Singapore – The Asian Tiger

The beautiful island of the Republic of Singapore is located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Singapore consists of 63 islands, including mainland Singapore. It is both an island and a country; the best description is that of city-state. Its combination of Colonial development and Eastern heritage and culture offers the best of both hemispheres to its residents and its visitors.

Singapore has been Southeast Asia’s most modern metropolis for over a century. And one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. It is a model of efficiency and playsa vital role in international trade and finance.

Singapore is a parliamentary republic headed, by a Prime Minister. Alongside Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world. Foreign workers make up more than half of the service sector. Singapore is ranked as having the best quality of life in Asia, and the island republic’s mind-blowing infrastructure enables visitors to enjoy its many sites and attractions in a safe, clean and green environment and manner.

Singapore has a highly developed market-based economy that depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing, including significant electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences sectors.

Because of its efficient and determined government, Singapore has become a flourishing country that excels in trade. It is a popular travel destination with a vibrant tourism industry.

The country’s economy has been ranked amongst the world’s ten most open, competitive and innovative. Rated as the most business-friendly economy in the world, Singapore is the world’s fourth largest foreign-exchange trading centre after London, New York and Tokyo. The World Bank ranks Singapore as the world’s top logistics hub.

 Residency by Investment in Singapore: Global Investor Program

Foreigners interested in starting up a business or wishing to invest in Singapore, may apply for Permanent Residence (PR) status for themselves and their immediate family (spouse and unmarried children 21 years of age and below) under the Investor Scheme, by choosing one of the following options:

Option A: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a new business entity or expansion of an existing business operation.

Option B: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a Global Investor Program (GIP) approved fund.

Who can qualify?

Applicants wishing to apply for permanent immigration to Singapore under the GIP are considered eligible if they have:

(a) A substantial business track record

(b) An entrepreneurial background

(c) A business proposal or investment plan (for Option A)

For applicants with entrepreneurial and business track record:

(a) They must possess at least 3 years of entrepreneurial track record and must produce audited financial statements of their company for the last 3 years.

(b) The turnover of their company must be:

– At least S$30 million per annum in the most recent year; and

– At least S$30 million per annum on average for the last 3 years.

The applicant’s shared ownership and role in the company, as well as the profitability of the company would also be taken into consideration.

For senior corporate managers who are interested to set up new business / expand existing business in Singapore (Option A):

(a) They must have at least 10 years of corporate management experience.

(b) They must currently be undertaking a senior management role in the company such as Chairman, CEO, CFO, CTO, etc.

(c) The turnover of the company in which the applicant is employed must be at least S$100 million.

(d) The applicant must be able to actively manage the new/existing business in Singapore as proposed in the business plan.

 The applicant’s spouse and children (below 21 years old) are eligible to apply for PR in the same GIP application. Male dependents above 18 years of age will be liable for National Service.

Parents, parents-in-law and unmarried children who are 21 years and above of age are not eligible to be included in the applicant’s GIP application for PR status. Instead, they can apply for a 5-year Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP), which is renewable.

After two years of stay in Singapore as Permanent residents, applicant can apply for Singaporean citizenship. However, the foreign investor must renounce his/her current citizenship before obtaining a Singaporean citizenship because Singapore does not recognize dual citizenship.

If the investor and his/her dependents chooses to remain permanent residents in Singapore, they must get their Re-Entry Permits (REPs) renewed every five years to facilitate travelling in and out of Singapore.

Processing of the visa application:

  •  The GIP application is processed upon receiving all the necessary documents. Thereafter an interview session is arranged if the applicant meets the GIP criteria.
  • If the application is approved, the applicant will be issued an Approval-in-Principle Permanent Residence status by the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, which is valid for 6 months.
  • The applicant will be required to make an investment within a 6 month period. The investment quantum of S$2.5mil (according to the investment option selected) must be made from the applicant’s personal bank account in Singapore.
  • After making the investment, the applicant must submit the documentary evidence of the investment to Contact Singapore (Contact Singapore is an alliance of the Singapore Economic Development Board and Ministry of Manpower). These documents include bank statement which shows the investment was made from the applicant’s personal bank account in a Singapore-registered bank and the applicant’s share certificate(s). Contact Singapore will hold these documents in custody for 5 years.
  • Upon receiving the documentary evidence of the investment, the applicant will be notified to formalise his/her Permanent Residence at the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.
  • If the applicant’s chosen investment is in a new business entity or expansion of an existing operation, the applicant will need to submit the audited financial statements as at the end of the 2nd and 4th year of the investment.


Under the programme, the applicant may invest in the following business areas:

(a) Biomedical Sciences (healthcare services, medical technology, pharmaceuticals & biotechnology)

(b) Clean Energy

(c) Educational & Professional Services

(d) Electronics (electronics components, electronics systems, semiconductors)

(e) Energy, Chemicals & Engineering Services

(f) Environment Technology

(g) Infocomms& Media (IT/computing & e-business, media and digital entertainment, telecommunications)

(h) International organizations, non-government organizations & philanthropy

(i) Lifestyle & Sports

– Visual Arts, e.g. art galleries, museums, auction houses, art logistics, art storage facilities

– Performing Arts, e.g. arts theatre, production houses

– Sports, e.g. sports academies, headquarters of sports companies

(j) Logistics

(k) New Technologies (intelligent systems, nanotechnology, new-technology-enabled industries)

(l) Precision Engineering (machinery & systems, PMC/printing & packaging)

(m) Transport Engineering (aerospace, marine/land/oil & gas)

Benefits of GIP:

  •  Investors have many options to make an investment – government approved funds or a new company or in a business that already operates.
  • Applicant and his/her and unmarried children younger than 21 years of age apply for permanent residency
  • Parents and other immediate relatives can accompany the applicant to Singapore on the Long Term Visit Pass

Disadvantages of GIP:

  •  Not all business sectors qualify under the GIP scheme. Some sectors require a greater amount of investment for getting PR
  • Singapore does not recognize dual citizenship. Applicants can obtain Singaporean citizenship only if they are willing to renounce their original/current citizenship.
  • Businessmen applying under GIP are heavily scrutinized, personally as well as professionally. Only highly successful applicants are selected.
  • Applicant’s male dependents 18 years and older are obliged to enrol themselves into National Service
  • After getting the permanent residence visa, the investor and his/her dependants must renew their Re-Entry Permits (REPs) every 5 years if they plan to travel in and out of Singapore.

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