Singapore student visa: frequently asked questions ::

Singapore student visa: frequently asked questions

Very regularly, we get questions on student visa requirements for studying in Singapore. On this page we'll try and cover the most commonly asked questions to get you started.

Before I kick off, a disclaimer: we have done our best to research the answers of each question thoroughly, but the rules are applied by the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and rules can change. Where relevant, we have included links to the official websites. If there is any discrepancy between what you read here and the official websites, you should verify with the authorities. We'll be grateful if you would let us know when you find any discrepancy in the information provided here, so that we can correct it right away.

On to the questions now.

I have read about a Singapore student pass. Is there any difference between a Singapore student pass and a Singapore student visa?

No. In Singapore, every visa is referred to as a "pass". So there are:

  • Student pass
  • Social visit pass
  • Dependent pass
  • Long term social visit pass
  • Employment pass
  • S-Pass (a form of employment pass)

All these "passes" might be called visas in some countries. In Singapore they are called "passes". Otherwise, they are no different from visas.

I am coming to Singapore and want to study for 30 days only (or shorter). Do I need to apply for a student pass?

No. For a short course that can be completed in 30 days or the validity of the entry stamp you received on the checkpoint (whichever is less), you do not need a student pass.

This social visit pass, how does it work?

Most nationalities do not need to apply for a Social Visit Pass (which is equivalent of what some countries would call a "tourist visa"). If you come from a visa exempted country, you will typically get a 30-day stamp in your passport if you enter the country through the airport, and 14 days when you enter through  one of the land checkpoints.

ICA provides a list of countries that do need to apply for a social visit pass before arrival in Singapore: Countries requiring entry visa for Singapore.

My nationality requires  me to apply for a social visit pass (entry visa) before entering Singapore. How do I apply for it? Do I need to go to a Singapore embassy?

The application process for a Singapore entry visa is surprisingly efficient. If you plan to study here, you can ask the school in which you enrolled to do it on your behalf. You will need to e-mail a scan of your passport plus information to be input into the form. Your school can then fill in an electronic form. Outcome takes a few days at most. If your application is approved, you get a PDF document which you can print and bring along with your passport.

On top of the application fee, most schools do charge an administrative fee for this service. If you know any Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident, they can also apply for the entry visa on your behalf.

What are the Singapore student visa requirements?

Although the rejection rate is low, there is no fixed set of requirements that, if fulfilled, gives you the right to a student pass. You submit the documents, and ICA makes a decision. That said, if the following boxes are ticked, you will most likely be granted a student pass:

  • You follow a full-time course at a recognised educational institution, and the institution submits the application on your behalf;
  • You have adequate educational credentials. Depending on your age, it means you will have completed secondary or tertiary education;
  • Your forms are properly filled and the supporting documents all check out

Keep in mind that Singapore has the ambition to be a regional education hub. So in general, the student pass process is kept as accessible and streamlined as possible. Nevertheless, rejections do occur in certain cases.

I want to start studying very soon, do I need to wait until my student pass goes through before coming to Singapore?

No. By all means, get your application going as soon as you can. You can send scans to your school for the first submission, but need to bring the originals when you collect your pass.

That said, you can enter Singapore with a social visit pass and start your course already. Just do verify with the school whether, in the unlikely case of student pass rejection, they will refund you the remaining course fees. Most schools will agree to this.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that you always need a valid endorsement in your passport, be it a student pass or social visit pass. Never overstay even if your student pass application is pending.

How long does it take to process a student pass application?

The application can be as fast as two weeks, but it's safer to assume that it will take 4-5 weeks until approval.

I am in Singapore on another pass (such as employment pass, long-term social visit pass etc.). To take a course, do I need to apply for a student pass?

No. As long as you have a legal way to reside in Singapore, you do not need to apply for a student pass to be allowed to study.


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