A Guide To Becoming A Singaporean Citizen
Singapore is known for many great things, top-in-the-world education, clean streets, brilliant infrastructure/city planning, great food among countless others. These things are what attract many foreigners to its shores where many eventually fall in love with the country and wish to become a citizen.
However, how does one accomplish that?
Eligibility for Citizenship
Firstly, one will have to consider their eligibility. There are 5 ways to be eligible for Singaporean Citizenship.
|Eligibility||Who applies for the Citizenship?|
|You have to have been a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) for at least two years and are aged 21 and above.||Candidate applies for the Citizenship themselves.|
|You are an unmarried child aged below 21 born within the context of a legal marriage to, or have been legally adopted by a Singaporean Citizen.||If below age 15, candidate will require a Singaporean Citizen to apply on their behalf.If they are age 15 or above, candidate applies for the citizenship themselves.|
|You have to have been a PR for at least two years and have been married to a Singapore citizen for at least two years.||Candidate requires a Singaporean citizen (parent/spouse/child where relevant) to apply on their behalf.|
|You are a PR studying in Singapore; and have been residing in Singapore for more than 3 years (of which, at least one year was as a PR); and have passed at least one national exam (i.e. PSLE, GCE ‘N’/‘O’/‘A’ levels), or are in the Integrated Programme (IP).|
|You are a PR and an Aged Parent of a Singapore Citizen.|
- Application Cover Letter
- Current passport.
- Birth Certificate.
- Marriage Certificate; Divorce Certificate; Separation Deed.
- PR card (blue identity card) and PR certificate.
- Educational certificates (high school and above).
- Foreign citizenship certificate.
- A letter of employment from current employer.
- Income tax notice of assessment for last 3 years.
- Payslips for the last 6 months and CPF contributions history for the last 12 months, if employed.
There are many documents required and it is highly recommended that you have an experienced immigration lawyer help you prepare them, as each application case documentation requirements differ from case to case, and not only can they ensure that all the documentation is in proper order specific to your needs but they can also increase the chances of your application being successful. The help of an experienced immigration lawyer cannot be overstated, as professional preparation and assistance will differentiate you from the many other applicants out there, ensuring that your chances of success are higher.
An immigration lawyer can also help by collaborating with you on an Application Cover Letter. It’s a great idea to include a cover letter along with the application that summarizes convincing key points of your application, such as:
- What are the reasons that you have decided to apply for Singapore citizenship?
- What is the positive groundwork you have established in Singapore?
- What have you done that demonstrates your good character and law-abiding nature, contributions to society, etc.?
- What is your ability to be an asset to Singapore and not a liability, this can be your ability to generate income for yourself and your family (either as an employee or a business owner)?
An immigration lawyer can ensure that your application will do its main job of convincing the authorities in charge that Singapore will benefit in the long-term from granting you the citizenship. It is important to bear in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all template when it comes to an Application Cover Letter, and an immigration lawyer will know how best to draft this important Application Cover Letter based on your personal circumstances/background (e.g. the approach differs depending on whether an applicant is applying alone or for the entire family).
How do I Apply?
Lastly, is the application, with all documents ready and at hand, you will also require a SingPass account whether yours or your spouse’s to submit an application. Application requires an appointment booking submitted online using the e-Service provided and an application fee. An immigration lawyer will also be able to assist you with setting up a SingPass account (if required) and the subsequent application submission.
Application fees are S$100 each application, with an additional S$70 for your Singapore Citizenship Certificate and S$10 for a Singapore Identity Card (applicable only to new citizens aged 15 and above) should your application be successful.
At the appointment, an interview officer will verify your submitted documents against your application form and ensure all information is correct. If you are applying as the spouse of a Singapore citizen, your spouse must be present during this interview. If it’s a child applying for the citizenship, they must be present at least once during this interview stage or the collection of citizenship certificate at the ICA or Embassy / High Commission of Singapore.
It will take between 6 – 12 months to receive the outcome of your Singapore citizenship. You will receive a letter via postal mail to your residential address notifying you of the application’s outcome.
If your application is successful, you will have to renounce your foreign citizenship, this is achieved by visiting the relevant foreign embassy or relevant foreign High Commission in Singapore with your passport. You will be issued with letters stating the renunciation of your citizenship, and the surrender of your passport as well.
If your application is unsuccessful consider consulting an immigration lawyer to help identify any mistakes/reasons that your application is unsuccessful. They have the skillset to be able to see what your application needs/misses.
Do I have NS Liabilities?
Do make sure that you also take note of the National Service Obligations of Singapore.
“Under the Enlistment Act, all male Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, unless exempted are required to serve National Service (NS). Following the completion of full-time NS, they will be required to serve up to 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) per year for the duration of their ORNS training cycle till the age of 50 years (for officers) or 40 years (for other ranks).
NS-liable persons are required to register for NS upon reaching 16 1/2 years old and will be scheduled for enlistment at the earliest opportunity upon reaching 18 years old. Deferment from NS for university studies, regardless of whether such studies have begun, will not be granted.
Those who are pursuing full-time GCE ‘A’ Level or Polytechnic Diploma studies (or equivalent) may be granted deferment if they meet the deferment conditions stipulated by the Ministry of Defence.
All male applicants are required to access the Central Manpower Base website for information on NS deferment, pre-enlistment process and Exit Permit requirements, before proceeding with the application.”
If you wish to defer NS obligations for you or your son, and/or are unsure of your eligibility for NS consider consulting a lawyer who will know the Enlistment Act and able to determine whether or not you are eligible for NS, health reasons, etc. or whether you are eligible to defer your NS.
In summary, NS obligations are not to be taken lightly as they may present long-term repercussions (including legally) if not advised accordingly. It is highly advisable that you see a lawyer with a view to long-term planning.
Congratulations! Upon receiving your pink Identity Card. You are now a full-fledged Singaporean citizen with all the citizen benefits that come with it. Ensure that you are up to date with the current laws, rules and regulations of Singapore, they can be very different from other countries. If you are unsure about the legal proceedings here in Singapore in regards to laws and regulations, do consult a lawyer for assistance.