As a major and rapidly growing hub for global business, Singapore is an attractive place for those interested in starting a business or investing. Singapore's reputation as a safe and politically stable city with a strong education system and a high quality of life has allowed the city to become increasingly more attractive to both entrepreneurs and citizens alike. Eligible investors can obtain Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) status through the Singapore Global Investor Program. After two years of permanent residency in Singapore, contenders may be able to apply for Singaporean citizenship.
Why Singapore GIP?
The Singapore GIP has numerous attractive benefits for interested entrepreneurs able to invest at least SDG 10 million into setting up a business in Singapore or an existing business in an approved sector. Compared to other pathways to Singaporean citizenship by investment, the Singapore GIP offers a fast-track to Singaporean citizenship with a shortened waiting time of only two years after holding PR status. The program does not impose any requirements on academic qualifications, age and language, thereby opening the pathway to Singaporean permanent residency and citizenship to many more entrepreneurs coming from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, an applicant's spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 can also be included in the application and move to Singapore alongside the applicant.
Approval in Principle (AIP) is usually issued in about 6-9 months and the investment must be made within 6 months of AIP. The applicant must move to Singapore and complete permanent residency formalities within 12 months from final approval. After permanent residence status is approved and formalized, the applicant will be issued a re-entry permit issued for 5 years that allows them to travel in and out of Singapore and retain their permanent residency status when not living in Singapore. Upon expiry, the re-entry permit is renewable for 3 to 5 years subject to conditions.
Although parents of applicants and unmarried children over the age of 21 cannot be included in the application, they can apply for a long-term visa pass issued for 5 years that depends on the validity of the re-entry permit issued to the applicant. It should be noted that the applicant's dependent male child that secures permanent residency would need to comply with National Service requirements.
Global investors have three investment options under the GIP program:
Option A: Invest at least SDG 10 million in a new business entity or in the expansion of an existing business in an approved business sector and own at least 30% of that business.
Option B: Invest a minimum of SDG 25 million in an approved fund that invests in Singapore based companies.
Option C: Invest a minimum of SDG 50 million in a Singapore based Single Family Office having assets under management of at least SDG 200 million, of which must be deployed in any of the following: (i) equities, REITs or Business Trusts listed on Singapore approved exchanges, (ii) qualifying debt securities (e.g. bonds, notes, & certificates of deposit) listed on MAS' Qualify Debt Securities Enquiry System, (iii) funds distributed by Singapore-licensed managers that are listed on MAS' Financial Institutions Directory, (iv) and private equity investments in non-listed Singapore-based business.
The approved business sectors include: alternative energy or clean technology; aerospace engineering, marine and offshore engineering; safety and security; professional services (e.g. consulting, design); automotive; engineering services; media and entertainment; art businesses; chemicals; healthcare; medical technology; shipping; sports businesses; consumer business; info-comm products and services; nanotechnology; pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; and family office and financial services. Applicants can download the GIP factsheet on the Singapore government's website for a full list.
GIP used to be only available to "Established Business Owners". Since 2020, "Next Generation Business Owners", "Founders of Fast Growth Companies" and "Family Office Principals" are also eligible to apply under the GIP program.
Applicants can qualify under the following categories:
- Eligibility A (Established Business Owners):
- The applicant has a successful track record of entrepreneurship of at least 3 years;
- The applicant has run a company in an approved sector with an annual turnover of at least SDG200 million p.a. on average (i) over the last 3 years and (ii) also in the immediate year preceding application; and
- The applicant has at least 30% shareholding in the company if it is privately owned. If it is publicly listed, the applicant should be one of the largest individual shareholders.
- Eligibility B (Next Generation Business Owners):
- The applicant's immediate family owns at least 30% or is the largest shareholder in a company that has an annual turnover of at least SDG 500 million p.a. (i) on average over the last 3 years, and (ii) also in the immediate year preceding application; and
- This company belongs to one of the approved business sectors and the applicant is part of the management team of this company.
- Eligibility C (Founders of Fast Growth Companies):
- The applicant is a founder and one of the largest shareholders of a non-publicly listed company with valuation of at least SDG 500 million; and
- This company must be invested into by reputable venture capital/private equity firms and belong to one of the approved business sectors.
If choosing to invest in Option C, an applicant can also qualify under Eligibility D (Family Office Principals): by having at least 5 years of entrepreneurial investment or management track record and net investible assets (includes all financial assets) of at least SDG 200 million.
If you are interested in applying under the Singapore Global Investor Program, or learning more about this program, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or visit our website here. Our lawyers would be delighted to conduct a free eligibility assessment and advise if you may qualify to apply for Singaporean citizenship through this pathway.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.