Singapore’s passport is now ranked as the most powerful in the world, with a visa-free score on the Passport Index of 166. A Singaporean passport will grant visa-free access to 127 countries, while just 29 countries require a visa upon arrival and 32 countries require a visa under any circumstance.
The Index is compiled from data from 193 United Nations’ member states and six territories by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital. Singapore has now overtaken South Korea, which fell to second with a visa-free score of 165, to join the US, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Finland and Luxembourg.
To qualify for a Singaporean passport, an applicant must be at least 21 years of age and must also have held Singapore Permanent Residence (SPR) for at least two to six years prior to the date of application.
A foreign investor who is interested in starting up a business or investing in Singapore, can apply for the SPR status through Singapore’s Global Investor Programme (GIP). This is eligible for applicants that can demonstrate both a substantial business track record and a successful entrepreneurial background.
Under GIP, an applicant can choose one of the following investment options:
- GIP Option A: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a new business entity or to expand an existing business operation;
- GIP Option B: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a GIP-approved venture capital fund that invests in Singapore-based companies;
- GIP-Family Office (FO): Invest at least S$2.5 million to establish a Single Family Office in Singapore that is then required to have Assets Under Management (AUM) of at least S$200 million.
The assessment criteria for GIP applications under Option A or Option B include the following:
- Main Applicant must possess at least three years of entrepreneurial and business track record and must produce audited financial statements of his/her company for the last three years;
- The company must only be engaged in one or more industries that are approved by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB);
- The company’s turnover must be at least S$50 million in the year immediately preceding the application, and at least S$50 million per annum on average for the three years immediately preceding your application;
- If the company is privately held, the applicant should have at least 30% shareholding in the company. The applicant’s role in the company, as well as the growth and profitability of the company will be taken into consideration.
The assessment criteria for GIP applications under GIP-FO include the following:
- Main applicant must possess at least five years of entrepreneurial, investment or management track record;
- Main applicant must have an individual or direct family net worth of at least S$400 million to qualify.
The main applicant’s spouse and unmarried children below 21 years old as at the date of application are eligible to be included in the application. Parents of the main applicant and unmarried children 21 years or older are not eligible and should instead apply for a five-year Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP), which is tied to the validity of the main applicant’s Re-entry Permit. Please note that male children who obtain PR by virtue of being a dependent will be liable for National Service.
For more information on the Singapore’s Global Investor Programme, please contact Desiree Tan.