Renouncing Singapore Citizenship
There are several factors to be kept in mind regarding the renunciation of your Singapore citizenship. This move can have far-reaching implications and the decision must be made after careful thought and scrutiny. Once the decision to renounce Singapore citizenship is made, there are documents to be submitted and procedural guidelines to be followed. Detailed below is all that you would need to know about renouncing your Singapore citizenship.
Implications of Singapore Citizenship Renunciation
If you are thinking about renouncing Singapore citizenship, it is important to think of the implications of this decision. According to the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, once your declaration for renunciation is registered:
- You will cease to be a citizen of Singapore.
- Citizen benefits such as subsidies in health-care, education, taxation, employment and other privileges will cease to be applicable.
- There is no provision for reinstatement.
- There is also no assurance that you can continue to work or reside in Singapore as a foreigner on any type of employment permit or as a Permanent Resident.
Under Article 128(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, anyone who wishes to renounce Singapore citizenship must fulfill the following three conditions:
- He/she must be 21 years of age or above
- Must be of sound mind
- Is or is about to become a citizen of another country
In addition, for a male citizen, the government may withhold the registration of declaration of renunciation of Singapore Citizenship under Article 128(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, the provisions which are listed below:
- if the declaration is made during any war in which Singapore is engaged, or
- if the declaration is made by a person subject to the Enlistment Act unless he has:
- Discharged his liability for full-time service under Section 12 of the Act
- Rendered at least 3 years of service under Section 13 of the Act in lieu of such full-time service
- Complied with such conditions as may be determined by the Government
What this essentially implies is that if the male citizen is subject to the Enlistment Act and has not discharged his duty for National Service (or equivalent service), the Government has the right to withhold his renunciation of Singapore Citizenship.
Who to approach
If you are residing in Singapore, you may visit the Citizen Services Centre of the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). If you are residing abroad, you can approach the Singapore Overseas Mission.
List of Documents to be submitted
The following are the documents you will have to submit
- Certified true copy of Birth Certificate or the original Singapore Citizenship Certificate.
- Original Singapore Identity Card.
- Original Singapore passport.
- Certified true copy of your foreign citizenship certificate and foreign passport. Such certification must be made by the Foreign Government Authority or the foreign country’s representation nearest to you in your country of residence.
- Completed “Acknowledgement letter from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority”. This form is available at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Citizen Services Centre or you can approach the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission if you are residing overseas. This form has to be dated and duly signed by you.
- Completed “Renunciation of Singapore Citizenship” Form. This form is available at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Citizen Services Centre or you can approach the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission if you are residing overseas. This form has to be dated and duly signed by you. Additionally, a Notary Public or Consular Officer of Singapore has to date, sign and affix his official stamp on the form.
- Completed “Questionnaire for Singaporeans who renounce Citizenship”. This form is available at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Citizen Services Centre or you can approach the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission if you are residing overseas.
- A cover letter providing the following particulars: complete name, mailing address, e-mail address and all contact phone numbers for ease of communication.
- If you have changed your name you have to provide documentary evidence from the relevant authorities to substantiate the change (e.g. Change of Name Certificate, Marriage Certificate etc.).
- Marriage Certificate (for females married to foreign nationals).
Processing Time and Fee
Once you are ready with all the documents, you can approach the ICA or Singapore Overseas Mission (who will in turn forward your application to the ICA in Singapore). The processing fee is SGD 35. The processing time is 3 to 4 months. The ICA will consider each application on its own merits. Once the renunciation of Singapore citizenship is formally registered, a short stay in Singapore will be allowed (if you are residing in Singapore) so that you have sufficient time to make arrangements to leave. Once your application is approved, the ICA will issue the notification letter of cessation of citizenship to you. If you are overseas, the Singapore ICA will forward the letter to the relevant Singapore Overseas Mission, to be issued to you.
Withdrawal of CPF Balance
You may withdraw your CPF in full, from all the accounts, if you have left Singapore and West Malaysia permanently with no intention of returning to either country for employment or residence. In addition you should have renounced your Singapore Citizenship. You may apply for withdrawal online under my cpf online services – My Requests if you have a SingPass (Singapore Personal Access Identity). Alternatively, you can complete the Withdrawal Application Form and mail it to the CPF Board, Withdrawal Schemes Department in Singapore.
The application form needs to be accompanied with relevant supporting documents (mentioned in the form). These documents must be certified by a Notary Public or an official from the Singapore High Commission, with his official seal/stamp duly affixed. Certifications by Justices of Peace or Commissioner of Oaths are not accepted. Once the CPF Board receives the form your CPF Funds will be forwarded to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to settle your income tax liabilities (if any). You will receive your money either through a bank transfer or a CPF withdrawal cheque (if you are in Singapore) or demand draft (if you are overseas). The processing time takes anywhere between 4-6 weeks.
Returning to Singapore after Renunciation
The two most commonly asked questions are: Can I re-apply for Singapore citizenship in the future? And can I come back to Singapore to work or study?
Once you renounce your Singapore citizenship, you will be treated like any other foreigner and any application for immigration facilities, including Singapore citizenship, will be considered on its own merits under the prevailing rules and regulations. To be able to work or study in Singapore you will need a valid work pass and student’s pass. Applications for these passes will be treated like any other application and will be considered on their own merits. Being an ex-Singapore citizen has no standing in these matters and there is no assurance that you will be allowed to enter Singapore. If you are granted PR or citizen status again, please note that you will have to refund the amount withdrawn from your CPF Account at the time of renunciation, along with interest rate accruals.