Singapore is not just an international trade hub in Asia, the little red dot is also famous for their high-quality study programmes they offer to international students. Furthermore, immigration requirements to study in the country are pretty straightforward, even if you need a visa to enter the country. We’ll breakdown the visa application process to help you out.
Visa or no visa?
Students interested to study in Singapore will need a Student’s Pass. Some of you might require a visa in order to enter the country on top of a Student’s Pass. The process to apply for a Student’s Pass is the same for all students regardless of whether you need a visa or not. The only difference is that for students who need a visa, you will have to complete your Student’s Pass application in your own country, for those who don’t, can apply for a Student’s Pass once you’re in Singapore.
Whether or not you’ll need a visa depends on which country you’re from. For those who do need one, you may apply for a visa using the Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration (SOLAR+) online system once your host institution has registered you with it. When your visa application is successful, you will be issued a new SOLAR+ application number that students can use to apply for their Student Pass from your home country. There is also 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. After you have finished filling in the forms in the online application system, your host institution will submit your application to the ICA on your behalf. Similar to students who applied for a pass in their home country, you will need to visit an ICA office to collect your Student Pass once your application has been approved.
Online Application SOLAR+
Students need to submit their SOLAR+ application at least one month but not more than two months prior to the commencement of your study programme. Your IHL will register students 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 let you know once this is done, and you will then log into SOLAR+ to complete the eForm 16.
The eForm16 will require you that you have the following documents and information on hand:
· 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.
Remember to print a copy of your completed form after you’ve submitted it online through SOLAR+. Students are required to present the hard copy form to the Student’s Pass Unit at ICA when you collect your pass. You will also need to stick your passport-sized photo onto the top right-hand corner of the form before you do so. The application processing time for students who do NOT need a visa is five days. For those for DO, the processing time is ten days.
IPA and Additional Requirements
Once your application has been approved, students will be issued an In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter by your host institution. For those who need a visa, it will be attached to this letter. This IPA will act as a provisional Student’s Pass until you collect it from an ICA office, and if applicable you can use it to enter the country.
Some universities such as Nanyang Technological University requires students to complete a medical examination before you start your study programme. If your programme is longer than six months, you must undergo a compulsory medical examination given by the university. Once you’ve finished the examination, you will be given a medical report that you will need to present to the ICA when you collect your Student’s Pass. Students may choose complete the medical examination in your home country, provided the report is given in the ICA-approved format.
Collecting your Student’s Pass
Occasionally, you host university might be authorised by ICA to issue your Student’s Pass to you on campus. However, in most cases, you’ll need to contact ICA and set up an appointment to pick up your pass and submit additional documents. You’ll need to set this appointment within the time frame given in your IPA letter. A Student’s Pass will be issued no earlier than a month before the start of your study programme.
Make sure that you have the following ready when you come to collect your pass:
· 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
There is a non-refundable fee of SGD 30 (US$24) for each application submitted to them. You can pay this fee either via credit card or internet banking.
Additionally, students need to pay an issuance fee of SGD 60 (US$ 47) for a Student’s Pass and those of you who need a visa will have to pay another SGD 30 visa fee. For both cases, fees are payable to the ICA when you come to collect your pass in person.