What is the change? Singapore has launched an online permanent residency applications process that allows applicants to submit their application and supporting documents electronically without needing to make an appointment with Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.
What does the change mean? The system, known as e-PR, went online this week and authorities are now accepting applications. Manual applications are no longer being accepted.
- Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
- Visas/permits affected: Permanent resident applications.
- Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for permanent residency in Singapore.
- Impact on processing times: The e-PR system should streamline the application process, although the application review period will remain four to six months.
Business impact: Applicants will no longer need to submit documents in person at Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. While the new system will have a positive impact overall, BAL has seen anecdotal evidence of an uptick in rejections of re-entry permit applications for permanent residents who live outside of Singapore. It is not clear, however, whether this is related to the switch to the new application system or just a tightening measure to protect the local workforce, in line with recent Ministry of Manpower changes.
Background: Singaporean officials announced in November that they would switch to the new system in December in an effort to ease the application process. Applicants may now access the e-PR system online using their SingPass/2FA verification. A new government filing fee of 100 Singapore dollars (about US$75) will be applicable plus 20 Singapore dollars for the re-entry permit if the e-PR application is approved.
BAL Analysis: The recently launched e-PR system should improve the application process and eliminate the need to wait for an appointment and make a trip to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority counter to submit an application. In-person appointments may still be required after review of the online application, but this will be determined and scheduled by the reviewing officer if needed.