International Relations Office

Incoming Exchange Students


After Applying

Congratulations, you have applied to be an exchange student at NUS!  This section will cover all of the necessary things to do before and after receiving your acceptance.  Please read all of the information to ensure you are properly prepared for your experience in Singapore.


Step 1: Check your email

After you have applied online for the position of a non-graduating “Exchange Student” and uploaded all relevant supporting documents before the deadlines, you should be checking your email (ie the same email given during application) regularly for important updates from NUS Registrar’s Office. Please check your spam folder as some emails from NUS might be automatically directed to your spam folder depending on your email settings. Alternatively, you can use your application ID and password to log in to the application portal and check for your application status.

NUS Registrar’s Office will contact you via email for at least one of the three circumstances stated below:



You have submitted incomplete supporting documents. Please note that softcopy of all supporting documents need to be uploaded onto the online application portal. Do refer to the application checklist meant for “Exchange Students”.


You have failed to obtain a minimum of three modules (or 12 modular credits) per semester. NUS Registrar’s Office will contact you via email to select more modules. Students who do not manage to secure a minimum of 12 modular credits after two rounds of modules reselection will be deemed as unsuccessful applicants.

Module requests will be assessed by the academics teaching the module based on availability and pre-requisites.  Applicants are automatically barred from adding modules with clashing timetables or choosing modules which are not offered to exchange students. Modules placement is not guaranteed. Business, Law and Economics modules at NUS are extremely oversubscribed. If you did not secure any of the popular modules during the first round of course selection, please do not repeat your request for any of these modules in subsequent rounds of reselection in order to avoid delays with your application. Successful Law modules applicants will be contacted by NUS Law directly for the official Law modules registration. If you have applied for Law modules and did not received any follow-up emails from NUS Law, it means you are not considered for Law modules. You might like to read about module selection to guide you in your modules reselection.


You have successfully secured a minimum of 12 modular credits for the issuance of Student’s Pass. The official offer email will be sent out by mid-June for exchange that starts in August and by mid- November for exchange that starts in the following January.

The offer email contains web links to the modules you have secured, the NUS Registration Guide and on-campus accommodation application instructions (if applicable). You are expected to follow the instructions and deadlines stated in these documents so that you do not miss out on important information related to accommodation and visa arrangement.  Please note that all deadlines are set based on Singapore’s time zone.

If you wish to make changes to the modules you have secured at the point of offer, you can do so during the “Add/Drop” exercise which will be conducted in the first two weeks of each semester. Details about the “Add/Drop” exercise are stated clearly in the NUS Registration Guide.

Before you receive the official offer email, if you wish to update your application particulars or have any questions about your application, please email to directly.




Step 2: Secure accommodation

At NUS, non-graduating exchange students are not guaranteed on-campus accommodation.

Successful on-campus accommodation applicants

If you have indicated “YES” on your online exchange application for on-campus accommodation, you can apply for housing once you received an invitation via email from NUS. The invitation to apply for housing will appear in your letter of offer. The housing application will be done via the University Housing Management System (UHMS).  If you need a certain type of room due to existing medical conditions, please highlight your needs and provide official medical documents during the housing registration period.

A non-refundable application fee of S$26.75 is required when using the UHMS. Upon acceptance of an offer, you will be required to make an advance payment of S$200 by the stipulated deadline to secure the room. You may be allocated to an accommodation that is different from your preferred choice due to the non-availability of your preferred accommodation venue. If that happens, you can write to Office of Student Affairs to appeal for another accommodation.

If you are not satisfied with the accommodation allocated to you, you do not need to pay the S$200 advance payment by the stipulated deadline and Office of Student Affairs will release the room to the next applicant on the waiting list.

If the housing payments are made before the deadline, a confirmation email will be sent to you with details of the allocated room.  Please print and bring the email for submission to the accommodation Management Office during check-in.

Complete information on the housing application procedure, including descriptions of NUS accommodation choices, meal plan fees, vacation stay, late & early check-in, and check-out information, can be found on the Office of Student Affairs’ Hostel Admission Services site.

Unsuccessful on-campus accommodation applicants

If you have indicated “NO” in your online application for on-campus accommodation, you will be barred from the accommodation allocation exercise automatically and you will not receive information on accommodation application. Please arrange for your off-campus accommodation on your own.

Even if you have indicated “YES” for on-campus accommodation, you might still be unsuccessful in obtaining on-campus accommodation. If that happens, you should review the Office of Student Affairs’ list of contacts and resource references for recommendation on off-campus accommodation providers.

If you have accommodation related enquiries you can refer to the database of Frequently Asked Questions or send an enquiry via the UHMS site.




Step 3: Get health and travel insurance coverage

Every international student must take up the compulsory NUS Group Medical Insurance Scheme.

The insurance premium is subject to revision from time to time.

Click here for details of the insurance coverage.  Please note that not all health services are covered by the NUS Group Medical Insurance Scheme so you may wish to enrol with a private health insurance organisation that offers services not covered by the scheme.

With effect from 1 January 2016, all registered NUS students will be covered under a blanket travel insurance. This blanket travel insurance covers the official NUS trips during the course of exchange. More details can be found online. If the coverage is not enough for you, it is highly recommended that you purchase an additional travel insurance on your own.




Step 4: Prepare the documents needed for Student's Pass application

International students studying in Singapore are required to have their “Student's Pass” approved by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore.  Your offer of admission to NUS is conditional upon your successful application of your Student's Pass.

All incoming international students who are applying for a Student’s Pass for 6 months and above are required to do a medical examination (details will be provided in the letter of offer). 

NUS Registrar’s Office will apply for the entry visa and an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter for all international students through the ICA Student’s Pass Online Application and Registration (SOLAR) system.  All international students will then be required to fill out an online eForm 16 and print a copy to be brought to Singapore.

For international students who do not require an entry visa to Singapore, you will only need to show your passport and disembarkation card to get through Singapore immigration. You will be given the stamped IPA letter on the date of registration at NUS and you need the letter to collect your Student’s Pass from ICA. 

For international students who require an entry visa to Singapore, NUS will send the IPA letter via email to you after the application has been approved by ICA.  The IPA letter will serve as a single-trip entry visa upon arrival in Singapore. Please show your passport, disembarkation card and the IPA letter to get through Singapore immigration. Upon registration at NUS, another IPA letter will be stamped and issued to you before you can proceed to collect your Student’s Pass from ICA.




Step 5: Estimate the costs of living

Below is a list of estimated expenditure a single student may likely incur during his or her stay in Singapore. These amounts will vary accordingly depending on your personal needs and lifestyle pattern. You are advised to refer to the sample data as a rough guide for planning your expected living costs.

Please note that this sample only includes expenses for your daily essentials and does not account for non-essentials and major items such as shopping, entertainment, computers, electronic/communication devices, travel plans, etc.

Estimated Costs (per month)
S$300 - S$800*
S$500 - S$1,200#
Food (3 meals a day)
S$250 - S$400
S$400 - S$800
Public Transport
S$100 - S$150
S$200 - S$300
Books & Stationery (depends on course of study)
S$200 – S$350
S$200 – S$350
Personal expenses (Telecommunication, toiletries, clothing etc.)
S$250 - S$350
S$250 - S$350
S$1,100 - S$2,050
S$1,550 - S$3,000

* Actual cost depends on type of residence and type of room.  For the hostel fees you may refer to the Office of Student Affairs’
Residential Services site.

# Actual rental depends on whether there is room sharing and whether utilities are included in the rent.

Generally, NUS does not allow non-graduating course-work based exchange students holding a Student’s Pass to work in Singapore.




Step 6: Plan your arrival date to Singapore and to NUS

You are advised to arrive in Singapore in time for the official registration date at NUS. The registration date differs every semester and you have to read the content in the NUS Registration Guide for detailed instructions.

The Registration Guide includes information on:

  • Pre-Departure Checklist
  • Issuance of Student’s Pass by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore
  • Official registration for NUS Student Card
  • Module “Add/Drop” instructions and deadlines
  • Orientation briefing
  • Housing matters

Please read the guide and join the activities specially prepared for you in order to familiarise yourself with NUS and Singapore.

You are also encouraged to participate in the activities customised for you by our Peer Advising Leaders. Some of the activities such as “Campus Tour with Networking & Information Session”, “Welcome Party” and “Row, Row, Row your Dragonboat” for exchange students are always popular and well attended. Do remember to join our Facebook once you have registered as an NUS student so as to get the latest updates from us!



For highlights of events customised for non-graduating students at NUS, please refer to the attachment. The events are subject to change; therefore please look out for our emails for up-to-date information on our events. This list is not exhaustive as there are more events and activities happening all year round at NUS. Please also refer to the NUS Calendar of Events for more information.

We respect your decision if you do not wish to be on the mailing list for any of the events or activities organised by the International Relations Office, please write to us to have your email removed from our mailing lists if this is your preference.  However, we encourage you to stay on the mailing list in order to join in the fun and networking opportunities which will help to make your exchange more rewarding!




Step 7: Take a look at the useful references

We have prepared a list of materials and videos for you to refer so that you can prepare yourself after you have applied to NUS. Please read them.



If you have questions at this stage, please email to AskIRO portal.