Assessing travel and visa obligations for Singapore

When traveling to Singapore, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Singapore, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend company meetings
  • Participate in corporate retreats
  • Receive training at workshops or seminars
  • Attend exhibitions as a trade visitor


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Singapore?

All foreign nationals entering Singapore for business purposes must obtain a Short-Term Visit Pass (STVP) upon arrival. In addition to the STVP, nationals for certain restricted countries must obtain an Entry Visa from a Singapore Consulate or Embassy prior to travel. Nationals of many countries, including the European Union, United States and Australia, are eligible for a visa waiver and are not required to obtain an Entry Visa. Additionally, foreign nationals in possession of valid Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Cards (ABTC) endorsed with “Valid for travel to SGP” may be eligible to enter Singapore and engage in permissible business activities without obtaining a visa. Please obtain an individual assessment before traveling to determine your eligibility for a visa waiver.

Working in Singapore

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Singaporean law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Singapore, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Auditing
  • Marketing
  • Consulting

In limited circumstances, foreign nationals may engage in select short-term professional activities without obtaining a Work Pass, although pre-approval and notification requirements must be met. An individual assessment is recommended before deciding whether a Work Pass Exemption is applicable.


If I am traveling to Singapore for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, your earnings and on the nature and duration of your work in Singapore. The most common types of work authorization for Singapore are:

  • Training Employment Pass (short-term work authorization for undergraduate students and trainees)
  • S Pass (work authorization for mid-level, skilled professionals)
  • Employment Pass (work authorization for managerial, executive or specialized professionals who hold a job offer from a specific employer in Singapore)
  • Personalized Employment Pass (work authorization for highly qualified professionals who are not linked to a specific employer in Singapore)
  • Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass (work authorization that allows foreign nationals to start and work for multiple companies at any point while living in Singapore)


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Singapore does not offer long-term work authorization exemptions.

What else should I know?

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.