Known as the ‘Switzerland of Asia’ due to its immense financial wealth and open economy, Singapore has emerged as one of the world’s most desirable locations over the past few decades. Once a small British outpost in Southeast Asia, this tiny island has grown into one of the world’s largest financial and cultural centers.
Alongside its economic success, Singapore has grown into one of Asia’s top cities to live in. Featured prominently on Quality of Life charts over the past decade, the city-state offers a combination of urban living, beautiful nature, and modern convenience that can be tough to find in other Asian cities.
Although working in Singapore is simple with any job offer, retiring in Singapore is significantly more complicated. The small city-state offers long-term visas – and in some cases, even citizenship – to those with large investments in the country, but is significantly less accessible for retirees seeking a work-free lifestyle.
Does Singapore Offer A Retirement Visa Program For Foreign Nationals?
Unfortunately, Singapore does not offer retirement visas to foreigners aiming to retire in Singapore. While foreigners are able to retire in Singapore, the process of retiring in the country generally follows years of employment in Singapore and the acquisition of either permanent residency or Singapore citizenship.
Despite the lack of a retirement visa program, foreign nationals that would like to either work in Singapore or make a large investment in the country will find it quite simple to gain long-term visas. Singapore has a strong interest in foreign knowledge and investment and welcomes ambitious individuals with very open arms.
What Other Visas Are Available For Foreign Retirees And Expatriates In Singapore?
Singapore offers a variety of visas for foreign nationals that would like to stay in the city-state for either the short or long term. These include short-term tourism visas, educational visas, as well as business visas for both employees and entrepreneurs that would like to establish their business in Singapore.
Short-term tourism visas are available for nationals of most countries, and grant a thirty to ninety day period of stay in Singapore. Visitors from the United Kingdom and many Western nations do not need to apply for a tourist visa in advance and are free to enter Singapore via air or road using the visa on arrival system.
For retirees, the most interesting visa is the Singapore business visa. Singapore is one of several countries that issues business visas for foreigners looking to start their own company in Singapore. Known as the EntrePass scheme, this visa allows foreign nationals with a sensible business plan to establish residence in Singapore.
There are several classes of EntrePass visa available, each with its own specific requirements and minimum investment level. Note that some of the lower levels of the EntrePass scheme do not grant long-term residency in Singapore. Learn more about the EntrePass program for entrepreneurs at the official website.
Business visas are also issued to foreign nationals that have been hired to work as part of a larger company in Singapore. Given the nature of Singapore’s economy, the majority of positions open to foreigners are in the finance or international business industry. A number of teaching positions are also available in the small city-state.
Singapore’s employment market is relatively easy to enter but the island’s working culture isn’t really compatible with retired life. Few retirees wish to work the long hours required by most Singapore corporations, and the few that wish to work in Singapore generally opt for less demanding positions as tutors or English teachers.
Finally, Singapore offers a Long Term Visit Pass scheme for foreign nationals who are married to a Singapore citizen or permanent resident. This pass grants foreigners a long-term stay visa for Singapore that can eventually become residency, as well as a range of social and government benefits designed to improve their life in Singapore.
Applying for the LTVP is somewhat complicated, and the type of pass issued can depend on the nature of your relationship in Singapore. The pass also covers the long-term stay options for foreign nationals with children in Singapore. Learn more about the Singapore Long Term Visit Pass at the Singapore Government website.
How And Where Can Foreign Expatriates And Retirees Apply For A Singapore Visa?
Singapore visas can be obtained from numerous embassies and consulates around the world. A full list of Singaporean embassies, consulates, and foreign missions can be found at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
All foreign nationals planning to visit Singapore, whether for tourism or retirement, must have a passport with at least six months of validity remaining. For longer-term visas, this requirement extends to the length of the visa – applicants without a valid passport may be issued visas for a shortened period of time in Singapore.
Aside from this base requirement, the different Singapore visas have their own set of requirements and minimum standards. View information about the entrepreneur visa scheme here and learn more about Singapore’s other visa requirements at the website of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Despite its work-focused immigration policy and restrictive visa program for non-working foreign nationals, Singapore is a very pleasant place to retire. Offering an ideal combination of economic strength and quality of life, this small city-state in Southeast Asia is the perfect cultural and economic bridge between East and West.