I used to be a Singapore permanent resident, but lost my Singapore permanent residency while living in another country. What is the likelihood of getting my permanent residency back if I go back to work in Singapore one day? Will my re-application for permanent residency be treated as a new application?

3 Answers 3


There are two different cases to consider:

1) If you left Singapore and let your Re-Entry Permit (REP) expire, but did not formally renounce your PR, you can return to Singapore as a tourist and attempt to "reinstate" your PR:

  1. A SPR will lose his/her PR status if he/she travels out of Singapore or remains outside Singapore without a valid REP. On his/her return to Singapore, he/she may report to the Permanent Resident Services Centre, ICA, to apply for reinstatement of the SPR status. If the reinstatement is approved, an administrative fee of S$50 will be levied.

This is a rather mysterious, little-used process and the criteria for approval are unclear. Anecdotally, it seems to be possible if your PR was expired only for a brief period (under 1 year) or if you had a very strong reason (eg. medical treatment) to be away from Singapore.

2) However, if you have actively renounced your Singapore PR once (for example, to withdraw your CPF or avoid military service), it's back to square one, you need to start with applying for EPs and go from there. Should you get PR someday, you'll also be required to repay any CPF you've taken out, with interest!

In the second case, as for what impact this has on a future PR application, only the ICA knows and they're not telling. However, if you're a second-generation PR and you renounce before completing your national service, it's well-known that you're doomed. Quoting Defense Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen:

Better don’t take up the PR if your children are not going to do NS. It’s as simple as that. In our system if you don’t fulfil your NS liabilities, even if you choose to give up your PR, there are harsh penalties. I have received many letters from families that are separated and they cannot come back to Singapore.

But for first-generation PRs with no NS obligations, I'd presume it's neither a plus nor a minus, you'll just be in line with everybody else. And as you've probably heard, they've seriously ratcheted up the bar recently -- a week or so, a friend of mine who works in IT, has been in Singapore for 4 years on a P1 EP and is Caucasian (yes, this matters) had his PR application rejected, with no explanation.

  • Have you any idea if still having some CPF money would increase the chances of getting the PR again?
    – adipro
    Mar 16, 2014 at 14:25
  • I can't see why ICA would care either way. Mar 16, 2014 at 22:17
  • dunno about raising the bar - i'm in sg for nine years now, and four times out of five i see that the first pr application is rejected (all caucasians, banking IT) Oct 30, 2014 at 3:15
  • how does it matter if the applicant is Caucasian - are they preferred in some way? And does it matter what kind of Caucasian (e.g. whether from northern EU countries or Russia or USA or something else?)
    – user100487
    Nov 23, 2015 at 20:30
  • While they're not gauche enough to announce it publicly, it's widely believed that Singapore applies racial quotas/preferences to PR applications, and the order of favorability is likely Chinese > Indian & "Other" (Caucasian) > Malay. Nov 23, 2015 at 21:38

According to the Immigration authority you need a Re-Entry Permit (REP) to retain your permanent residency status when leaving the country, and this permit needs to be renewed periodically. If you don't do that you lose your permanent residency status and have to apply for a completely new one. The immigration office might consider that you were an SPR before, but you still need to be eligible for the SPR again.

  • 1
    I should add that one can lose his PR status even if he applies for renewal of the REP. I did apply for renewal, but it was not granted.
    – adipro
    Mar 14, 2014 at 20:59

If you have surrendered your PR and witdrew your CPF, then you have to return it full amount plus the interest for the whole period you are away from Singapore. Afterwhich the CPF will give you a white paper to be included in your PR appliccation. However you still need to submit all the document as required for general PR application.

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