Saturday 19 December 2015

How to Get an Employment Pass in Singapore

How to Get an Employment Pass in Singapore while you have a work pass already

This is a revised version of my previous post on "How to get an EP in Singapore " as this is more recent and factors the transition from an old employer to a new employer scenario. If you're signing up for a new pass, I'd suggest reading the other how to get an EP post instead, as there are some initial in-person documentation verification steps that you will need to take. The timeframe and waits will definitely vary as well.

What if I want to change jobs while I am on an Employment Pass (EP) work visa in Singapore?

This is an overview of the process and the learnings that I encountered during my recent transfer of EP from one employer to another employer. I am writing this as I am sure others out there like me have been wondering what happens and what the key considerations are.

Key considerations and questions may have are:

  • Time to process EP
  • Notice period (to serve at your current job)
  • Physical presence required in Singapore

Some quick answers to these are:
  • Time to process EP - This takes from 7 to 15 working days. Though this can vary;
  • Notice period (to serve at your current job) - You can have two passes at once in order to allow you to serve your notice period. One current EP and one pre-approved EP for when you finish working for your previous employer;
  • Physical presence required in Singapore - You only need to be in the country when you pass needs to be issued. 

How to get an EP (Employment Pass) in Singapore

Step 1. Employee fills in application form

Your employee fills in the application form with you to apply for your EP. This can be done online or manually on paper. Applying online is the fastest option. There is a section for employees to fill in, and a section for the employer to fill in.

Step 2. Employer fills in and then submits application form

The employer fills in their portion of the form. Normally relating to manpower numbers, salary, etc. If they are using an agency or law firm, they will submit it on their behalf

Step 3. Wait for your new Employment Pass (EP) work pass

This can take a while to process and can take up to 7 to 15 working days

Step 4 - In-Principle Approval letter provided

An In-Principle Approval letter will be mailed to the employer if the Employment Pass application has been approved.

Step 5 - Apply to collect the Pass

Your employer will need to apply for you to then collect your pass, which includes the payment and a Notification Letter.

Step 6 - Pass is delivered to your Employer

Your Employer should receive your Employment Pass (EP) card when it's ready.

Well done, you're now officially allowed to work in Singapore!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

These are some answers to common questions some from my experience, some from Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM):

What if I want to change jobs while I am on an EP?

"You should ask the new employer to apply for a new Employment Pass for you. There is no need to cancel the existing EP before applying for a new one. Your application will be considered based on its merits and under prevailing guidelines."

This means you can have two passes at once, since you will need to be able to serve your notice period at your previous company and receive your salary from your old employer during this notice period.

If an EP or S Pass holder changes jobs, is the existing pass automatically cancelled?

"No. If an Employment Pass (EP) or S Pass holder changes jobs and the new pass is approved, MOM does not automatically cancel the existing work pass. This is so that the current employer has a notice period. The employer needs to cancel the pass using EP Online."

As mentioned with the previous question, an employee needs to be able to serve their notice period. So the MOM does not automatically cancel your existing work pass. Your current employer will also not cancel the pass automatically. Should your current employer cancel your work pass, you will not able to be able to serve your notice period.

Can an employer refuse to cancel an EP or S Pass?

"No. Employers are required to cancel a work pass once the employee is no longer working for them. Employers cannot refuse to cancel a pass. Work passes cannot be used as a threat or retaliation for employment or contract disputes (for example, if the employee left without serving notice). If you are an employer in a contractual dispute with an employee, try to resolve the dispute amicably or seek legal advice if you have to. If you are an employee whose employer is refusing to cancel your work pass, write to MOM and include a copy of your resignation letter."

How long does it normally take to have your EP issued?

This can vary, depending on the amount of EP applications MOM has in their pipeline and work , but generally should only take 7 to 15 working days.  My EP was issued after 7 working days from the date it was actually applied for by the new employer. This was very fast.

Can I leave the country while my new EP is pending?

Yes, but you must have your Short Term Visit Pass. If you are changing employer, the previous employer must issue this when they cancel your previous EP work pass.

What happens when my application is submitted?

STVP required to be issued by old employer. Short Term Visit Pass. Forwarded email is fine.
STVP (it'll be a document with the title, "Visit pass and embarkation form"

A 30-day short term visit pass (STVP) can be issued to the ex-employee, which allows him or her to stay in Singapore for the said period. The STVP must be submitted to the immigration officer when the ex-employee leaves the country.

How is the IP (In-principle) Approval letter given - once EP is approved?

Employer issues the pass online. Employee MUST be in Singapore when this happens. Employee no longer needs to pick up pass, instead the new pass is delivered to the new employer.

What happens if my Employment Pass expires?

If a candidate/ new employee is in Singapore on a visit pass that will expire before the Employment Pass is issued, MOM may not be able to extend the visit pass.

How do I check if an EP is cancelled?
You can check if an Employment Pass is cancelled by checking the validity of the pass. You don't need to log in for this.

This is great for seeing if your EP application is still valid.

How to check the validity of an EP? Or how do I enquire about my EP Application/Pass Status?

You can check if you EP is still valid by doing the following:

1. Visiting the MOM EP Online website2. You then enter your details to pull up your details. 

You will need certain information to be able to use this service though. You may need the applicable employer to give you this. This is:

  • NRIC No / FIN / Malaysian New IC No (National Registration Identity Card)
  • Name
  • Foreigner's particulars (Three options)
  • FIN (Foreign Identification Number)
  • Date of application of Pass


  • Travel Document


  • Application number

3. Log into Employment Pass Online (Optional) 

If you receive the following:

  • Record is not found 
  • Record is found to be invalid 
You may wish to login to Employment Pass Online "Check Status - Application Outcome" for more details.

4. Check another work day

If that doesn't work, you may wish to check the same record again on the next working day. As it may need more time to process.

Note - 
To proceed and check through this approach (Steps 3 and 4) you will need a Singpass to login to Employment Pass Online if you are a registered company user. If you are not a registered user yet, please register your company online via

If you are a foreigner who wishes to find out more about your application status, please refer to your employer who may be authorised to login to Employment Pass Online for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for checking your validity of your EP work pass on the MOM website.

I am an applicant. However, I do not have an NRIC / FIN / Malaysian New IC


How do I check the status of my application?

You may wish to approach your employer to assist on the checking.

Can I view Application / Pass status for Dependant’s Pass / Long Term Visit
Pass / Training Employment Pass / Letter of Consent / EntrePass?


Where can I find the Application No. ?

The search by Application No. is only applicable for applications submitted via EP
Online. The Application No. can be found on the Acknowledgement Page
generated after submission of an application via EP Online.

I am an Employment Pass (EP) applicant. If I want to retrieve records using Search Option 2, am I able to do so if my child (whom I am applying a Dependant’s Pass (DP) for) has the same Travel Document No. as me?

No, for search Option 2, there cannot be more than 1 FIN tied to the Travel Document No. You should retrieve the records using Search Option 1 or 3. Alternatively, you can email mom_wpd(at) or contact MOM Contact Centre at Tel: +65 6438 5122.

What are the foreigner’s particulars that I require in order to check the validity of the pass?
You will need either the Foreign Identification Number (FIN) or Travel Document No. of the foreigner.

Can I view the Pass validity status for Dependant’s Pass / Long Term Visit Pass / Training Employment Pass / Letter of Consent / EntrePass?

When I retrieve records using Search Option 2, why do I get an error message that says “There are more than 1 valid records found. Please use FIN to enquire.” ?
Our records show that this particular Travel Document No. is tied to more than one FIN. You are therefore required to search using the FIN instead, i.e. Search Option 1.

Disclaimer - Laws and processes do change, so while I will seek to make this article accurate as possible (based on my own experiences), it's best to also check with MOM to confirm any questions you may have. They are generally easy to reach and you'll find their contact number on their website. 


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