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A Guide to Dependent Passes for Employment Pass (EP) Holders in Singapore

The Employment Pass (EP) is the primary work permit available for foreigners on assignment in Singapore, and one of the questions that comes up for our clients is whether family members can accompany the EP pass holder.  Recently, one of our client’s employees assigned to Singapore wanted to bring his long-term (unmarried) partner and needed to know the rules.

We had to inform our client that the employee’s girlfriend could not enter or live in Singapore under his EP, unless they had at least a common law marriage at home.  Here is how we explained it, as there are two types of passes available for family members:

Dependent’s Pass

A Dependent’s Pass is available for legally married spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age.  The EP holder must earn more than SGD$6000 per month to be eligible.

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Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP)

A LTVP is available for other types of family members including:

  • Common law spouse
  • Unmarried handicapped children over 21 years of age
  • Unmarried step-children under 21 years of age
  • Parents (but only if the EP holder earns at least SGD$12,000 per month.)

In our client’s case, unless the employee has a valid common law marriage with his partner in their own country, then the LTVP is not available.  Singapore is fairly strict about issuing non-immigrant visas, so there would need to be one of the following: a copy of the common law marriage certificate, a letter from their embassy or a notarized affidavit submitted as documentation.

(In the end, it will depend on their country’s common law marriage rules, and in some cases simply living together long enough can impute a marriage without any ceremony or other formality.  It will be up to them to look into it, and get it documented.)

Absent any of those documents, the only choice left for his girlfriend is to enter on a tourist visa (limited duration) or find her own position that would eligible for an EP or an S pass work permit.

The Shield GEO Solution

This is an example of how we can support our client’s international assignments, by using in-country experts to research and advise on complex immigration rules.  Because every assignment is unique, we give individual attention to the client and their employees to simplify the process of work permit application and entry to the country.

Immigration compliance is more critical than ever given the changes in rules and criteria for work visas, and we make this as easy as possible, along with meeting all employment and payroll requirements for the client.

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