Visa requirement for expat families moving to Singapore

06th September 2017
Visa requirement for expat families moving to Singapore

It is not uncommon for expat workers to take their family with them on a big move across the globe. There are a lot of things to consider to ensure a smooth relocation, and one of the first things to understand are what visas or permits are needed to cover both the member of the family moving for work and their dependents.

When moving to Singapore, everyone who is travelling will need to be covered by a visa. We recently took a look the various work visas available for those relocating to the country to take up employment. Any family members who are also making the move will need to be covered by a visa, and not all of them automatically include the right to work, which may need to be covered by a separate permit.

Here we take a look at the two key visas for expat families moving to Singapore.

Dependant’s Pass

A Dependant’s Pass is a visa for the legally married spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of those who hold a valid Employment Pass or S Pass and earn a minimum fixed monthly salary of $5,000. This pass needs to be sponsored by an employer or appointed employment agent, usually the employer of the person with the Employment Pass or S Pass.

It is initially issued for a duration of two years, as long as the Employment Pass or S Pass that it is tied to remains valid, and after that it can be renewed.

Eligibility to work depends on the type of pass the Dependant’s Pass is linked to. For dependants of an Employment Pass holder, a Letter of Consent can be issued to enable them to work. The potential employer applies for the Letter of Consent and it is renewable. If a dependant goes on to get their own Employment Pass or S Pass, the Dependant’s Pass should be cancelled.

For dependents of S Pass holders, however, they will need to apply for a Work Permit, S Pass or Employment Pass to be able to work and will need to meet the eligibility criteria for these. We have more information on these in our previous blog on work visas in Singapore. If the dependent of an S Pass holder gets a Work Permit (as opposed to their own S Pass or Employment Pass), then the Work Permit it tied to the validity of the S Pass holder’s pass.

Find out what documents are required to apply for a Dependant’s Pass on the Ministry of Manpower website.

Long Term Visit Pass

A Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) covers more family members than the Dependant’s Pass does. This includes a common-law spouse, step-children under 21 years of age or a handicapped child of any age who are dependents of a holder of an Employment Pass or S Pass. For those who earn over $10,000, it is also possible to get a LTVP for parents.

As with the Dependant’s Pass, the LTVP must for applied for by an employer or employment agent, usually the employer of the person with the Employment Pass or S Pass, and it is valid for up to two years as long as the original Employment Pass or S Pass it is linked to remains valid. It can also be renewed.

The biggest difference between the LTVP and the Dependant’s Pass is that the LTVP does not include the right to work while in Singapore. However, for those dependents that do get a job offer, their new potential employer can apply for a separate Employment Pass, S Pass or Work Permit as long as the candidate meets the criteria for these.

There are various documents that need to be provided, in English, when applying for a LTVP, which are all listed on the Ministry of Manpower website.
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