If you’re thinking of studying abroad in Singapore, you’ll need to obtain a student visa, commonly referred to as the student pass.
You must submit your application at least one month before your intended arrival in Singapore, but you can begin the application process up to two months in advance. You should receive a decision within two weeks and the entire application process costs $90.
You’ll only be exempt from student pass requirements if your study program is shorter than 30 days.
- Accept a place at an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL): Universities and colleges in Singapore are known as IHLs. You must enroll in an IHL approved by the Singaporean authorities to qualify for a student pass.
- IHL registers you with the Student’s Pass Online Application and Registration (SOLAR) service: All international students must apply for their student pass through the SOLAR online service on the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website. Your IHL will start the process by providing SOLAR with your personal details.
- Receive your SOLAR application reference number: After they’ve registered you, your IHL will send over a personalized application number that you can use to access SOLAR.
- Log in to SOLAR and complete the application: You must complete what’s known as the eForm16. It’s important to print a copy of your completed form because you’ll need to present this to the ICA center in Singapore.
- Pay the application fee: You must pay a standard processing fee of $30 before submitting your application.
- Await a decision: The turnaround time on applications is usually 2 weeks.
- Receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter: If your application is successful, you’ll be sent an IPA letter. This document acts as your temporary student pass and grants you entry into Singapore.
- Receive a visit pass: Upon presenting your IPA to officials at the Singaporean port of entry, you’ll be issued with a visit pass.
- Arrange an appointment at an ICA center: After you’ve arrived, you’ll need to collect your official student pass from an ICA center. A list of the documents you’ll need can be found in the next section. You must pay a fee of $60 upon collection.
- A printed copy of the completed eForm16
- Formal admissions letter from your IHL
- SOLAR registration acknowledgment letter from your IHL
- A passport that’s valid for at least 3 months beyond the duration of your stay
- In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter
- A recent passport-sized photograph of yourself
- Certificate of educational achievements and qualifications
- Record of employment history
- Accommodation details for where you’ll be living in Singapore
- Means to pay the online application fee
- Means to pay the student pass collection fee
- Proof of adequate financial resources to cover your living expenses
- Recent medical certificate
How long does it take to get a Singapore student visa?
It usually takes around 10 days to two weeks to get your Singapore student visa, but be aware it can take longer in busy periods like July and August.
It's advisable to start your visa application as soon as you can - which is two months before you enroll. This gives you plenty of time if there are any delays or issues with your application.
Can your family members join you in Singapore?
If you have a spouse or children under the age of 18, they could live with you for around a month in Singapore.
To gain entry to the country, your loved ones will need to receive sponsorship from your university. After gaining sponsorship, they’ll be issued with a social visit pass that will allow them to remain in Singapore for up to four weeks.
Can you work on a Singaporian student pass?
Studying in Singapore means you can earn while you learn. International students are permitted to work up to 16 hours per week during term-time, or full-time during the university holidays.
You won’t need to apply for any additional paperwork either since these permissions are automatically granted with your student pass.
What if your student pass is rejected?
Receiving a visa rejection can be disheartening, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of your study abroad dreams.
Common reasons for a rejected application include things like missing documents or insufficient information. You can usually rectify these sorts of issues with a new application, but beware you'll need to pay the fee again.
If you believe your application was mistakenly or unfairly denied, you can ask your IHL to submit an appeal letter on your behalf.
If you believe incomplete or inaccurate information was behind the rejection, you can reapply to the ICA at any point.