Blog Parents Key Decisions Singapore Local School Admission: How Foreign Students can get into Primary Schools in Singapore

Singapore Local School Admission: How Foreign Students can get into Primary Schools in Singapore

Since the recent past, it has become difficult for foreign students to join a Primary School in Singapore. It is for this reason that parents of children who are non-Citizens or non-Permanent Residents in Singapore need to have at the very least a backup plan.

Registration for Singaporean Primary Schools takes place when your child turns six and it starts in June each year. Citizens and Permanent Residents are allowed to apply for Phase 1 and Phase 2 and International Students are just allowed to register during the last phase that is Phase 3.

How the can you ensure that your child secures a study place in the local schools?

Here is a look at some ways you can get your child registered. Let’s get started.

Applying For Permanent Residency

Taking this step involves making a major decision for any family particularly those with sons. Once their residency gets approved, they are likely to serve in the National Service(NS).

If as a family you have opted to apply, keep in mind that the earliest you can have your appointments slots is probably 9 to 12 months from when you make the booking.

Generally, it also takes around 6 months or more for your petition to get processed. Those families that choose to take this route, it is advisable that you apply at the least two years early.

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How does the application process work? For instance: If your youngster was born in 2015, it then means enrolment for Primary School will be in June 2021. So, in essence by Jan 2019, you need to have booked an appointment for your Permanent Residency application.

Then in 2020, will be the waiting time to get feedback from ICA on the status of your application. Again, making an application as soon as it will prove to be advantageous particularly when the outcome is unfavourable. Then this will give you some time to explore your options with plan B, C etc.

Applying Under Singapore Primary School Phase 3

Recently, MOE introduced a procedure change for Phase 3 registration. Now we have 2 steps involved in Phase 3.

Step 1: Present an online interest indication form using the MOE P1 site, from 5 – 11 June 2018
Step 2: Non-Citizen / non-PR kids who have presented the interest indication form during Singapore Local School Admission for foreign students will get notified by MOE in October that they may get a P1 place the local schools, should register personally at the selected schools during the 2018 P1 Registration exercise for their Phase 3 (in 2018 late October).

Owing to the new change, parents of foreign students do not have to choose the primary school to register into. However, this means that there is a chance that your child may be assigned to a school far away from his home. You’ve got to ask yourself if you are prepared to move to be nearer to your child’s assigned school or have him make an hour commute to school everyday.

When a child gets a P1 place offer, the letter issued will include the primary school they can register into. All applicants get to know the results by October (different from previous years as it was done in November).

Lastly, since the ‘interest form’ is submitted online, you don’t have to be physically in Singapore. Since MOE doesn’t disclose the criteria of who gets a place and who isn’t allocated, it’s vital that both parents’ passes and passport be availed during Phase 3 registration. Thus avoid traveling during the registration dates.

International School Options In Singapore

You also have the option to review the international schools available that suit your family’s budget and values. There are several international schools whose annual tuition fees is around $15k -$17k.

Invictus School which opened in August 2016 has their fees at SG$15k a year. One World Int’l School (OWIS) have a branch in Jurong since this January 2018 with SG$17k fees a year. DPS Int’l School and Global Indian School (GIIS) are other options whose fees are approximately about SG$15k. Be sure to confirm the registration period and whether they offer placement exams.

It may be a good idea to reserve a place in one of the available international schools (when it’s your plan B) as you wait for Phase 3 results. Your child’s good performance will hold – whether it the pass is dependent or LTVP. Kids on LTVP (possibly PR or SC) will have to apply for Student Passes.

Only EduTrust-certified schools are qualified to apply for a student pass on behalf of your kid. Some schools are exempted to this rule (such as UWC and SAS). It’s easy to think it’s a ‘disadvantage’ to have an LTVP since it further limits the choices of schools.


Another possible option for you would be homeschooling your kid at home. There are some countries that offer some distance education programs.

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It is possible for some families to follow this route and homeschool their kids (of course you have to adhere to the MOE curriculum) in preparing for Admission Exercise for International Students (AEIS).

According to the MOE, the AEIS involves a centralised test for Mathematics and English. This test is used to assess an applicants’ numeracy, English literacy, and their reasoning abilities.

Though admission is not warranted and is dependent on how the applicant performs in their test. When successful, their placement will be based on the vacancies available and the also applicant being stated a resident in Singapore. It is not known of how many applicants ‘pass’ the AEIS during Singapore Local School Admission for foreign students.

The only actual figure that the MOE gives is that the International Students constitute about 5 percent of the whole student population in the country.

In Closing

Even though it has become difficult for international students to join a Primary School in Singapore. Parents of these children need not worry. This is because there are several options mentioned above that are available for their children to access educational opportunities.

It is for this reason that parents of children who are non-Citizens or non-Permanent Residents in Singapore should have at the very least a backup plan. This is in case their children do not get admission during the Phase 3.

Preparing your child to enter our local primary schools? Here are some tips for you:

6 ‘Uniquely P1’ Problems Your Primary One Child Will Likely Face
Is Your Child Study-Ready For Singapore Primary 1?


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.