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How a United States Citizen Can Migrate to Singapore

7 min read|Last Updated: July 20, 2022|
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There are 4 methods United States citizens can migrate to Singapore and obtain a permanent residency (PR). Most reasonable methods, would include setting up a company in Singapore:

  • Global Investor Programme
  • Seek employment with Employment Pass
  • Company set up with EntrePass (Investor)
  • Company set up with Employment Pass

The Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers (PTS) scheme allows individuals holding the Employment Pass, EntrePass or PEP to apply for PR after 6 months. Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) evaluates your integration to society, potential contribution and commitment to Singapore through:

  • Career, experience or work pass
  • Education or specialisation
  • Length of stay or local family
  • Age or family profile
  • Investments or economic contribution
  • Others: Local community involvement, tax payment etc

Why US citizens want to change their citizenship

Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, renounced his US citizenship in 2012 and became a Singapore resident. To each his own reasons, but here are the top few benefits:

1. Asset protection

Popular asset protection strategies include using special purpose vehicles like trusts or/and benefitting from the favorable tax regime like the tax-free import and sale of investment precious metals.

2. Remove worldwide tax liability (foreign sourced income not taxable in Singapore)

US residents are subject to tax on their worldwide income, regardless of source. In Singapore, overseas income received in Singapore by you is not taxable and need not be declared in your Income Tax Return. This includes overseas income paid into a Singapore bank account.

3. Avoid inheritance tax

US estate tax rate starts at 18% and climbs to 40% when the value of your estate reaches $1 million. In migrating to be a tax resident of Singapore, there is no inheritance tax.

4. No capital gains tax

US has short-term capital gains tax paid at the rate of your income bracket, and long-term capital gains tax of up to 20% based on your income bracket. There is no capital gains tax in Singapore. Therefore, no income tax is due on sales of shares, properties, intangible assets, etc.

Global Investor Programme for ultra-high net worth individuals

The Global Investor Programme (GIP) awards PR to eligible global investors who intend to drive their businesses and investment growth from Singapore. You will need to have a substantial business track record and successful entrepreneurial background to qualify.

Facts about the Global Investor Programme:

  • Suitable for ultra-high net worth business owners and family offices
  • As a business owner, company annual turnover is at least S$200 million
  • Investment amount of at least S$2.5 million
  • Takes 1 to 2 years to PR status

If you can qualify, go straight for GIP. GIP has the highest barrier to entry as easiest category requirements are S$200 million annual turnover. If you can qualify, your chances of success are high, and the application will be straightforward.

EntrePass Investor in Singapore

If you are an investor or someone with existing business overseas. By setting up a company and investing in Singapore, you can hit two birds with one stone.

  • Benefit from the investment framework we have (tax regime, incentives etc) and
  • Obtain EntrePass and dependent pass for the option to stay in Singapore as needed

Facts about the EntrePass include:

  • Suitable for foreigners planning on investing in Singapore companies by setting up investment holding or single-family office
  • Required to have an investment track record
  • At least 8 years’ experience in strategic managerial position that can help local innovative or tech startups.
  • Recommended investment of S$1 million
  • Takes 1 to 3 years to PR

Running a business with Employment Pass

1. If you have an existing overseas business to expand into Singapore, or

2. If you can start and run a new business in Singapore

Incorporating a company with an EP is ideal for business owners who will relocate and live in Singapore to run their businesses. Your physical presence in Singapore will contribute to your PR application.

Timeline: Takes 1 to 3 years to PR

  • 2 to 3 months to set up your company and obtain an EP
  • Minimum 6 months of operations before applying for PR
  • 6 to 12 months for PR application

Job seeking with Employment Pass

Foreign professionals with a job offer in Singapore can apply for an Employment Pass. The eligibility criteria include:

  • Fixed monthly salary of S$4,500 (Your salary should reflect your work experience and qualifications)
  • Employers or employment agents (recommended for higher approval rates) should apply for the pass before an applicant comes to Singapore.
  • The EP is normally issued for 1-2 years at a time and is renewable.
  • Takes 1 to 3 years to PR

Our thoughts

In our opinion, the GIP is the most straightforward way with the highest success rate. However, only a minority of individuals can qualify.

The next best thing would be to migrate with an EntrePass as an investor. This is because your EntrePass has specific requirements on a minimum business spending and to hire local employees. Upon PR application, this is clearly stated as a direct contribution to Singapore.

If you are running a business in Singapore with an Employment Pass, having local business spending, and paying local salaries are also a direct contribution. Just that in comparison to an EntrePass, an Employment Pass is still considered part of our foreign workforce whereas an EntrePass is specifically for entrepreneurs. This is the first line of defence the EntrePass has.

Majority of PR applications would come from Employment Pass holders who are employees of local Singapore companies. If you are an outstanding individual, be sure to justify and frame a compelling reason. If your application looks bland, you should consider improving your case: get a higher salary, obtain property, get involved in community work or invest in your education.



How many Americans live in Singapore today?2020-07-03T12:01:56+08:00

There is no exact figure of how many Americans live in Singapore today. However, estimates have placed this number at approximately 26,000 Americans. 

How are visa applications submitted to the Singapore Embassy in the US?2020-07-03T12:01:34+08:00

Visa applications can be submitted to the Embassy through any of three methods. These are via online submission, in person, or via email. Any of these methods are accepted by the authorities responsible.

What role does the Singapore Embassy in the US play with regard to migration?2020-07-03T12:01:06+08:00

The Singapore Embassy in the US plays important roles related to migrationIt does much to maintain and improve the relationship between the two nations. With regard to migration, especially migration from the US to Singapore, the Embassy has the responsibility of collecting visa applications. 

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