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I was rejected from entering Singapore today. I need some advice on how to re-enter.

I was in Singapore for about 80 days on a tourist pass and then went to Johor Bahru in Malaysia for about 5 days. I wanted to come back to Singapore for under 90 days and wrote down on my immigration card 90 days. While at immigration at Woodlands, I was brought in for questioning about what I was doing in Singapore, the cash I had, credit cards, etc... I told them I was intending to stay in SG again to relax on a gap year and career break and wanted to stay longer to consider moving there. Unfortunately, they told me that I couldn't enter Singapore and I had to go back to Johor Bahru. They gave me no specific reason why and would not divulge.

I would like to come back to Singapore soon and stay for a 2-3 months only once more before I head back to the USA (and possibly have applied to companies here). I heard lots of people do this for about 3-5 times so a bit surprised since this is my first re-entry attempt, but I am aware that this is all at the discretion of the immigration officer.

Did I just get unlucky? Is it possible for me to return soon? Anything else I should try?

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    Singaporean Immigration officials refused you entry because you were misusing the visa-free route to try to spend an extended period of time in SG. The denial of entry is on record and there’s nothing you can ‘try’ - you won’t be going back there anytime soon, IMHO – Traveller Jun 15 at 14:01
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    The fact that others got away with it does not mean you would. A tourist or visitor is not a person who spends a lengthy amount of time in a place through continuous visits. That's an abuse of the spirit of the the law. – user 56513 Jun 15 at 14:04
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    Thanks. May I ask how this was misusing? I thought it was 90 days per entry. I also am not working, and am literally living like a tourist in most other ways. There doesn't seem to be any clear definition of expected rate of returns. – imagineerThis Jun 15 at 14:05
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    "and wanted to stay longer to consider moving there" may have made a difference. Scoping out long term moving is not a tourist activity. Combined with your career break, they may have felt you had a bit too much immigration intent for a tourist. – Patricia Shanahan Jun 15 at 16:29
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    @imagineerThis Singapore doesn’t publish specific rules on the length/frequency of repeat visits (nor does the US, AFAIK). – Traveller Jun 16 at 2:34
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You should think less in terms of "The rules say I can enter Singapore for 90 days" and more in terms of "The rules say the immigration officer can allow me into Singapore for up to 90 days." 90 days is allowed because it should be enough for the vast majority of tourist or business visits.

If you want to stay longer than 90 days (and staying for 80 days, leaving for less than a week and then coming back is, really, staying for longer than 90 days), then your visit doesn't match the profile of what visa-free access is intended for. Some countries are happy for people to make repeated long visits, as long as they leave briefly within the time limit of visa-free access. However, wealthy countries tend not to allow this: for example, the Schengen Zone only allows visa-free visitors to be present for up to 90 days out of any period of 180, the US doesn't allow you to make short visits to neighbouring countries to obtain additional visa-free time in the US, and the UK explicitly says that you're not to use short-term visas or visa-free access to effectively live in the country by making repeated long visits.

I'm not sure what effect your refusal will have on future visits to Singapore. It may be that you are no longer eligible for visa-free access; even if you can visit visa-free, it might be a good idea to get a visa, to avoid the risk of being turned away at the border again. You're unlikely to get a visa or be allowed to enter visa-free in the immediate future, so you need to make plans to spend your time somewhere other than Singapore.

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