Singapore Personal Income Tax

A person is subject to tax on employment income for services performed in Singapore, regardless of whether the remuneration is paid in or outside Singapore. Resident individuals who derive income from sources outside Singapore are not sub­ject to tax on such income. This exemption does not apply if the foreign-source income is received through a partnership in Sing­apore. Foreign-source dividend income, foreign branch profits and foreign-source service income received by any individual resident in Singapore through partnerships may be exempted from Singapore tax if certain prescribed conditions are met. Indi­viduals who carry on a trade, business, profession or vocation in Singapore are taxed on their profits. Whether an individual is car­rying on a trade is determined based on the circumstances of each case. Foreign-source income received in Singapore by a nonresi­dent is specifically exempt from tax.

Individuals are resident for tax purposes if, in the year preceding the assessment year, they reside in Singapore except for such tem­porary absences from Singapore as may be reasonable and not inconsistent with a claim by such persons to be resident in Singapore. This also includes persons who are physically present or who exercise employment (other than as a director of a com­pany) in Singapore for at least 183 days during the year preceding the assessment year. A concession is available for foreign employees whose employment period straddles two calendar years. Under this concession (commonly known as the “two-year administrative concession”), the individual is considered resident for both years if he or she stays or works in Singapore for a con­tinuous period of at least 183 days straddling the two years, even if fewer than 183 days were spent in Singapore in each year.

Nonresident individuals employed for not more than 60 days in a calendar year in Singapore are exempt from tax on their employ­ment income derived from Singapore. This exemption does not apply to a director of a company, a public entertainer or a profes­sional in Singapore.

Frequent business travelers (foreign employees based outside Singapore but who travel into Singapore for business purposes) may have a tax liability arising from their presence in Singapore, depending on their total number of employment days in Singapore. Work pass requirements should be reviewed before travel (see Sections F and G).

Under the Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) scheme, a qualifying individual may enjoy tax concessions for five consecutive assess­ment years, including time apportionment of Singapore employ­ment income, if certain conditions are satisfied.

Income subject to tax. The taxation of various types of income is described below.

Employment income. Taxable employment income includes cash remuneration, wages, salary, leave pay, directors’ fees, commis­sions, bonuses, gratuities, perquisites, gains received from employee share plans and allowances received as compensation for services. Benefits-in-kind derived from employ ment, includ­ing home-leave passage, employer-provided housing, employer-provided automobiles and children’s school fees, are also taxable. Certain of these benefits receive special tax treatment. However, the special treatment for employer-provided housing is no longer available, effective from the 2015 assessment year. Under a 2016 budget proposal, the special treatment for home-leave passages for expatriate employees and their family members will also be removed, effective from the 2018 assessment year.

Compulsory statutory contributions made by employers to the Central Provident Fund (CPF; see Section C) on behalf of indi­viduals performing services in Singapore does not constitute taxable income. Contributions made by an employer to any provident or pension fund located outside Singapore are taxable as income when the contributions are paid, unless exempted by concession.

Not Ordinarily Resident scheme. Under the NOR scheme, a resi­dent employee whose resident status is not accorded under the two-year or three-year administrative concessions (see Who is liable) may benefit from the following concessions for five con­secutive assessment years:

  • Time apportionment of employment income
  • Tax exemption (with certain exceptions) for the employer’s contributions to non-mandatory overseas pension funds or social security schemes, subject to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) maximum contribution limits for “ordinary” and “addi­tional” wages (see Section C)

To qualify for the NOR scheme, an employee must meet the fol­lowing conditions:

  • He or she must be a resident for tax purposes in the assessment year in which he or she wishes to apply.
  • He or she must not have been a resident for tax purposes in the three assessment years immediately preceding the assessment year in which he or she wishes to apply.

To benefit from the time apportionment of employment income, the employee must meet the following additional conditions:

  • He or she must spend at least 90 business days in the calendar year outside Singapore with respect to his or her Singapore employment.
  • The employment income of the individual must be at least SGD160,000.
  • The tax on the apportioned income must be at least 10% of the total Singapore employment income.

The time apportionment concession applies to both cash com­pensation and benefits-in-kind, other than directors’ fees and Singapore tax paid by employers.

Self-employment and business income. Self-employment income subject to tax is based on financial accounts prepared under gen­erally accepted accounting principles. Adjustments are made to the profits or losses according to tax law. Business income is aggregated with other types of income to determine taxable income, which is taxed at the rates described in Rates.

Investment income. Under the one-tier system, dividends paid by Singapore tax-resident companies are exempt from income tax in the hands of shareholders, regardless of whether the dividends are paid out of taxed income or tax-free gains.

Dividends, other than tax-exempt and one-tier dividends, are taxed at the rates set forth in Rates.

Singapore-source investment income (that is, income that is not considered to be gains or profits from a trade, business or profes­sion) derived directly by individuals from specified financial instruments, including standard savings, current and fixed deposits, is exempt from tax. Examples of such income include interest from debt securities, annuities and distributions from unit trusts.

Net rental income is aggregated with other types of income and taxed at the rates set forth in Rates.

Taxation of employer-provided stock options and share ownership plans. Employer-provided stock options are taxed at the time of exercise, not at the time of grant. Share awards are taxable at the time of award or at the time of vesting, if a vesting period is imposed. The taxable amount is the open market value of the shares at the time of exercise, award or vesting, less the amount paid by the employee, if any. For stock options and share awards granted on or after 1 January 2003 on which a moratorium is imposed on the acquired shares, the gains are taxed only on the date the moratorium is lifted. The taxable amount is the open market value of the shares on the date the moratorium is lifted, less the amount paid by the employee.

Stock options and share awards granted during overseas employ­ment are not subject to tax even if the gains derived are remitted into Singapore while the employee is a tax resident, because all foreign-source income received in Singapore (other than through partnerships) by resident individuals is exempt from tax. Stock options and share awards granted on or after 1 January 2003 while the employee is engaged in employment in Singapore are subject to tax, regardless of where the options are exercised or shares are vested. These options and awards are deemed exercised or vested at the time of cessation of employment (including being seconded outside Singapore for an assignment or leaving Singapore for a period more than three months) for a foreign national employee, and tax is due immediately on the deemed gains.

For employee stock options or shares granted under any employee share ownership plan on or after 1 January 2003, the employer may apply for a Tracking Option if certain qualifying conditions and requirements are met. If the employer has been granted approval to track and elects to do so, the stock options or shares granted are reportable and taxable at the time of exercise or vesting.

An incentive scheme is available for an employee to defer pay­ment of tax on share plan income (subject to an interest charge).

Any additional gain derived from the subsequent sale of the shares is normally capital in nature and is not taxable.

Capital gains. Capital gains are not taxed in Singapore. However, in certain circumstances, the tax authorities consider transactions involving the acquisition and disposal of real estate, stocks or shares to be the carrying on of a trade. As a result, gains arising from such transactions are taxable. The determination of whether such gains are taxable is based on a consideration of the facts and circumstances of each case.

The buyer of property must pay stamp duty on the value of the property purchased. Certain buyers of residential properties, including residential land, must pay additional buyer’s stamp duty, in addition to the usual stamp duty. Sellers of residential and industrial properties may be liable for seller’s stamp duty depending on when the property was purchased and the holding period. Specified sellers of industrial properties may be liable for stamp duty.

Deductions

Deductible expenses. In principle, expenses incurred wholly and exclusively in the production of income qualify for deduction, but in practice, the deductions available against employment income are limited. The general view taken by the Inland Revenue authority is that an employer normally pays all necessary expens­es incurred by an employee in the course of discharging the duties of office. Employees must be able to prove to the Inland Revenue that expenses claimed were necessarily incurred in per­forming their duties.

Personal deductions and allowances. Personal deductions are granted to individuals resident in Singapore. Some of the deduc­tions for the 2016 assessment year (income earned in the 2015 calendar year) are summarized in the following table.

Type of deduction Amount of deduction
Spouse relief SGD2000 (a)
Handicapped spouse SGD5500 (a) (b)
Earned income:
Under 55 years of age SGD1000
55 to 59 years of age SGD6000
60 years of age and older SGD8000
Handicapped earned income:
Under 55 years of age SGD4000
55 to 59 years of age SGD10000
60 years of age and older SGD12000
Child relief SGD4000 each
Handicapped child SGD7500 each (c)
Dependent parents (maximum of two):
Living with taxpayer SGD9000 (d)
Not living with taxpayer SGD5500 (d)
Handicapped dependent parents:
Living with taxpayer Additional SGD5000 (e)
Not living with taxpayer Additional SGD4500 (e)
Grandparent caregiver relief (for working mothers) SGD3000

a) The spouse relief is an expansion of the traditional wife relief, the purpose of which is to provide recognition to both male and female taxpayers supporting their spouses. Spouse relief and handicapped spouse relief are no longer granted to individuals for maintaining their former spouses.

b) The handicapped spouse relief was increased from SGD3,500 to SGD5,500, effective from the 2015 assessment year.

c) The handicapped child relief was increased from SGD5,500 to SGD7,500, effective from the 2015 assessment year.

d) Effective from the 2015 assessment year, the parent relief was increased from SGD7,000 to SGD9,000 if the dependent is living with the taxpayer, and from SGD4,500 to SGD5,500 if the dependent is not living with the taxpayer.

e) Effective from the 2015 assessment year, the handicapped parent relief was increased from SGD8,000 to SGD10,000 if the dependent is not living with the taxpayer, and from SGD11,000 to SGD14,000 if the dependent is living with the taxpayer.

Working mother’s child relief and foreign maid levy deductions are available for married women working in Singapore. Parenthood tax rebates are available for parents, but are subject to certain conditions. Special deductions are available for military reserv­ists and the spouse or parents of military reservists.

The following deductions for life insurance premiums or contri­butions to approved pension funds are granted:

  • For an employee, the total of life insurance premiums and amounts contributed to approved pension funds other than the CPF may be deducted up to a maximum amount of SGD5,000, provided that the total CPF contributions are less than SGD5,000.
  • For an individual carrying on a trade, business, profession or vocation, CPF contributions may be deducted up to an amount of SGD31,450 for the 2016 assessment year and SGD37,740, effective from the 2017 assessment year.
  • A deduction of up to SGD7,000 may be claimed for cash con­tributions made to the taxpayer’s, the taxpayer’s parents’ or the taxpayer’s grandparents’ CPF retirement accounts, including contributions by taxpayers to non-working spouses or siblings who earned no more than SGD4,000 in the preceding year (see below).

Two separate tax reliefs of up to SGD7,000 are granted. The first relief is for top-ups by the taxpayer or his or her employer to the employee’s own CPF retirement account. The second relief is for top-ups to the taxpayer’s family members’ CPF retirement

account. In addition, tax relief is allowed for voluntary contribu­tions made by the taxpayer specifically to his or her CPF Medisave Account, which is intended for the taxpayer’s medical needs. Voluntary contributions made by an employer are taxable income to the employee.

Fees for approved courses may also be deducted, up to a maxi­mum of SGD5,500.

Under a 2016 budget proposal, to enhance the progressivity of the personal income tax regime, the total amount of personal income tax reliefs that an individual can claim will be capped at SGD80,000 per assessment year, effective from the 2018 assess­ment year.

Business deductions. For expenses to be deductible, they must be incurred wholly and exclusively in the production of income, be revenue in nature and not be specifically prohibited under the Singapore tax law. Expenses specifically not deductible include personal expenses, income taxes paid in and outside Singapore, contributions to unapproved provident funds and private vehicle expenses. No deduction is allowed for the book depreciation of fixed assets, but tax depreciation (capital allowances) is granted according to statutory rates.

Rates. A person who is a tax resident in Singapore is taxed on assessable income, less personal deductions, at the following rates for the 2016 assessment year (income from the 2015 calen­dar year).

Assessable income Tax rate Tax due Cumulative tax due
SGD % SGD SGD
First 20,000 0 0 0
Next 10,000 2 200 200
Next 10,000 3.5 350 550
Next 40,000 7 2,800 3,350
Next 40,000 11.5 4,600 7,950
Next 40,000 15 6,000 13,950
Next 40,000 17 6,800 20,750
Next 120,000 18 21,600 42,350
Above 320,000 20

Effective from the 2017 assessment year (income from the 2016 calendar year), the following are the rates.

Assessable income Tax rate Tax due Cumulative tax due
SGD % SGD SGD
First 20,000 0 0 0
Next 10,000 2 200 200
Next 10,000 3.5 350 550
Next 40,000 7 2,800 3,350
Next 40,000 11.5 4,600 7,950
Next 40,000 15 6,000 13,950
Next 40,000 18 7,200 21,150
Next 40,000 19 7,600 28,750
Next 40,000 19.5 7,800 36,550
Next 40,000 20 8,000 44,550
Above 320,000 22

The rates of tax applied to the income of nonresident individuals are set forth in the following table.

Income category Rate (a)
Income from employment (other than directors’ fees) Greater of 15% or tax payable as a resident. (employment income of non­resident individual employed in Singapore for no more than 60 days in a calendar year is exempt from tax)
Income from directors’ fees 22.00%
Income from a trade, business, profession or vocation 22.00%
Income from professional services 15% (b)
Interest (excluding tax-exempt interest from approved banks, finance companies, qualifying debt securities and qualifying project debt securities) 15% (c)
Dividends (other than tax-exempt and one-tier dividends) 0% (d)
Royalties for the use of, or right to use, movable property and scientific, technical, industrial or commercial knowledge or information 10% (c)
Rent or other payments for the use of movable property 15.00%
Income of public entertainers 10%, net of specified expenses (e)
Income derived by qualifying international arbitrators and mediators Exempt (f)
Other sources 22.00%

a) The rate may be reduced under the terms of a double tax treaty.

b) This is a final withholding tax on the gross amount, unless the nonresident professional elects to be assessed at a rate of 22% on net income.

c) The rate applies only if the income is not derived by the nonresident individu­al from any trade, business, profession or vocation carried on or exercised by that individual in Singapore.

d) Singapore currently does not have withholding tax on dividends, but withhold­ing tax rates on dividends are provided under its tax treaties.

e) This reduced rate applies only during the period of 22 February 2010 through 31 March 2020. The rate will return to 15% thereafter, subject to future announcements by the government.

f) This exemption is subject to a review date of 31 March 2020.

Relief for losses. Losses and excess capital allowances from the carrying on of a trade, business, profession or vocation may be offset against all other chargeable income of the same year. Any unused trade losses and capital allowances can be carried forward indefinitely for offset against future income from all sources, subject to certain conditions.

Relief is also available for the carryback of current-year unused capital allowances and trade losses, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions.

Estate and gift taxes

Estate duty has been eliminated from the Singapore tax regime for deaths occurring on or after 15 February 2008.

Singapore does not impose a gift tax.

Social security

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a statutory savings scheme to provide for employees’ old-age retirement in Singapore. Only Singapore citizens and permanent residents working in Singapore are required to contribute to the CPF. All foreigners (including Malaysians) are exempt from CPF contributions. In addition, they may not make voluntary contributions to the CPF.

Both employees and employers must contribute to the fund. For individuals up to 55 years of age, the statutory rate of the employ­ee’s contribution is 20%, and the rate of the employer’s contribu­tion is 17%. Lower contribution rates apply to individuals over 55 years of age. Special transitional contribution rates apply to foreigners who become Singapore permanent residents.

Maximum contribution limits apply to both “ordinary” and “addi­tional” wages. For “ordinary” wages, contributions for employees in the private sector are payable only on the part of the monthly wage that does not exceed SGD6,000.

Contributions on “additional” wages, such as bonuses and other non-regular wages, are subject to limits if the employee’s total wages for the year exceed SGD102,000. In this event, the contri­butions on the “additional” wages are payable up to a limit of SGD102,000, less the total “ordinary” wages subject to CPF contributions in the year.

Self-employed individuals who carry on a trade, business, profes­sion or vocation may also participate in the CPF scheme.

On reaching 55 years of age, an employee is entitled to withdraw, tax-free, the accumulated contributions up to a certain limit, plus accrued interest. If the employee permanently leaves Singapore (and Malaysia) before reaching 55 years of age, the funds may also be withdrawn. The employee’s balance may also be with­drawn for certain specified purposes, including the acquisition of residential property, investment in shares and the payment of certain hospital expenses for anyone in the taxpayer’s family.

A Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) allows Singapore citizens and permanent residents to elect to contribute to private funds in addition to their CPF contributions. Foreigners working in Singapore may also participate in the scheme. Contributions are deductible but are subject to a cap. The rates of contribution are 15% for citizens and permanent residents and 35% for for­eigners, subject to an absolute cap of 17 months of the prevailing CPF salary ceiling. The voluntary SRS contributions are paid only by employees; employers are not required to make SRS contri­butions. Employers may also directly contribute to the SRS on behalf of their employees, subject to the current contribution limits. Withdrawals made before the employee reaches the statu­tory retirement age are fully taxed and are generally subject to a 5% penalty. Withdrawals are only 50% taxable if they are made after the employee reaches the statutory retirement age in effect at the time of the first contribution, after the employee’s death, for medical reasons, or by a foreigner who has maintained the SRS account for at least 10 years from the date of the first con­tribution. Employees who reach the statutory retirement age or who meet the rules on medical grounds, may further reduce the tax payable by extending the withdrawals over a period of up to 10 years from the time they reach the statutory retirement age in effect at the time of withdrawal.

Tax filing and payment procedures

The tax year in Singapore is the assessment year, and tax is levied on a preceding-year basis. For example, in the 2016 assessment year, tax is levied on income from the 2015 calendar year. Resi­dent and nonresident individuals must file returns by 15 April of the assessment year. Sole proprietors and partners whose annual turnover exceeds SGD500,000 must attach their certified finan­cial statements to their tax returns. NOR taxpayers who spend at least 90 days outside Singapore on business may file their tax returns on a “days-in, days-out” basis, subject to certain condi­tions.

An individual may pay the tax due for the assessment year in one lump sum within one month after the issuance of a tax assess­ment. Alternatively, the tax may be paid in installments, up to a maximum of 12 per year.

Double tax relief and tax treaties

Relief from double taxation is granted on income derived from professional, consultancy and other services rendered in coun­tries that do not have double tax treaties with Singapore.

Double tax relief is also available for foreign taxes levied on income taxed in Singapore if Singapore has a tax treaty with the country concerned and if the individual is resident in Singapore for tax purposes.

Singapore has entered into tax treaties with the following jurisdic­tions.

Albania                               India                          Papua New

Australia                             Indonesia                  Guinea

Austria                               Ireland                       Philippines

Bahrain                               Isle of Man               Poland

Bangladesh                         Israel                         Portugal

Barbados                            Italy                           Qatar

Belarus                               Japan                         Romania

Belgium                              Jersey                        Russian

Bermuda (a)                       Kazakhstan                Federation

Brazil (b)                            Korea (South)           San Marino

Brunei Darussalam             Kuwait                      Saudi Arabia

Bulgaria                              Latvia                        Seychelles

Canada                               Libya                         Slovak Republic

Chile (b)                             Liechtenstein             Slovenia

China                                  Lithuania                   South Africa

Cyprus                               Luxembourg             Spain

Czech Republic                  Malaysia                   Sri Lanka

Denmark                            Malta                         Sweden

Ecuador                              Mauritius                  Switzerland

Egypt                                  Mexico                      Taiwan

Estonia                               Mongolia                  Thailand

Fiji                                      Morocco                   Turkey

Finland                               Myanmar                  Ukraine

France                                Netherlands               United Arab

Georgia                              New Zealand             Emirates

Germany                            Norway                     United Kingdom

Guernsey                            Oman                        United States (b)

Hong Kong SAR (b)          Pakistan                    Uzbekistan

Hungary                             Panama                     Vietnam

a) This is a tax information exchange agreement, which provides only for the exchange of information on tax matters.

b) These are limited treaties that cover only income from shipping and/or air transport.

Individuals who receive employment income in Singapore and who are tax residents of countries that have concluded double tax treaties with Singapore may be exempt from Singapore income tax if their period of employment in Singapore does not exceed a certain number of days (usually 183) in a calendar year or within a 12-month period and if they satisfy certain additional criteria specified in the treaties.

Social visit passes and visas

Social visit passes are issued at the port of entry and may be obtained without prior application. They are issued for visiting purposes only, not for employment. Social visit passes are valid from two to four weeks and for up to three months, subject to the discretion of the immigration authorities.

Certain categories of foreign nationals must obtain visas prior to arrival in Singapore.

Work permits and employment passes

Foreign nationals who intend to take up employment or to engage in a business, profession or occupation in Singapore must first apply for either a work permit or an employment pass. A Singapore entity, which is normally the employer, must sponsor the work pass application.

Work permit. A work permit (WP) may be granted to a skilled or unskilled foreign worker whose monthly basic salary is less than SGD2,200 and who holds qualifications and experience relevant to the position. WPs are granted for up to two years at a time and are renewable (maximum employment period in Singapore may apply). WPs are subject to sourcing and quota restrictions, and employers are subject to monthly levies for each WP holder employed.

Employment pass. An employment pass (EP) may be granted to a foreigner who holds an acceptable degree, professional qualifica­tions or specialist skills and whose “fixed monthly salary” (see below) exceeds SGD3,300. This minimum qualifying salary applies only to recent graduates from good institutions. More experienced applicants are expected to possess a higher salary commensurate with their work experience. The authorities review­ing the application may consider the applicant’s professional and academic qualifications, special skills with respect to his or her employment and his or her anticipated economic contribution to Singapore.

Under the Fair Consideration Framework, before the submission of a new EP application, the employer must post the job vacancy to the designated jobs database for a period of at least 14 days. Small firms with 25 or fewer employees and jobs that pay a fixed monthly salary of SGD12,000 and above are exempt from the advertising requirement. Other exemptions are available.

The S Pass is a work pass for individuals with a minimum fixed monthly salary of SGD2,200 and an acceptable tertiary qualifica­tion, which may be less than a university degree (for example, a college diploma). Similar to the salary requirement for the EP, more experienced applicants are expected to draw higher salaries to qualify for an S Pass. The S Pass is subject to a quota and a monthly levy payable by the company.

“Fixed monthly salary” includes basic salary and other fixed monthly payments, such as a cost-of-living adjustment and other cash allowances provided to an employee. Notably, it does not include the provision of benefits-in-kind, such as housing, or variable payments, such as commissions, bonuses or daily-based allowances.

A foreign national who receives an in-principle approval for an EP or S Pass may be required to undergo a medical examination or to complete a health declaration form.

A first-time applicant may be issued an EP/S Pass with a duration of up to two years. The EP/S Pass may be renewed for periods of up to three years per renewal.

Personalized employment pass. An EP holder who earns a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD12,000 may apply for a personal­ized employment pass (PEP). An overseas foreign professional whose last drawn fixed monthly salary (within six months from the date of application) was at least SGD18,000 may also apply. The PEP is issued for a non-renewable period of three years and may be issued only once. The holder must not be unemployed for a continuous period exceeding six months, and must earn a fixed annual salary of at least SGD144,000 in each calendar year in which he or she holds the PEP. Certain requirements for reporting to the Ministry of Manpower are imposed on the PEP holder and his or her employer.

The PEP provides added flexibility for the holder because the pass is not tied to a particular employer. The PEP provides the same dependent privileges as the EP. The PEP does not enable the holder to take up freelance work without a direct employer, or to be a business owner (sole proprietor, working partner or director with shareholding).

EntrePass. A foreigner who is an entrepreneur ready to start a new business or company and will be actively involved in the operation of the business or company in Singapore may apply for an EntrePass (employment pass for entrepreneurs). New EntrePass applicants must register their company as a private limited com­pany with paid-up capital of at least SGD50,000 and they must hold a shareholding of at least 30% in the company. The company must be new and cannot be registered in Singapore for more than six months at the time of the EntrePass application. In addition, the proposed business venture must be of an entrepreneurial nature. Applicants must show evidence of innovation or research capabilities, external funding, and/or support from a Singapore government agency. The applicant must submit a comprehensive business plan, which must include certain key indicators such as market/operation plan and growth potential of the business. The EntrePass application must be sponsored by a well-established Singapore-registered company or accompanied by a banker’s guarantee of SGD3,000 to be furnished by the applicant if the application is approved. Newly issued and renewed EntrePasses have a validity period of one year.

Residence permits

Qualified professionals, technical personnel and skilled workers may apply for permanent residence on obtaining an EP/S Pass to work in Singapore. An applicant in this category may also apply for permanent residence for his or her spouse and unmarried chil­dren under 21 years of age.

Under the Global Investor Program, foreign investors may seek permanent residence in Singapore for themselves and immediate family members by committing to invest at least SGD2,500,000 in certain approved categories of business and investment activi­ties. If applicable, the investment must be made in a Singapore-incorporated entity.

A successful applicant must make the investment in accordance with the approved business plan within six months of receipt of the approval in principle. Applicants are required to produce evidence of their investment for final approval of the conferring of permanent residence status. The applicant must maintain the in vestment for a period of five years. This five-year period begins on the date of final approval of permanent residence.

Family and personal considerations

Family members. An EP/S Pass holder may apply for dependent passes, which allow his or her legal spouse and legal children under 21 years of age to live in Singapore. An EP/S Pass holder earning a fixed monthly salary of less than SGD5,000 per month may not apply for dependent passes. A working spouse of an expatriate does not automatically receive the same WP or EP as the expatriate. A dependent pass holder who wishes to work in Singapore must apply for a WP, S Pass, EP or letter of consent separately.

If dependents are not eligible to apply for dependent passes, the EP/S Pass holder with fixed monthly salary of at least SGD5,000 may apply for a Long-Term Visit Pass for eligible dependents, who are the following:

  • Common-law spouse who is recognized as such by the home country
  • Unmarried stepchildren who are not legally adopted under age 21
  • Unmarried handicapped children above age 21
  • Parents of the EP/S Pass holder (only applicable for pass holder with fixed monthly salary of at least SGD10,000)

Marital property regime. The Family Court of Singapore has jur­is diction to determine the division of marital property of spouses.

The court does not automatically divide the property equally but determines a fair and equitable split according to the circum­stances of the case.

Broadly, marital property includes the following:

  • Property acquired after the date of marriage
  • Property acquired before the date of marriage but used by the other spouse or children during the marriage for accommoda­tion, transportation, or household, recreational, educational, social or aesthetic purposes
  • Property acquired before the date of marriage but substantially improved during the marriage
  • Gifts of a matrimonial home or gifts that have been substan­tially improved during the marriage

Forced heirship. No forced heirship rules apply in Singapore.

Driver’s permits. Expatriates may drive legally in Singapore with their home country driver’s licenses for the first 12 months after their arrival. Expatriates with valid employment passes must produce their home country driver’s licenses (in English or with an official translation) and pass the basic driving theory test to convert their overseas licenses to Singapore licenses.

Singapore has driver’s license reciprocity with almost all other countries.