A singaporean school building with a work permit tucked into the front door

6 steps to get a work permit as an international school teacher in Singapore

Singapore, a vibrant city-state, is renowned for its world-class education system. It’s no surprise that many international school teachers are keen to take up positions in this dynamic location. However, before you can start inspiring young minds in the Lion City, you’ll need to navigate the process of obtaining a work permit. This might seem a daunting task, but don’t fret! We’ve broken down the process into six manageable steps.

Step 1: Secure a Job Offer

Before you can apply for a work permit, you need to secure a job offer from a school in Singapore. This is similar to how you would need a university offer before applying for a student visa. The school will act as your sponsor throughout the work permit application process.

Start by researching international schools in Singapore and sending out your CV. Be sure to highlight your qualifications, teaching experience, and any other relevant skills. Remember, competition can be fierce, so make sure your application stands out.

Step 2: Check Your Eligibility

Once you’ve secured a job offer, it’s time to check your eligibility for a work permit. Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has specific criteria that you must meet. For instance, you need to have the relevant qualifications and experience, and the job must pay a minimum salary.

It’s akin to meeting the entry requirements for a university course. Just as you wouldn’t apply for a physics degree without a solid background in science, you shouldn’t apply for a work permit without meeting the eligibility criteria.

Step 3: Gather Your Documents

With a job offer in hand and eligibility confirmed, it’s time to gather the necessary documents for your work permit application. This is a bit like preparing for a big exam; you need to make sure you have everything you need before you start.

Typically, you’ll need your passport, job offer letter, and educational certificates. Some cases may require additional documents, such as a medical report or a criminal record check. It’s best to check with the Ministry of Manpower or your employer for a complete list.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Now that you have all your documents, it’s time to submit your application. This can be done online through the Ministry of Manpower’s website. It’s a bit like submitting an assignment through an online portal; you need to make sure everything is in order before you hit the ‘submit’ button.

There is a fee to submit your application, which your employer may cover. Once submitted, you’ll receive an application number, which you can use to track the status of your application.

Step 5: Wait for Approval

After submitting your application, all you can do is wait. The Ministry of Manpower will review your application and make a decision. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so patience is key.

It’s a bit like waiting for exam results; it can be nerve-wracking, but remember that worrying won’t change the outcome. Use this time to prepare for your move to Singapore and get excited about your new adventure.

Step 6: Collect Your Work Permit

Once your application is approved, you’ll need to collect your work permit. This is the final step in the process, akin to crossing the finish line in a race. You’ve worked hard to get to this point, and now you can finally reap the rewards.

Your employer will usually arrange for you to collect your work permit from the Ministry of Manpower. You’ll need to bring your passport and any other required documents. Once you have your work permit, you’re officially ready to start your new job in Singapore!


While the process of getting a work permit in Singapore can seem complex, breaking it down into manageable steps makes it much easier. Remember, the key to a successful application is preparation. Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria, have all your documents ready, and follow the application process carefully.

With patience and perseverance, you’ll soon be ready to embark on your exciting new journey as an international school teacher in Singapore. Good luck!

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