Employment Pass

  1. Who is it for?
  2. Eligibility Requirements
  3. Documents Checklist
  4. Application Process
  5. Appealing against a Rejected Application
  6. Passes for family members
  7. Work Pass Renewal
  8. Taking up directorship in Singapore

1. Who is it for?

    • The Employment Pass (EP) allows foreign professionals, managers and executives to work in Singapore. Candidates must earn at least $4,500 a month, with more experienced candidates demanding a higher salary.
    • The EP application must be filed by the employer (sponsoring company) or the authorized and licensed Employment Agency (EA), such as Cultivar.
    • First-time EP applicants may receive an EP valid for up to 2 years, upon approval. Subsequent renewals may be valid for up to 3 years.
    • Family members can join eligible EP holders in Singapore on a Dependant Pass or Long Term Visit Pass.

2. Eligibility Requirements

    • Applicants must have a job offer in a managerial, executive or specialist role with a Singapore employer.
    • Applicants must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$4,500 per month.  However, more experienced candidates and those in the Financial Services sector are required to have higher salaries that commensurate with their work experience.
    • Applicants must have acceptable qualifications, usually a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialized skills.

A Self-Assessment Tool is available to determine if an applicant is eligible for an EP. The tool provides a good guideline based on preliminary assessments. However exceptions may apply, wherein an applicant without a qualification may not necessarily be ineligible for an EP.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) assesses each case holistically, taking into consideration both the applicant and the background of the sponsoring entity/employer.

At Cultivar, our Consultants can provide relevant advice based on our track record and experience.

3. Documents Checklist

Required documents for the EP application include:

    • Applicant’s Passport
    • Deed Poll / Name Affidavit if the applicant’s name on the passport is different from their other documents
    • Applicant’s educational certificates
      • For Diploma and above qualifications from India: Transcripts or marksheets for all semesters stating the college attended
      • For Diploma and above qualifications from China: Verification proof from any one of the below:
        • China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHSI)
        • Global verification agencies such as Dataflow or Risk Management Intelligence (RMI)
        • China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC)
      • For Institutions not found in the MOM’s drop-down list: Verification proof from a Global verification agency.
    • Company’s latest business profile or instant information registered with ACRA
    • Additional documents that MOM may request

4. Application Process

1. Local Labour Market Testing

    • Companies are required to advertise the role in MyCareersFuture (MCF) for at least 28 days and consider all local candidates fairly. If a foreign candidate is still required after the screening process, the EP application may be filed.
    • Companies will be exempted from the advertising requirement if:
      • The company has fewer than 10 employees.
      • The fixed monthly salary for the vacancy is $20,000 and above.
      • The role is short-term, i.e. not more than 1 month.

2. Submit the application

    • Online applications are submitted through myMOM Portal. Processing time is 3 weeks. Where additional vetting is required by the MOM, processing time may be extended.
    • Manual applications must be submitted over the counter at a SingPost location. Processing time is 8 weeks or longer.

3. Receive In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter

Once the application is approved, the sponsoring company will receive the IPA letter. The IPA is valid for 6 months and during the validity, the applicant must enter Singapore and request to issue the EP.

4. MOM Entry Approval*

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, all foreigners holding IPAs are required to apply and obtain an entry approval from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) before they are allowed into Singapore.

As the COVID-19 situation is very fluid, MOM regulations on entry approvals may change according to the global situation.

5. Pass Issuance

The applicant must be physically in Singapore for the sponsoring company to issue the EP. The EP has to be issued before the applicant is able to commence work. Issuance can only be done by the sponsoring company / authorized Employment Agency, when they have received the necessary documents required for the issuance.

Documents include:

    • Applicant’s Short Term Visit Pass (electronic immigration white card)
    • A completed medical examination form or health declaration form (if required)
    • A completed declaration form attached with the candidate’s in-principle approval letter

The applicant will receive a Notification Letter (NL) once the pass has been issued. The NL is valid for 1 month and allows the applicant to work and travel in and out of Singapore, prior to receiving the EP card.

6. Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC) Registration (if required)

First-time pass holders are required to have their fingerprints registered and photo taken within 2 weeks of EP issuance. This is done by scheduling an appointment at the Employment Pass Services Centre.

7. Receive the EP card

Applicants will receive the physical EP card within 4-5 working days, after pass issuance or completion of EPSC registration, whichever is later.

5. Appealing against a Rejected Application

Based on the reason of EP rejection, the sponsoring company or EA may submit an appeal online within 3 months from the date of rejection.

Appealing against a rejected application can be a complex process, speak to us for further advice now!

6. Work Pass Renewal

An EP renewal application can be submitted up to 6 months before the existing pass expires. Applications must be submitted online by the employer or employment agent.

The standard processing time for renewals is approximately 3 weeks.

Renewal applications are assessed based on the prevailing criteria (e.g. minimum salary criteria of S$4,500 must be met). If the application is successful, the EP can be renewed for a duration of up to 3 years.

7. Passes for family members

Eligible EP holders* are allowed to bring certain family members to join them in Singapore.

Eligibility Criteria

    • EP holder must earn at least $6000 a month.
    • EP holder must earn at least $12000 a month to bring their parents
    • Must not be an intra-corporate transferee from a foreign company

The following family members can join the EP holders and enter Singapore under a Dependent Pass or a Long Term Visit Pass.

Dependent Pass (DP) Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP)
Legally married spouse Common-law spouse
Unmarried children under 21, including those legally adopted Unmarried handicapped children above 21
Unmarried step-children under 21
Parents (Only for EP holders earning at least $12,000)

8. Taking up directorship in Singapore

An EP holder can be appointed to take up a directorship role in another related company.


    1. The appointing company must ensure that the Employment Pass holder’s employer has no objections to the Employment Pass holder taking on directorship.
    2. The appointing company must apply for a Letter of Consent (LOC) from the MOM. Directorship duties can only commence after obtaining MOM’s approval
    3. For LOC to be considered, the appointment company must be related to the EP holder’s employer (eg. Subsidiary / affiliate etc.), and the EP holder is appointed the secondary directorship role for reasons relevant to their primary employment.