Becoming a Singapore citizen comes with a host of benefits.
Singapore is known as one of the world’s most peaceful countries, with a high quality of life, high-paying jobs, and accessible healthcare system. In addition, a Singapore passport gives you visa-free travel to 189 countries.
Obtaining Singapore citizenship will give you access to all those advantages, and even more. At the same time, you will also have the responsibilities of a Singaporean, such as finishing National Service and complying with the Exit Permit.
However, as with most nationalities, getting a Singapore citizenship cannot be done overnight. The process takes months, and that’s not counting the years you may have to spend as a Pass Holder and Permanent Resident beforehand.
So, considering this, not everyone can apply for Singapore citizenship.
Who is Eligible for Singapore citizenship?
You can apply to get Singaporean citizenship if you fall under one of these categories:
- You are at least 21 years old and have been a Permanent Resident for at least two years at the time of application.
- If you have a spouse and children under 21 who are not married, you can apply together.
- You are the spouse of a Singapore citizen and you have been a PR for at least two years. You must have been married for at least two years.
- You are the child (under 21 and not married) of a Singapore citizen. You were either born in a legal marriage or adopted.
- You are a student who holds a Permanent Residence Permit for Singapore. You meet the following requirements:
- You have been living in Singapore for more than three years.
- You have held a Residence Permit for at least one year.
- You have either passed at least one national exam or you are in the Integrated Programme (IP).
- You are the aged parent of a Singapore citizen, and you hold a Permanent Residence Permit.
Singapore Citizenship Application
The Singapore citizenship application is divided into four stages:
1. The online application
You submit a Singapore citizenship application online, using ICA’s eService. You must have a SingPass account to log in and apply.
So, depending on your situation, you can either:
- Apply yourself. You submit your own Singapore citizenship application if:
- You have been a permanent resident for at least two years and are applying for yourself and/or your family.
- You are a Singapore permanent resident, over 15 years of age, and a student who has been living in Singapore for more than 3 years.
- Have your local contact in Singapore submit the application on your behalf.
- If you are an aged parent, spouse, or child of a Singapore citizen.
- If you are a PR student who has been living in Singapore for more than three years and you are under 15 years old.
When you submit the application, you have to fill in the questionnaire and all required forms. You must attach the required supporting documents (see below), so make sure to have them ready. You also have to pay a processing fee.
You have one week after starting the online application to finish it and submit.
The Singapore citizenship application takes around six to 12 months to process, except in the case of children born to Singaporean parents. In that case, your application will be processed in about two months. Depending on the case, some applications can take even longer than 12 months.
2. The Singapore Citizenship Journey
Once your online application is approved, you will be sent an Approval In Principle letter which allows you to begin your Singapore Citizenship Journey.
The Singapore Citizenship Journey is a program designed to help new citizens become familiarized and better integrated in Singapore. It is divided into three parts:
In the first part, you will learn key information about Singapore, such as its history, culture, values and norms, the legal, educational, defense and healthcare systems, and other key national policies. It includes five modules, and you will be tested on your knowledge of these things after each module.
In the second part, you will undergo a Singapore Experiential Tour, where you will visit important Singaporean historical landmarks and national institutions.
In the third, you will attend a community sharing session, where you will meet other residents and grassroots leaders from your own constituency and reflect on your individual experiences, your hopes and aspirations, and learn how you can become an active participant in the community.
3. Renouncing former citizenship
Singapore doesn’t allow dual citizenship, so in order to become a Singapore citizen, you will have to renounce your current citizenship.
You have to do this once you complete your Singapore Citizenship Journey.
You will have to visit the embassy of your current citizenship to make arrangements to renounce it. You will receive a letter to Renounce Foreign Citizenship. You have to download it and then attend a meeting at the ICA for Registration of Singapore Citizenship as stated in the Approval in Principle letter.
4. Singapore Citizenship ceremony
Within three to six months of renouncing your former citizenship and registering for Singapore Citizenship, you will have to attend a Citizenship Ceremony. There, you will receive your Pink Identity Card (NRIC) and SC Certificate, which make you an official Singapore citizen.
Singapore Citizenship Required Documents
Depending on your case, when you apply for Singapore citizenship, you have to attach several documents for each applicant to support your application, such as:
- Foreign ID card.
- Picture in line with Singapore photo requirements.
- Valid passport.
- Birth certificate.
- Family documents, such as:
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
- Divorce certificate, if applicable
- Separation Deed, if applicable
- Death certificates, if applicable (for previous spouses, children)
- Custody documents of children from previous marriages, if applicable
- Educational documents, such as educational, skill, and membership certificates and professional licenses.
- Employment documents, such as:
- Letter of employment from the employer dated from the last three months. It must state the nature of the job, date of employment, and salary.
- Payslips from the past six months.
- Income tax assessment of the past 3 years, in case of overseas work.
- For self-employed applicants: The latest Business Registration Certificate from ACRA, balance sheet, and profit of the last 3 years.
- National Service-related documents:
- National Service Certificate of Service
- National Service Testimonial
- National Service Transcript
- Letter of consent from a former spouse to bring the child to Singapore, in case of joint custody.
If you are an adult, applying yourself, you will have to attach the aforementioned documents for both yourself and your spouse, even if they aren’t coming with you.
If you are applying for a child, you have to attach the required documents for yourself, your spouse, and your child, as applicable. So, for example, if your child is working, attach the employment documents.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of documents and the ICA can ask for additional documents after they have reviewed your application.
The Singapore National Service Obligation
Every Singapore citizen and a permanent resident male has to finish military service, known as National Service (NS) unless they are exempt.
Singapore citizens have to register for NS after they turn 16.5, and they will be called to attend sometime before their 18th birthday. In addition, after completing NS, they also have to attend 40 days of Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) every year until they turn 40 or 50, depending on their rank.
You are exempt from NS and ORNS if you came to Singapore as a foreign worker on a valid work permit and obtained Permanent Residence, and later citizenship. However, if you have a dependent son who came with you, they are subject to National Service.
Singapore males who are subject to National Service obligations will have to get an Exit Permit to be allowed to stay outside Singapore for an extended period of time.