How long will my work pass (EP, S-Pass, WP) application take

There have been numerous discussions and questions recently about the time needed to process a work pass application.
For the benefit of those inquirers - and to avoid multiple threads about the same topic - I would like to explain the process in detail here:

First, let me say that MoM does not disclose their actual internal processes, so the following is based on circumstantial evidence and observations by some users here (mainly Surya and me), plus what other users post about their own application process and results - so please come back here and post yours, to improve the information available on this site.

Furthermore, MoM is a law unto itself - and has the right to do whatever they want, including deviating from their own rules and publications. It is their game, their court and their ball. If you don't like this, don't apply!

That said, the following are guidelines that apply in most (but not all) cases. In addition, it is the status as of now (Apr.2018) and things can and do change.

1. A Singapore work pass can only be applied for by a Singapore-registered employer willing to hire you. They must submit the offer letter (accepted by you) and full job and salary details. They cannot apply before this is settled.

2. The employer has to cover all work pass application fees (and if they engage an agent to help with the formalities, also the agent's fees - Please note that an agent alone CANNOT apply for a Singapore work pass!). They are not allowed to charge the job seeker for it. Thus all Singapore work passes are free of charge for the job seeker!

3. On submission of an application, MoM first performs a rough check if the application can be entered into the process. The submission will be rejected if
- the application is not complete (e.g. missing documents or information), or
- the job seeker already has another work pass application running

4. If this check is positive, the application is entered into the system. This means a FIN number is issued (and the employer informed of this) or an existing FIN of the job seeker re-used and the application entered into the EPOnline system with status "pending". It may take a week or so until this is done.

5. Next, the officer in charge will check whether the employer is allowed and able to hire foreigners:
- Is the industry strategically allowed to hire foreigners (e.g. due to a lack of local workforce)?
- Is the company banned or had problems with foreign employees in the past?
- Do they have a viable business model and can pay the offered salary?
- Does the employer have space for you in their foreigner quota (S-Pass and WP only)?
- Was the job posted on the jobs bank for two weeks, with no suitable local applying?
During this stage, MoM may ask for additional documents from the company, and process will resume only on their submission. If MoM then decides negatively, the application is rejected without further checks. This stage may take 1 - 3 weeks, depending on the workload of the officer in charge.

6. After this, your personal credentials are checked:
- Are your submitted certificates recognised and correct? MoM may (at their discretion) engage external agencies (e.g. in your home country and elsewhere) for the verifications, which by itself takes 2 - 12 weeks (the timing is out of MoM's control) and can be seen by your EPOnline status changed to "pending input from vetting agencies".
- Is your background (education and work experience) suitable for the job offered? (Note: It is basically impossible to get a work pass without experience in a similar job.)
- Is there a strategic interest (and benefits) for Singapore to have you working here?
- And, last but not least, is the offered salary within the market norms for this job in Singapore? You will be rejected if you earn too little or too much!
Again, additional documents and information may be requested during this stage (e.g. a justification why the employer wants to hire you and no other candidate). If not, this may take 1 - 3 weeks.

7. If all these checks are positive, MoM will approve your application, inform the employer of this and send an IPA (In Principle Approval) letter to them. The IPA is your visa to enter Singapore, so you should travel within its validity (usually a month). In exceptional circumstances, the IPA validity can be extended by up to a month (the employer must apply for this). If the IPA expires and you didn't travel yet, you lost your chance to work on this job!

8. After your arrival, a health check is required in most cases. This is mentioned in the IPA.

9. Then MoM will issue the actual work pass (usually on the spot or within a day) and you can start work.

From submission to start of work, you should realistically plan for at least two months, but this can be shorter or longer depending on many factors nobody can foresee.

Some additional notes:
- MoM rarely discloses any rejection reasons, but sometimes the wording in the rejection letter gives a hint. E.g. "This candidate is not eligible for a work pass, please look for another candidate" means you have no chance of getting any work pass at all, often due to misconduct in the past (MoM has a very long memory and good databases!).
- A rejection can be appealed against by the employer. For this to be successful, additional information must be included that alleviate the rejection reason. If the reason is not known, it may help for the employer to arrange a personal meeting with the officer in charge. You may come along to such a meeting.
- If the appeal also has been rejected, the decision is final and you cannot work on this job in Singapore.
- An appeal process can take as long or longer than the original application.
- In some, rare cases where the employer has very strong reasons for you to start work before the application process is completed, they can request a temporary work pass from MoM.
- In all other cases, there is nothing you can do to accelerate the process. MoM takes as long as Mom takes - and all you can do is wait. There is no point asking on this forum how long it will take (nobody here knows!), or complaining about it.
- You or the employer can, however, at any time cancel the application for any reason. This of course ends your attempt to work in Singapore.

Good luck! (Yes, al lot depends on this, too!)

how to know if youre certificates are recognized by MOM? is it in the SAT that when this ask for which  univesity or college you graduate the options will come and you just click your school?

If we have caught with police for an pretty theft, and we have warned without any fine and court conviction....will it affect the EP???

No, if police didn’t provide the details to MoM and ICA. As MoM will reach out police department to check if any criminal record against you. If they will receive police report then MoM won’t allow you to work here and in future ICA may deny your entry to Singapore.

I believe you are an well educated person, at any cost you should avoid this kind of STUPID things here. Any kind of criminal charges will completely ruin your chance to work here. Please avoid at any cost.  Good luck

It might, depending on how severe your misdeed was and whether it was entered into the government databases.
Don’t do something as silly as this again!

irisrivera265 :

how to know if youre certificates are recognized by MOM? is it in the SAT that when this ask for which  univesity or college you graduate the options will come and you just click your school?

Yes, you can check in MoM website, there is a list of institutions which they recognise.

Hi Surya and Beppi

I need advise on my case. What is a realistic timeline for outcome on an LOC application? My case is already over 30 days. I know MOM says within 3 weeks for But my application is still ‘pending’ without any communication from MoM.

LoCs have the same processing time as other work passes: Most are between three weeks and two months, but in certain cases it can be longer or shorter than that.
Good luck - patience is a virtue!

Hi Beppi and Surya,

My current EP status is "We need inputs from other agencies to process this application. In most instances, the outcome will be available in 4 weeks' time. Some cases may take longer. " . Previously was "Pending inputs from vetting agencies. Expected outcome is 2 months from the Date of Application".
I never had this status from my previous two approved applications.
I tried to search forums. I haven't found similar case before.

I worked for a company in Singapore and they transferred me to Bangkok office last June. This new application is from new company in Singapore.

Hope you can share your experience. Thanks.

It’s similar to pending reports from vetting agency. In this case MoM might have liaised with multiple agencies to get information. Believe these information must be related to your last job and/or new educational certification provided by you. So, you need to wait. Good luck

Hi!

I received the email below from MOM. Have you encountered this before?

“ As we need to carry out more checks, it will take at least 3 months to review your application. Each case will be assessed holistically, taking into account applicant-related criteria, input from other agencies, and whether fair consideration has been given to workers in Singapore.”

My EP application was submitted last 3 May 2018, and I only received this email today (4 weeks after submission). Should I be concerned?

Would you know if the 3 months stated here begins from the day of this email, or from the initial date of submission?

Thanks!

Of course 3 months period will count from the complete submission date. Did you read work visa forum? We are repeatedly requesting you guys go through these threads so that it will help you to understand how MoM works, what are the changes in requirements and how stringent process now set up at MoM etc.

Your query is already discussed in those threads. It’s quite common at MoM as they are looking at every aspects to see if local people were given fair access to each of these jobs before hired a foreigner. Good luck

It seems MoM is currently re-wording their notices - there have been several like the above which we didn't encounter before.
Generally, the processing periods given in such notices are estimates and in reality it can be more or less.

I have received a similar status recently ("We need inputs from other agencies to process this application. In most instances, the outcome will be available in 4 weeks' time. Some cases may take longer").

From initial submission until this status is roughly 2 weeks. Let's see how long will it take from here. Finger crossed

I just received the approval for my Employment Pass this morning. Overall, it took about 2 weeks (consider myself lucky :) )

As data points, here's my timeline:
May 17: Application submitted
May 23: Pending inputs from vetting agencies
June 1: We need inputs from other agencies to process this application
June 4: Approved

Hope it helps!

Thanks for all the information in this forum... Best of luck to everyone!

Congratulations! Can you give abit of your background? like nationalities, applying company/agencies, salary range and years of experiences. Thanks

Thanks beppi for the very informative post.

For my case, I have already received the offer letter and submitted all required documents for EP application to my company 2 weeks ago. They promised to apply EP for me. But till now, I cannot find any record  on MOM's website. It keeps showing the status of my current pass.

I understand that it might take a few days for MOM to update the application into their system. But for my case, it has been already more than 1 week.  I suspected that my application had not
been submitted yet. I tried to contact the company's HR but there was no reply so far.

Can or should I call MOM to verify whether my company has been submitted?

As you correctly wrote, either the company has not submitted the application, or MoM did not yet enter it into the system.
Asking MoM will not achieve anything, because the officer you ask will just check the system.
Thus contacting the company is the only way (besides waiting).

The offer you received is decent, and the employer is above question.
Thus your EP chances entirely on whether there are Singaporeans that could do the job instead of you.
I am sure in your 12 years career you have acquired special skills of some sort - but are they essential for this job?

Hi.m, may you share more about your background, as mine also have similar status.
Submitted on 6th June 2018.
9th June 2018 status is “we need inputs from other agencies to process this application. In most instances, the outcome will be available in 4 weeks' time. Some cases may take longer.”

Dear All,

Finally I got approval from my EP. My timelines are shown below:

May 22: Application submitted
May 25: Pending inputs from vetting agencies. Expected outcome is 2 months from the Date of Application.
June 1: We need inputs from other agencies to process this application. In most instances, the outcome will be available in 4 weeks.
June 9: Approved.

Good luck for all of you which applications are still pending.

Congratulations for your very quick approval!

Thank you!

Any more data points that can be added here please?
Trying to find a method to this madness :)

Hi all,

Here's my timeline:

New EP applied : 05 June 2018
Previous EP cancelled: 11 June 2018 & 30 days STVP issued
Status as of today (12 June) : Pending

Current trends seem to suggest no patterns but the minimum approval time appears to be 14 calendar days. Will keep you all updated as it happens

Sunlighter :

Any more data points that can be added here please?
Trying to find a method to this madness :)

It is not madness, just a complicated (and for an outsider unpredictable) system..
My initial post above is based on a few years of following approval times trends.

Hi all, my EP just got approved.

May 22: EP applied
May 29: pending input from vetting agencies
Jun 1: we need input from other agencies...
Jun 11: EP approved.

All in all it took 20 days. Nationality: Indonesian, Job title: Software Engineer, Exp ~3 years working in Singapore.

All the best to all!

sinkies123 :

Hi all, my EP just got approved.

May 22: EP applied
May 29: pending input from vetting agencies
Jun 1: we need input from other agencies...
Jun 11: EP approved.

All in all it took 20 days. Nationality: Indonesian, Job title: Software Engineer, Exp ~3 years working in Singapore.

All the best to all!

Wow, happy for you! All the best

Hi,

I have been following this forum from quite sometime and it gives me hope that may be delayed but my EP will get approved. This is the first time my EP has been applied with startup consultancy.

Time line for my ep

Date of application: 22nd May
Status: Pending
MoM asked query on employer side:8th June
Employer Replied to Query: 12th june
Status: Pending

Hey everyone,
I have followed a lot of EP related forums here without signing up and they helped me a lot. But now for the first time, I am signing up to share my story. So that hopefully other people can also learn from it. I studied in Poly and then Uni (both Singapore Local Schools). I worked for a while after Poly.

After Uni, I got a job and they applied EP for me. After 10 days of application, it got rejected because I have "adverse record". (found out from the employer, MOM gave a reason why they reject in my case). We were so shocked to the point where I thought any employer reported badly about me (because there was once I resigned and they were not happy about it). I went to MOM and get a queue upon arrival at Hall A. It is a general enquiry counter. They were so helpful. The officer checked for me and said that I had a medical record to be cleared. Then I realised that I had a TB case when I was working after Poly. I updated to ICA when I was in Uni when I apply my Student pass. But MOM, off course, didn't know. So I have to appeal with medical report from doctor saying that I am all cleared of TB. (which I have in hand). Hope everything turns out ok. Thanks to my employer who is willing to wait :) Appealing now. I will keep you guys updated.

The bottom line is that "adverse record" doesn't always mean you break the law or someone reported you.
Thank you.

Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, we do advise that adverse record is some negative pending case in your record, it can be a breaking any law, police case, default payment case, complain by your ex employer, wrongly or incorrect  document submission etc.

Same time, we do advise reach out ICA or MoM (depending on visa or work pass related) to get more clarification and remediation plan.

Your case is also part of this as MoM record doesn’t have update of TB report, this is a TB free country and this disease is very sensitive case. Hope ICA will share your report so that you can get your EP approval asap. Good luck

Hi Surya & Beppi

If an EP application is under process & pending, can the 30 day visit pass be extended?
I did see on EPOL that there is a facility to extend in case the EP application is pending. But When i try to retrieve my own visit pass, the system returns an error message

Wondering, if you have more info to share on this?

An SVP can be extended tup to 89 days if you have a good reason to stay that long. I think waiting for an EP is a good reason, but of course ICA has the final say on this.
Note: The SVP issued at the expiry of a work pass cannot be extended for any reason.

Hi,

Update:

Its been one month and still EP status is pending. Checking daily with hope that today it will be approved  :)

Hi all, my work pass just approved. Company apply E Pass & S Pass. MOM give me S Pass. My timeline as below :

6th June : Application submitted.
7th June : Application shown in website, Pending.
9th June : Status change to “We need inputs from other agencies to process this application. In most instances, the outcome will be available in 4 weeks.
25th June : S Pass approves.

Background:
Nationality : Indonesian
Job title : Quantity Surveyor
Experience in SG : ~3.5 years

All the best for all..

Hi all,

My EP just got approved so thought I'd share my timeline for everyone's benefit.

Application submitted: 12th June
Application approved: 25th June

One thing to note is that my application status went straight from "pending" to "approved" without any of the other vetting agency updates in between. Thought that might be useful for folks to know.

My nationality is Indian and I have 11 years of work experience relevant to the position I've been hired for.

Congrats firevn and red1985.

My Ep is still pending from 1+ month. My Singapore employer is new company(less than an year) and I am suppose to be first full time employee. Might be this the reason for delay in EP, but not sure :(

Woow. Congratulations. My friend also waiting the approved status. He was applied on 7th June 2018. I hope "Approved".

firevn :

Hi all, my work pass just approved. Company apply E Pass & S Pass. MOM give me S Pass. My timeline as below :

6th June : Application submitted.
7th June : Application shown in website, Pending.
9th June : Status change to “We need inputs from other agencies to process this application. In most instances, the outcome will be available in 4 weeks.
25th June : S Pass approves.

Background:
Nationality : Indonesian
Job title : Quantity Surveyor
Experience in SG : ~3.5 years

All the best for all..

Woow. Congratulations. My friend also waiting the approved status. He was applied on 7th June 2018. I hope "Approved".

Just sharing an update for my application.

3 May: The EP application was filed with the MOM. From this day forward, the status in the EP Online website is, "Pending."

4 June: The MOM sent this email: "As we need to carry out more checks, it will take at least 3 months to review your application. Each case will be assessed holistically, taking into account applicant-related criteria, input from other agencies, and whether fair consideration has been given to workers in Singapore." There was no change to the status in the EP Online website.

21 June: Our immigration partners reached out to the MOM to ask about any possibility of expediting the application. The MOM reiterated that they will take 3 months or more to complete the review, but did not disclose the reasons why. They said that the request for expedition cannot be accommodated.

We are now approaching 8 weeks since the application was first filed, and the status in the EP Online website remains to be, "Pending." I am keeping my fingers crossed for an approval much sooner than what the MOM is committing.

WIsh me luck!

---

Notes:

No additional documentation has been requested from either me or my prospective employer.

From 2010 until 2017, I have continuously held two employment passes without gaps in between. (I never had any issues with applications and renewals.)

I am from the Philippines, and the offered salary is well above the minimum threshold for employment passes.

Hi all,

I'm currently in India and scheduled to fly in to Singapore on 30th July. My IPA has been shared by my employer via email. While there are some next steps listed in the IPA, I wanted to just clarify what the process will be like once I land in Singapore.

I understand the IPA will act as my one time entry visa to Singapore. Once I land on the 30th, I have an appointment scheduled with my employer on the 31st to go over the formalities of collecting my employment pass. Understand they will have to apply for this to be issued and I may have to go for finger printing and other formalities as required.

Please could you confirm this is all I need to bear in mind for now? The declaration forms attached to my IPA do not have my employer's signature etc. as of now. I will be printing it as is. Do I need to ensure that the declaration forms attached to the IPA are signed before I land in Singapore? Or is that part of the pass issuance process after I land?

I'll be carrying my original certificates and travel documents as needed. If you could please let me know anything else that I might be missing here?

Will the IPA suffice at immigration for entry? Or is there a separate Visit Pass that I'll also need to apply for?

Thank you for the help!

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