Did you know that almost 1 in 3 people living in Singapore are neither citizens nor PRs?
It should come as no surprise, then, that quite a few Singaporeans will marry foreigners. In fact, the data shows that in 2018, over 1 in 3 citizen marriages were to transnationals (i.e. foreigners).
With this shift in mind, the government recently decided to lower the age criterion for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) so as to level the playing field for citizens marrying foreigners.

The Update: Lower Age Requirement for Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme

As of 26 October 2019, you only need to be at least 21 years of age to be eligible for up to $40,000 in grants under the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme. Previously, you had to be at least 35 to get any subsidies for resale flats. (Read also: The Buyer’s Guide to Buying a Resale Flat)

The other requirements for the EHG still hold: you must be a first-time buyer below the income ceiling, and the remaining lease for the resale flat must be able to cover the youngest buyer until the age of 95. (If you buy a resale flat older than that, the grant amount will be pro-rated.)

The calculable income for the EHG application is based on half of your monthly household income. For instance, if you earn $2,500 and your foreigner spouse earns $4,000, your calculable income would be $3,250. You’d thus be eligible for a subsidy of $15,000 for your resale flat.

The table below details the grant amount you’re eligible for depending on your income bracket:

What other grant (s) can I get as a citizen marrying a foreigner?

If you’re buying a resale flat, you’re also eligible for the Singles Grant and Proximity Housing Grant (more details in our CPF Grant guide here). With all three combined, you can get up to $80,000 in subsidies.


What if I want to buy a new HDB BTO with my foreign spouse, can I still get any grant?

The Singles Grant and Proximity Housing Grant only apply to resale flats, so it’s just the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant left. You’ll still get up to $40,000 as long as you meet the other requirements though.

(Read also: How to Apply for a BTO / Balance Flat [2019 Step-by-Step Guide])


What are my housing options as a Singaporean citizen marrying a foreigner? 

You can purchase the following types of property:

  • New 2-room BTO flat in non-mature estate
  • 2-room SBF flat in non-mature estate
  • Any size resale flat in any location
  • Executive Condominiums (EC) older than 10 years
  • New launch condominiums
  • Resale private properties
  • Landed properties


Apart from grant, what financial aspects do my non-citizen spouse and I need to watch out for?

The main thing to keep in mind is that foreigners don’t have CPF accounts – and therefore do not get the extra 17% employer contribution to CPF. On a $3,000/mo salary for instance, that extra 17% from the employer amounts to $6,120 per year – most of which could’ve gone to paying down your mortgage.

The other financial aspects are roughly the same as if you had married a Singaporean spouse. For instance, foreigners have a 75% LTV limit for bank loans, just like Singaporeans.

You can also still get an HDB housing loan under the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme as long as you’re not over the income ceiling and neither you nor your spouse own any other property.

(Read also: The Buyer’s Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Resale Flat)


Does my foreigner spouse need to pay ABSD?

Fortunately, no! As long as the property was purchased under both of your names and neither of you own any other properties, you can apply for an ABSD remission from IRAS. You’ll still have to pay the Buyer Stamp Duty, however.


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