent to Grant Permanent Residence in Singapore. You must then complete and submit any further supporting documents within two weeks.

Once these requirements have been met, ICA will issue your Permanent Resident card.

What to do if Your Application was Rejected

Likewise, ICA will notify you via email if your application is unsuccessful.

There are several reasons why an application for PR status may be rejected. These include:

  • Not meeting the eligibility criteria
  • Insufficient funds to support yourself and your dependents
  • A criminal record
  • Poor employment history
  • Adverse information from credit reporting agencies
  • Posing a security threat to Singapore.

If you are rejected, you may choose to appeal the decision within 14 days of receiving the notification. However, there is no guarantee that your appeal will be successful.

In most cases, we do recommend our clients refrain from reapplying too quickly despite you having the option to reapply for PR status after 12 months from the date of your last application.

That’s because while no reason is given for rejection, it is usually because the profile submitted doesn’t meet the criteria Singapore is looking for in a PR. In such cases, it is better to beef up the application profile rather than continually submitting a terrible application.

You can do several things to increase your chances of being approved for Singapore PR status as a first-time applicant. These include:

  • Applying when you are employed and have been working in Singapore for at least six months
  • Possessing good educational qualifications
  • Having strong family ties in Singapore
  • Showing a commitment to living in Singapore long-term
  • Having no criminal record.


Applying for Singapore PR status can seem daunting and overwhelming, particularly if you are a first-time applicant. However, by following these simple steps and ensuring that all required documents are submitted within seven days (168 hours), you can increase your chances of having your application approved.

Have You Calculated Your PR Eligibility Score Yet?

Fill in our online “PR Eligibility” Quiz and calculate what your current chances of approval are like using our Proprietary Scoring Metrics based on industry experience and information.