Are curious about In-Principle Approvals in Singapore? Follow this article to learn more about IPAs for work permits, student pass, and home loans in Singapore.

Pre Approval Vs. Pre Qualification Whats The Difference
Steps To Secure An IPA

When you talk about In-Principle Approvals or IPAs in Singapore, you’re probably dealing with work permits or home loans.

IPAs for home loans approved by various Singaporean authorities are one of the best sources to purchase properties in Singapore.

On the other hand, a work permit IPA is an essential requirement needed by an employment agency to bring foreign workers into Singapore.

However, the common thing between these two IPAs is that you have to submit a complete application for approval to qualify for a home loan or work permit.

This article will help you understand the basics of work permit IPAs and how you can secure one.

Furthermore, the article will also help you understand the difference between pre-approvals and pre-qualifications for home loans in Singapore.

Let’s start with IPAs for work permits and student pass first.

How Do I Extend The Validity Of An In Principle Approval IPA

What Is IPA In Principal Approval?

An IPA or In-Principle Approval is a legal requirement used to generate an employment pass for a foreign worker or a student pass.

An employment agency has to file an online account application to procure an employment pass card, allowing it to bring a foreign worker into Singapore.

Authorities will review the application and issue an IPA notification letter with details like an appointment for entry, day of appointment, and appointment time if they approve the employment pass application.

However, an incomplete application will forbid entry approval for the worker.

Furthermore, the IPA letter will also include the appointment timeslot where you must bring your migrant worker within the effective period.

But what happens if you fail to bring your foreign workers within the time slot appointment period?

Thankfully, the Singapore government allows an employment agency to submit a renewal application to extend the appointment day for incoming foreign workers for 1 month.

However, you can extend the IPA only once and will have to notify the checkpoints authority before the current IPA period expires to get approved.

Steps To Secure An IPA

As mentioned earlier, In-Principle Approval is crucial for both students and workers to work or study in Singapore, making it one of the essential documents.

Although many people assume that securing an IPA grants them permission into Singapore, it is very different from a work permit or student pass card.

In short, an IPA is a visit visa that allows you to visit Singapore and apply for a student pass or work permit through a physical verification appointment.

Here are the steps you can follow to secure an IPA in Singapore.

  • Visit the Singapore Ministry of Manpower website and submit your immigration documents.
  • After the concerned authorities receive your application, they start your verification process.
  • Once your documents have been verified, you will receive an In-Principle Approval letter with further details.
  • After receiving the letter, international students or migrant workers will have to visit the ICA center and submit additional documents.
  • Once you complete the required formalities, you will receive your work or STP card pass.

Although your IPA is valid for six months, the approval process may require some time, depending on your application type.

For instance, an STP application may require more processing time (depending on the time taken by education institutions) than an application for workers or vice versa.

However, ensure that you submit your application in English, use a valid email address, and complete the required formalities within the registration period to avoid delays.

Additionally, employment agencies will have to take care of travel arrangements and provide medical examination report cards as per the travel advisory set by the Singaporean government.

In short, IPAs for work permits or student pass is crucial for foreign aspirants as they are the first step for them into Singapore.

Shifting our focus to home loans, let’s learn why IPAs are crucial for the home loan process in Singapore.

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How Can You Secure Your IPA

Why Should I Get An IPA?

In-Principle Approvals is a pre-agreement between a bank and homeowner, which indicates a bank’s willingness to extend financial support to fuel property purchases.

IPA is like an application with layout plan details that includes the funding period and a payment mode once a buyer finalizes a property.

Furthermore, an IPA stipulates the loan tenure and amount based on your financial situation, including credit card statement1letter and other inspection report assessments.

So why should you get an IPA?

Besides helping Singapore citizens plan property purchases, here are the other benefits of getting an IPA.

Protects Option to Purchase

IPAs protect your Option to Purchase as it prevents you from losing the OTP fee if a sale fails.

Since most properties in Singapore charge a 1% processing fee payment or booking fee, an IPA can save you from losing this fee if you lose the sale.

In short, an IPA can save you a lot of money, especially when you are dealing with a substantial amount.

Property agents love IPA holders

Property agents often prefer buyers with valid IPAs as they can rest assured of your financial abilities.

Furthermore, sellers will stick to your proposals more often as they know that a bank has committed to help you with your property purchase.

Easy bargaining with an IPA

Since an IPA allows you to plan effectively, you can propose a clear plan to your property agent while searching for a property.

Furthermore, IPAs help you estimate your bargaining amount, ensuring that you find the perfect property according to your financial situation.

How Do I Extend The Validity Of An In-Principle Approval (IPA)?

IPAs for home loans have shorter validity and may alter if there is a revision in the interest rate.

On the other hand, IPAs for a work permit and student pass last for six months, and students and workers can use these official letters to get their passes within the stipulated period.

However, you can extend an IPA if you need more time by visiting the official online portal for different passes.

For instance, if a student fails to get a letter from the educational institute, he can submit a request to extend his student pass.

Likewise, a migrant domestic worker can submit his extension request with the Ministry of Manpower (WP or FDW eService) for a postponement of appointment date.

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What Are The Requirements For An IPA?

Before applying for an IPA for work permits and student passes, you need to fulfill various requirements.

For instance, an applicant who wishes to work in Singapore will have to procure an employment pass before getting an IPA.

Likewise, a student will also have to provide a letter of consent and fulfill other requirements to secure an IPA.

On the other hand, an applicant who wants to establish a business in Singapore must get an EntrePass before getting an In-Principle Approval.

Pre-Approvals Vs. Pre-Qualifications

Coming back to our home loan scenario, your IPA can qualify for two situations – Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualifications.

Although both terms sound similar, they are different in many ways and can affect your property purchase.


Unlike Pre-Qualifications, where banks consider your financial situation as firm as capital letters, Pre-Approvals will include a lot of checks like your take-home salary or crediting of salary to assess your financial status.

In short, banks will run an extensive check before granting you an IPA.

However, Pre-Approvals help you understand the interest rates better and also give you an advantage in searching for a suitable property under your budget.


Pre-qualified clients can review their loan applications on the phone, which is often quicker than Pre-Approvals.

Furthermore, a pre-qualified customer can also determine the exact loam amount he will receive if he purchases a home.

UOB One Card holders can also get Pre-Qualifications since their card spend details will help them to portray a stable financial situation.

Pre-Approval Vs. Pre-Qualification: What’s The Difference?

The primary difference between Pre-Approvals and Pre-Qualifications is the amount of time required to settle the verification process.

For instance, you can qualify for a Pre-Qualification within a week, while Pre-Approvals might take longer, depending on the verification process.

Here are the key differences between Pre-Approvals and Pre-Qualifications.




Mortgage application


Not required

Application fee

Maybe required

Not required

Credit history check



Financial review


Not required

Down payment estimates



Will banks provide Loan amount estimates?



Will banks provide a specific loan sum?



Interest rate information




Preparing For Your IPA Application

Unlike home loan IPAs, which include assessments of financial history and credit checks, the In-Principle Approval for a work permit or student pass requires thorough preparation.

For instance, if you apply for a migrant domestic worker, you will have to get a letter of consent from the worker before submitting a work permit request.

Likewise, individual workers who wish to work in Singapore will have to get their employment pass before requesting an IPA.

On the other hand, international students must wait for an email approval from concerned authorities (educational institutions) before receiving an IPA.

All the information regarding the IPA’s approval comes as a notification via email, meaning you will have to provide a valid email address to avoid disqualifications.

Furthermore, workers who are Long-Term Pass Holders, earning over $6000 a month, can apply for a Long-Term Visit Pass for their family members.

What Do I Do After IPA Is Approved?

IPAs for migrant workers and students grant access to Singapore, where they can proceed further to secure their work permits or student pass cards.

But what should you do after you receive an IPA for a home loan?

After receiving your IPA, you can meet with property agents and venture into the property market to find the best property.

Since property agents prefer buyers with active IPAs, you can get better and quicker deals in the market.

Furthermore, sellers will help you get the best price and will have more confidence in you as they know that a financial institution has committed to help you with the purchase.

In short, venturing into the property market is the best thing to do after getting your IPA, as you will have a month’s time before the IPA expires.

How Can You Secure Your IPA?

Home buyers can secure their IPAs using a straightforward principle.

For instance, you can compare loan options and figure out which options work best for you according to your financial situation.

Likewise, selecting an ideal property based on your home loan estimates will help you secure your IPA, even if the interest rate changes before you purchase the property.

Once you complete the above steps, you can submit your application along with all the documents and wait for the lenders to process your request.

How Can You Secure Your IPA

Does The Pre-Qualification Stage Mean That Your Home Loan IPA Has Been Rejected?

The Pre-Qualification stage is an informal part of your home loan journey, which can even happen over a phone call.

Since banks do not process essential checks like financial claims, the authenticity of your application, or print outcome letters, you cannot ascertain the bank’s position.

However, it does not mean that banks have rejected your IPA application and may offer you a loan if you find a suitable property.

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