6 steps to legal residency for an expat baby

Apr 04

6 steps to legal residency for an expat baby

There are many words that come to mind shortly after giving birth to a newborn. Comfort, cots, nursery, stroller. Many expat mothers forget to add filing ‘legal residency’ to the list.

If you are a foreigner living in Singapore, and holding an employment pass (EP) or a personalised employment pass (PEP), you should understand how to procure a dependent pass for your newborn.

A grace period of up to 42 days is issued from the time the baby is born. Thereafter, parents are expected to settle their child’s immigration status.

Here are 6 straightforward baby steps for how to apply for a dependent pass for your bubs.

Step 1 – birth certificate

The birth certificate for an infant born in Singapore is issued by the hospital. Usually, you have a 14-day time slot to get this done from the hospital where the delivery was made.

Since your family will be present at the hospital for approximately 2 to 3 days after the birth, it’s a no-brainer to complete this procedure before the new mum and newborn are discharged.

Step 2 – advisory note

For all expat babies born in Singapore, a dependent pass is required for long-term stay. By foreign babies we mean babies born to EP and PEP holders.

Along with the birth certificate, you will also be provided with an advisory note from the hospital.

Guard this document with your life. This is the special pass that allows your baby to stay in Singapore for 42 days after its birth. Within this 42 days, you should complete steps 3 to 5.

Step 3 – baby’s passport

Apply for a passport immediately after receiving the baby’s birth certificate. If the parents have different citizenships, you should decide before the baby’s birth which country’s citizenship you want your newborn to adopt. If the parents have the same citizenship, then the country of origin for your child is obvious.

If the country of origin requires you to secure a citizenship certificate for your baby, add that to the list. It’s easier to get them both done at the same time. Your point of contact for this is the high commission or embassy for your country.

Buzz them before heading down to make an application. Wrong or inadequate applications will cause delays. Remember, you only have 42 days!

Step 4 – application for DP

Once you’ve received the passport, you now hold 2 important documents to apply for the baby’s dependent pass. You can make a manual application or hire an approved employment agency to submit an online application. An online application is faster.

Step 5 – issuing the DP

Congrats, you’re inches away from a DP!

When there are no issues with the parents’ passes, 90% of all dependent passes are approved. The in principle approval (IPA) letter from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is available online for applications or it’ll be sent to the address of the main pass holder if applied for manually.

As soon as the IPA letter is received, the pass should be issued online and an appointment made for getting the DP card.

There is a declaration form attached to the IPA letter. For newborns, this is signed on his/her behalf by the mum or dad. Approach an approved employment agent for guidance and an appointment if you are unsure of the process.

Steps 1 to 5 should be completed within 42 days of the baby’s birth. If there are delays you should approach ICA to get an extension of stay. This has to be applied for manually at ICA. You are required to provide a justification for the extension (e.g. you didn’t get the passport on time hence the DP application was delayed). ICA may also demand to see the parents’ documents, such as passports or employment pass (EP) cards.


Step 6 – fingerprinting

After the pass has been issued, the newborn should be taken to MOM’s fingerprinting centre at Clark Quay to receive a DP card. No fingerprinting is required for newborns but the baby should be taken to the issuance office for verification.
You will need these original documents:

  1. Baby’s passport
  2. Baby’s birth certificate
  3. Declaration form (found along with the IPA letter), duly signed
  4. Advisory note
  5. Photograph as required for the card (details are provided on the EP issuance letter, which you should have received after completing step 5)
  6. EP issuance letter
  7. MOM appointment letter for fingerprinting
  8. Parents’ EPs and passports

It is important to follow MOM’s instructions. Failure to comply with immigration regulations may result in possible imprisonment or fines. By planning ahead you can avoid unforeseen hiccups.

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