Over 4,000 seek visit pass for prospective spouses

Mr Amrin said 66 per cent of the applicants assessed were given a Letter of Eligibility.
Mr Amrin said 66 per cent of the applicants assessed were given a Letter of Eligibility.

A scheme that allows Singaporeans and their prospective foreign spouses to start applying for a long-term visit pass before they tie the knot has received more than 4,000 applications.

Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin yesterday said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore received 4,159 applications last year, and it assessed 3,764 of these applications last year.

Mr Amrin was responding to Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC), who wanted to know how many Singaporean-foreigner couples have gone for the Pre-Marriage Long-Term Visit Pass Assessment since it was introduced in January last year.

The scheme gives such couples a better idea of whether they will get a long-term visit pass before they register their marriage. Before it was introduced, they could apply for the visit passes only after marriage.

Mr Amrin yesterday said 2,481, or 66 per cent of the applicants assessed, were given a Letter of Eligibility, which allows them to apply for a long-term visit pass once they are married.

It takes an average of four weeks to assess a case, he added.

The assessment was one of several initiatives introduced to make sure Singaporeans and foreigners who want to get married are fully aware of each other's backgrounds.

Both sides are required to provide information about their financial status, educational background, past marriages and criminal records, if any.

With the long-term visit pass, the foreign spouse can stay in Singapore for up to a year at a time.

Madam Samai Chatthahan, 32, a Thai national, said: "When I first married my Singaporean husband in 2002, I was worried if I would be allowed to stay here long-term. I believe many foreign spouses have the same concern. The new scheme will give them more assurance before moving here."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2016, with the headline 'Over 4,000 seek visit pass for prospective spouses'. Print Edition | Subscribe