Are you a Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident (PR) who is about to embark on the exciting process of applying for a PR status for your foreign spouse? If so, this article will come in useful. For one, if you are under the impression that your husband or wife will automatically be granted a PR approval simply because you are a Singapore Citizen or PR, you should know that is untrue. Unfortunately, it is a common misconception.
The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) evaluates each individual based on specific criteria. These include, among other factors, the age of your spouse, if there are children, his or her income, the duration of your marriage, length of stay in Singapore, as well as whether you, the sponsor, are able to comfortably support your family financially.
Applying for Singapore PR for your spouse has become much more of an uphill task since 2009, when the Singapore government slashed the number of approvals given by a massive 50 per cent. The rising number of sham marriages for permanent residency purposes has also led to the amendment of the Immigration Act to make such marriages of convenience a criminal offence.
These and other factors have made it more challenging to ensure a successful journey in today’s climate. Which is why we’ve compiled a concise list of 5 Do’s and Don’ts you should consider when you apply for Singapore PR for your spouse.
1. Do Make Sure All Documents Are in Order
Filing for PR is a rigorous process. Applications have been known to be rejected based on poorly filed paperwork—not filling out sections correctly, missing out important data, providing inaccurate or outdated information that doesn’t correspond with the submitted documents. Your submission could very well be thrown out if you fail to check off an important box!
So double-check, and triple-check if necessary, before submitting your application and make sure that all the necessary, and right, documents for both your spouse and you, the sponsor, are in order. Alternatively, let the experts do it for you.
2. Do Your Research
Aside from the websites of relevant government agencies such as the ICA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), you can also find useful information and gain valuable insight from various forums, website and online portals.
These avenues allow you to accumulate anecdotal information and learn about others’ experiences, as well as get handy tips and guidelines you may not find on government sites. It helps to get educated about the current social, economic and political climate in the country.
3. Do Apportion Ample Time
Are you in a rush for your spouse to get their application approved? Do understand that this is not a quick journey. The average amount of time to go through an application is 4 to 6 months and may take longer in some cases. So give both you and your spouse sufficient room to complete the entire process, from filling in the application to the processing time to approval.
4. Don’t Enter a Sham Marriage
According to the Immigration Act, it is illegal to enter into a sham marriage to gain an entry permit into the country, even if the union was made outside of Singapore. If found guilty, one could be liable to a fine or even jail time.
5. Don’t Quit
Although the process is long, or in the event that you are not successful the first time around, it is no reason to give up. Keep the end goal in mind. You can attempt to appeal the decision or reapply with the time frame indicated on the rejection letter. If you find the entire process overwhelming and find that you may need help, there are organisations like Immigration Solutions that can assist with your PR application.