Renowned for its national investment in education, Singapore offers a spectrum of high-quality study programmes to international students studying abroad. What’s more, immigration requirements to study in Singapore are remarkably straightforward, even if you do need a visa to enter the country. Our breakdown of the visa application process will help you get your head around what needs to be done.
To study in Singapore you will need something that is called a Student’s Pass. Some students will need a visa to enter the country as well as a Student’s Pass.
The application process for a Student’s Pass is the same for students who require and visa and those who don’t: the only difference is that if you need a visa, you’ll have to complete your Student’s Pass application from your home country. Students who do not require a visa to enter Singapore may apply for a Student’s Pass once already in the country.
Students from some nationalities will need a visa to enter Singapore. These students may apply for a visa using the Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration (SOLAR+) online system after their host institution has registered them with it. If your visa application is successful, you will be issued a new SOLAR+ application number that you can use to apply for a Student Pass from your home country. You’ll also need to pay an additional visa fee when you collect your Student’s Pass from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in Singapore.
Singapore Institutes of Higher Learning
All foreign students accepted into a full-time study programme in a Singapore Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) must apply for a Student Pass online through the SOLAR+ system. Once you complete the forms in the online application system, your host institution will lodge your application to the ICA for you. If your application is successful, you’ll need to complete the formality of going to an ICA office and collecting your Student Pass yourself.
Institutions not included on this list will provide you with specific information about your immigration requirements when you are accepted into one of their study programmes.
Online Application SOLAR+
Applications for a Student’s Pass done via SOLAR+ need to be submitted at least one month, but not more than two months before the commencement of your study programme. Before you can submit your application with SOLAR+, your IHL will register you with the system using your personal details as they appear in your passport, course details (including dates of commencement and finish), and your SOLAR+ application reference number. Your host will notify you once this is done, and you must then log onto SOLAR+ to complete the eForm 16.
Before you log onto SOLAR+ to complete the eForm 16, you will need to have the following documents and information handy:
- A registration acknowledgement notice from your host, acknowledging and confirming that they have successfully registered you with the SOLAR+ system
- Passport details: passport number, nationality, date of expiry
- NRIC/ FIN of parents if your parents are either Singaporean or are living or working in Singapore
- Your address in Singapore if applicable. If you haven’t sorted out accommodation yet then you can put your university’s registered address
- Your e-mail address
- One recent passport-sized colour photograph that has been taken within the last 3 months. This will be pasted on the top-right hand corner of the form once it has been printed out.
Once you have completed the form online through SOLAR+, you need to print a copy of it that you will need to submit in person to the Student’s Pass Unit (ICA) when you go to pick up your pass. You’ll also need to paste a passport-sized photo of yourself onto the top right-hand corner of the form before you do so.
The visa application processing time for students that do NOT require a visa to enter Singapore is five days. For students that do require a visa, the processing time is ten days.
IPA and Additional Requirements
If your application is successful, you will be issued an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter by your host institution. If you require a visa to enter Singapore, it will be attached to this letter. Your IPA letter will act as a provisional Student’s Pass until you go to collect it from an ICA office, and if applicable you can use it to enter the country.
Collecting your Student’s Pass
In some cases, your host university may be authorised by the ICA to issue your Student’s Pass on campus. If not, you will need to contact the ICA and make an appointment to pick up your pass and submit additional documents. You will need to make this appointment within the time frame indicated on your IPA letter. A Student’s Pass will be issued no earlier than a month before the start of your study programme.
When you arrive to collect your pass, you will need to bring the following:
- A valid passport and a photocopy of the passport photo page
- The Disembarkation/Embarkation card granted upon entry into Singapore
- One recent colour, passport-sized photograph taken against a white background
- A printout of the eForm 16 submitted through SOLAR that has been signed by you
- A photocopy of your IPA
- A medical report no older than three months
- Relevant fees
The ICA takes a SGD 30 (US$ 24) non-refundable fee for every application submitted to them. This fee is payable by credit card or internet banking.
There is a SGD 60 (US$ 47) issuance fee for A Student’s Pass, and students requiring a visa will need to pay a further SGD 30 visa fee. In both instances, fees are payable to the ICA when students go in person to collect their student pass.