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How to Cancel Work Permit in Singapore: A Detailed and Comprehensive Guide

Are you an expatriate working in Singapore and considering canceling your work permit? Whether you are planning to leave Singapore permanently or just need to terminate your employment, canceling your work permit is a crucial step in ensuring a smooth transition. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about canceling a work permit in Singapore.

Before Cancelling Work Permit

Before you proceed with the cancellation of your work permit in Singapore, it's crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the process and its associated intricacies. Singapore has stringent regulations regarding work permits, and compliance with these regulations is essential.

Understanding the Parties Involved

One of the first aspects to consider is who can initiate the cancellation process. In most cases, the responsibility falls on your employer. If your employment contract is coming to an end or your employer no longer requires your services, they typically take the lead in initiating the cancellation. However, employees also have the right to request the cancellation of their work permits if they decide to resign or leave their jobs for any reason.

Timing Matters

Timing plays a crucial role in the cancellation process. It's essential to ensure that if your employment contract is concluding, your work permit is canceled within seven days of the contract's end. This ensures that your legal status in Singapore aligns with the termination of your employment.

By understanding who can initiate the cancellation, grasping the importance of timing, and being aware of the relevant regulations, you can navigate the process smoothly. This knowledge not only ensures a hassle-free transition but also helps you comply with Singapore's work permit rules effectively.

Who Can Cancel Your Work Permit?

Your work permit can be canceled by different parties depending on the circumstances:

  1. Employer: In most cases, your employer initiates the cancellation process when your employment contract ends or if they no longer require your services.

  2. Employee: If you decide to resign or leave your job for any reason, you can request the cancellation of your work permit.

When to Cancel the Work Permit

Knowing the right time to cancel your work permit is crucial to avoid complications:

  • End of Employment: If your employment contract is ending, your work permit should be canceled within seven days of the contract's conclusion.

  • Resignation: If you are resigning from your job, you should inform your employer in advance. The work permit cancellation should be processed upon your last working day.

How to Cancel

Cancelling a work permit in Singapore is a crucial step, and it's essential to follow the correct procedure to ensure a smooth process. Whether you are an employer or an employee, understanding the steps involved is vital.

Initiating the Cancellation Process

  1. Employer's Role: If you are an employer, you typically take the lead in initiating the cancellation of your employee's work permit. This happens when the employment contract concludes, or if the employee's services are no longer required.

  2. Employee's Request: As an employee, you have the right to request the cancellation of your work permit if you decide to resign or leave your job for any reason. In this case, you should inform your employer of your intention.

The Cancellation Timeline

  1. Timing: Timing is crucial when cancelling a work permit. If the employment contract is ending, ensure that the work permit is canceled within seven days of the contract's conclusion. This aligns your legal status in Singapore with your employment situation. Cancellation can be effected within 1 to 7 working days before last day of notice for work or 1 working day after work permit expires.

Process Overview

  1. Submit Application: The employer needs to submit an application for work permit cancellation to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This application typically includes details such as the employee's particulars, the reason for cancellation, and the last day of employment.

  2. Return Documents: As part of the cancellation process, the employee is required to return their work permit card to MOM.

  3. Compliance with Rules: Both employers and employees must comply with Singapore's work pass rules throughout the cancellation process to avoid any complications.

  4. Termination of Legal Obligations: Once the work permit is canceled, both parties are relieved of their legal obligations related to the employment.

How to Cancel Work Permit While the Worker is still in Singapore

If you are still in Singapore and wish to cancel your work permit, follow these steps:

  1. Notify Your Employer: Inform your employer about your intention to cancel the work permit. They will initiate the cancellation process.

  2. Return Your Work Pass: Hand over your work pass card to your employer or the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) as instructed. Failure to return the pass may result in penalties.

  3. Check Your Records: Verify that your employer has canceled your work permit through the MOM's online system WPOL. It's essential to ensure this step is completed.

How to Cancel Work Permit While the Worker has Left Singapore

If you have already left Singapore but need to cancel your work permit, follow these steps:

  1. Employer Notification: Even if you have left the country, you must inform your employer about your departure and the need to cancel your work permit.

  2. Employer's Responsibility: Your employer will initiate the cancellation process with the MOM.

  3. Check Online: As with the previous scenario, ensure that your work permit is canceled by checking the MOM's online system WPOL.

After Cancelling

Once your work permit in Singapore has been successfully canceled, there are several important steps and considerations to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition.

Checking Your Work Permit Status

  1. Confirmation: After the cancellation process is completed, it's essential to verify the status of your work permit. You should receive confirmation from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that your work permit has been successfully canceled. This confirmation serves as proof that you are no longer legally employed in Singapore.

Discarding the Old Pass Card

  1. Return of Pass Card: As part of the cancellation process, you would have returned your work permit pass card to MOM. It's crucial to ensure that this step is completed, as holding onto the pass card after cancellation could lead to legal complications.

Formalities Before Leaving Singapore Permanently

  1. Visa Formalities: If you are leaving Singapore permanently after the cancellation of your work permit, make sure to settle any outstanding visa formalities. This may include the cancellation of your dependent passes, if applicable, and ensuring that all visa-related matters are in order.

Understanding Overstaying Penalties

  1. Overstaying Consequences: It's important to be aware of the penalties for overstaying in Singapore. If you remain in the country beyond the validity of your work permit, you could face fines, deportation, or even bans from re-entering Singapore in the future.

Seeking Legal Assistance

  1. Legal Support: If you encounter any difficulties or uncertainties during the process of canceling your work permit or with post-cancellation matters, consider seeking legal assistance or guidance from professionals who specialize in work permit-related issues.

Financial Matters

  1. Closing Bank Accounts: If you have bank accounts in Singapore, consider closing them or transferring your funds as necessary, especially if you are leaving the country permanently.

  2. Tax Matters: Ensure that you have settled any outstanding tax obligations in Singapore before departing.

How To Check if Your Work Permit Has Been Cancelled

You can verify the status of your canceled work permit by checking the MOM's online portal. It's essential to ensure that your work permit has been successfully canceled.

Discard the Old Pass Card

If you still possess your old work pass card, dispose of it properly to prevent any misuse. Cutting it into pieces or returning it to your employer or the MOM is recommended.

Formalities to Comply With Before Leaving Singapore Permanently

Leaving Singapore permanently is a significant life transition, and there are several essential formalities to adhere to before you bid farewell to the Lion City. These formalities ensure that you leave on good terms and in compliance with the country's regulations.

1. Immigration and Visa Matters

  • Pass Cancellation: Ensure that all your passes, including your work permit, dependent passes, and social visit passes, are canceled properly. Your employer or sponsor should assist with the cancellation process.

  • Exit Permit: If you are a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) or Long-Term Pass holder, and you intend to leave Singapore for an extended period, you may need to apply for an Exit Permit from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

2. Financial Affairs

  • Bank Accounts: Close or transfer your bank accounts as necessary. Ensure all financial matters are settled, including outstanding loans and credit card balances.

  • Taxation: Settle any outstanding tax obligations with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). This includes filing your final tax return and ensuring any tax refunds or liabilities are addressed.

3. Housing and Utilities

  • Tenancy Agreement: If you are renting a property, review your tenancy agreement. Ensure that you provide proper notice to your landlord and settle any pending rental payments or disputes.

  • Utilities: Arrange for the termination of utility services like electricity, water, and gas. Ensure all bills are paid up to date.

4. Employment-Related Matters

  • Final Pay and Benefits: Ensure that you have received your final salary, any outstanding bonuses, and other employment benefits owed to you. Verify any post-employment obligations or non-compete clauses.

5. Personal and Legal Documents

  • Identification Documents: Keep your identification documents like passports, birth certificates, and marriage certificates up to date. Ensure you have all necessary documents for your new destination.

  • Legal Affairs: Update your will and power of attorney if necessary. Inform relevant parties and institutions of your change in residency.

6. Health and Insurance

  • Healthcare: Settle any outstanding medical bills and ensure you have access to your medical records. Consider informing your healthcare providers of your relocation.

  • Insurance: Review and update your insurance policies, including health, life, and travel insurance, to reflect your new circumstances.


How do I cancel my Work Permit in Singapore?

To cancel your Work Permit in Singapore, follow these steps:

  1. Inform your employer about your intention to cancel.

  2. Return your work pass card.

  3. Verify the cancellation through MOM's online system.

What happens when you cancel Work Permit?

When you cancel your Work Permit, it signifies the end of your employment or your stay in Singapore. You should return your work pass card, and your employer or the MOM will update your status.

Can I stay in Singapore if I cancel my Work Permit?

No, canceling your Work Permit means you are no longer allowed to work or reside in Singapore under that permit. You must leave the country within a specified period.

How long does it take for Work Permit to be Cancelled?

The cancellation process usually takes a few days to a week, but it's essential to verify the status through MOM's online system.

How do I know if my Work Permit is Cancelled?

You can check the cancellation status of your Work Permit through the Ministry of Manpower's online portal.

Can I work while waiting for Work Permit in Singapore?

No, once your Work Permit is canceled, you are not permitted to work in Singapore. You must leave the country or apply for a new work permit if necessary.

How much is overstaying fine in Singapore?

Overstaying in Singapore can result in fines and legal consequences. The fines vary depending on the duration of the overstay and your immigration status. It's best to avoid overstaying and adhere to immigration regulations.


Canceling your work permit in Singapore is a significant step that requires careful attention to detail and compliance with regulations. By following the proper procedures outlined in this guide, you can ensure a smooth and lawful cancellation process. Remember to check the status of your cancellation online and address any outstanding formalities before leaving Singapore.

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