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Is the Singapore visa free for Pakistan citizens?

Goh Jun Cheng

Singapore and Pakistan have a friendly relationship and Singapore offers visa-free access or visas on arrival for citizens of many countries around the world. However, currently Singapore does not offer a visa-free facility for Pakistani passport holders.

Background on Singapore’s visa policy

Singapore has a open visa policy and allows visa-free entry or visas on arrival for citizens of over 170 countries [1]. This facilitates tourism, business travel, and connections between Singapore and other nations.

Some key facts about Singapore’s visa policy:

  • Citizens of ASEAN member states like Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, etc. get visa-free access [2].
  • EU, UK, US, Australian, New Zealand citizens also get visa-free entry [3].
  • Singapore strategically allows visa-free entry to major trading partners and key markets for tourism, investments, etc.
  • The visa-free facility generally allows a stay of up to 30 days in Singapore for the permitted nationalities.

Pakistan not yet included in visa-free list

As of October 2023, Pakistani citizens still need to obtain a visa before travelling to Singapore. Some key points:

  • Pakistan and Singapore have positive bilateral relations, but Pakistan is not yet on the visa-free list.
  • Singapore does facilitate Pakistani business travellers by providing multi-entry visas valid for up to 5 years [4].
  • For tourism, visas can be obtained rapidly online through authorized visa agents.
  • But unlike some other South Asian countries like India, Sri Lanka, etc. Pakistan is not yet visa-free.

Why Pakistan may not have visa-free access yet

There are a few potential reasons why Singapore has not yet granted visa-free access to Pakistani citizens:

Security and immigration concerns

Singapore maintains very strict visa policies to control immigration. There may be concerns about security risks, overstaying visas, crime, etc. while Pakistan struggles with instability [5].

Volume of travellers from Pakistan

The volume of travellers and ties between Singapore and Pakistan is still low. So there may be less economic incentive for Singapore currently.

Bilateral ties still developing

Relations between Singapore and Pakistan are cordial but the economic and cultural connections are still developing. Visa-free access is generally granted to very close partners first.

Meeting visa-free criteria

Singapore has criteria like passport integrity, low visa overstay rates, economic ties, etc. to grant visa-free access. Pakistan may not fulfill all criteria yet.

Outlook for future visa-free access

There are positive signs that Pakistan may get visa-free access in the future:

  • As bilateral ties increase, Singapore may include Pakistan in its visa-free program.
  • With improving security and passport systems, Pakistan may fulfill Singapore’s visa-free criteria.
  • Pakistan’s rising economy and middle class can lead to increased business and leisure travel to Singapore.
  • Singapore aims to attract 150,000 Pakistani tourists annually by 2025, indicating improving ties [6].
  • Visa-free access can boost Pakistan’s image and be seen as a diplomatic positive for bilateral relations.

In summary, Singapore does not currently offer visa-free access to Pakistani citizens but the prospects are positive for this to materialize in the coming years as relations continue to develop positively.

References

[1] Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore. “Visa Requirements for Foreign Nationals.” https://www.mfa.gov.sg/visa-requirements-for-foreign-nationals

[2] Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore. “ASEAN Member States.” https://www.mfa.gov.sg/asean-committee-in-singapore/about-asean/asean-member-states

[3] Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Singapore. “Visa-Free Transit Facility.” https://www.ica.gov.sg/enter-depart/entry_requirements/visa-free-transit-facility

[4] High Commission of the Republic of Singapore, Islamabad. “Visa Information.” https://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/overseasmission/islamabad.html

[5] Government of Pakistan. “National Internal Security Policy 2018-2023.” https://nacta.gov.pk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/National-Internal-Security-Policy-2014.pdf

[6] Salman Siddiqui. “Singapore keen to build ties with Pakistan.” The Express Tribune. Jan 24, 2022. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2340461/singapore-keen-to-build-ties-with-pakistan

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