Singapore Citizenship Application Filing Guide
Applying for Singapore citizenship is an important decision and it’s necessary that you first consider its benefits and drawbacks. For example, Singapore at present does not allow dual-citizenship which means you will have to renounce your present citizenship once your Singapore citizenship application is approved. For a detailed discussion on pros and cons of Singapore citizenship, refer to the guide Singapore Citizenship Benefits and Drawbacks. Some of the key benefits enjoyed by Singapore citizens include:
- The Singapore International Passport – This allows you to tour the world, with very little travel restrictions.
- The Right to Vote – Only Singapore citizens can vote in Presidential and Parliamentary Elections and can stand for elections.
- Citizenship for Offspring – A Permanent Resident’s children, despite being born in Singapore, becomes only a PR. A Singapore Citizen’s children, despite being born anywhere in the world, will automatically become eligible for Singapore Citizenship.
- Housing – Citizens over 21 years old can buy or rent subsidized public housing from the HDB while PRs can only buy resale flats. Also, in upgrading of HDB flats Citizens pay a fraction of HDB upgrading costs while PR pay for the full cost. Moreover, Singapore citizens have no restrictions on buying landed property.
The purpose of this guide to help you understand the requirements, procedure, and timeline for applying for Singapore citizenship in an easy to understand manner.
Step 1: Review Eligibility
The following categories of people are eligible to apply for Singapore Citizenship:
- Person who is at least 21 years of age and has been a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) for at least 2 to 6 years prior to the date of application.
- Spouse of Singapore Citizen with a minimum of 2-year PR and married for at least 2 years preceding the date of application.
- Child born outside Singapore whose parent is a Singapore citizen.
The primary focus of this guide is to provide citizenship application filing details for individuals in the first category above.
In addition to the above eligibility requirements, the following factors will play an important role in the outcome of your Singapore citizenship application:
- Track record of living in Singapore during your permanent residence time period
- Your good character and law abiding nature
- Your social and financial ‘investment’ into Singapore indicating your long-term intention to stay in Singapore
- Your ability to be an asset to Singapore and not a liability. In other words, your ability to generate income for you and your family (either as an employee or a business owner) and your overall financial strength
Step 2: Application and Supporting Documents Preparation
After evaluating your eligibility and concluding that you are qualified to apply for Singapore citizenship, download the necessary application forms as below:
You will need to complete the application form and prepare all the necessary supporting documents as indicated in the documents you downloaded above. Make sure you have a photocopy and the original for each of the documents. Normally, you will be required to prepare the following documents:
- Existing passport
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate; Divorce Certificate; Separation Deed
- PR card and PR certificate
- Educational certificates (high school and above)
- Death Certificate of ex-spouse, proof of child/children’s custody from previous marriage, if applicable
- Deed Poll or Religious Certificate for change of name, if any
- Foreign citizenship certificate
- A letter of employment from current employer
- Income tax notice of assessment for last 3 years
- Payslips for last 6 months and CPF contributions history for last 12 months, if employed
- Latest ACRA business profile and balance sheet/profit and loss account of your business in case you are a business owner
If your spouse and children are also permanent residents, you can file their citizenship application along with your application. In this case, you will be considered the sponsor of their application(s). The applications will be approved or rejected at the same time. Your spouse will require a similar set of documents as above. Your children will require passport, birth certificate, and PR certificate.
In addition to the supporting documents as required per the citizenship application, the following additional document can also be very helpful:
- Cover Letter. It’s good idea to include a cover letter along with the application that summarizes key points of your application (why you have decided to apply for Singapore citizenship, the roots you have established in Singapore, your financial strength, and other positive factors about your application)
- If you have purchased any properties in Singapore, include the proof in supporting documents
- If you have significant financial assets, include their evidence
Bottom line: your job is to convince the authorities that Singapore will benefit from granting you the citizenship status.
Step 3: Application Procedure
Once you have completed the citizenship application and the supporting documents are ready, you need to visit the ICA website and submit through these options:
- Submit online via e-SC (Electronic Singapore Citizenship Application). After submitting the s-SC application, you will have to select an appointment date.
- Complete a Singapore Citizenship Application form and attach all the supporting documents, then make an appointment online via ICA’s Electronic Appointment Booking System for a date to submit the application in person at ICA. you must follow this step in order to submit your application at ICA in person.
With effect from 1st June 2016, all applications must come with an appointment. The ICA will no longer entertain walk-in applications.
Note: A non-refundable processing fee of S$100 is payable upfront for every application submitted. If the application is successful, S$70 is payable for the Singapore Citizenship Certificate. New citizens who are above 15 years old must obtain a pink National Registration Identity Card at a fee of S$10.
Step 4: Application Outcome
It may take anywhere between 6 – 12 months to receive the outcome of your Singapore citizenship application filing. You will receive a letter via regular postal mail notifying you of the application outcome. Unfortunately, there is no online system in place at present where you can type-in your application number and check the status of your citizenship application online. However, you can call the ICA office and they will inform you the status of your application. Most of the time, you will hear “It’s under processing“. You will not be given any indication of how long it will take and the reality is that the junior staff person answering your phone call doesn’t know either.
Assuming your application is approved, the next step is oath taking as described below.
Step 5: Oath Taking and Becoming a Singapore Citizen
Once you have received the citizenship approval letter as above, you will need to visit ICA office to take the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty. The approval letter will list the appointment date and time for the oath taking event as well as the documents that you will need to bring with you for the event. Normally, the following documents are required:
- Original and a photocopy of the Renunciation Letter of foreign citizenship. This means that you will have to visit the embassy of your current nationality and give up your current citizenship after you received the Singapore citizenship approval letter. Normally, the embassy will accept your sworn statement renouncing your citizenship and send it to concerned authorities back home for further processing. Depending on your country, the process of losing your current citizenship may take anywhere from 1 – 12 months at which point you will be issued a formal certificate that indicates the loss of nationality. However, the embassy will usually be able to issue a letter to you immediately stating that you have submitted the renunciation application to them. This letter is sufficient for the oath taking event at the ICA office. You are however required to submit to ICA office a copy of the Loss of Citizenship certificate once you have received it from the embassy.
- Your PR card i.e. blue identity card.
- Four passport size photos as per the specifications as indicated in the approval letter
- Any other documents that might be indicated in the approval letter
On the scheduled appointment day, you will need to visit the ICA office (6th floor) and bring along all the necessary documents as above. During this visit, the officer will
- Collect the documents from you
- Ask you to take the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty and sign some procedural paperwork
- Collect fee (S$70 via NETS) for issuance of citizenship certificate
- Issue you a temporary identity card
Once the meeting with the officer is over, you can apply for your Singapore passport on the spot by completing an application for the issuance of passport. The application is very simple and hardly takes 5 minutes to complete. The passport application is filed at the same ICA office but at a different floor. You will need to make a payment of S$70 per passport application via NETS. The passport will be mailed to you within 3-5 days by registered post.
The last step left in your pursuit of Singapore citizenship is the Citizenship Ceremony organized by the Group Representative Constituency (GRC).
Step 6: Citizenship Ceremony
Within 3-4 months of Oath Taking event as above, you will receive another letter asking you to attend a Citizenship Ceremony usually held at a local community centre nearest to your place of residence. The Citizenship Ceremony is organized to welcome new citizens. Attendance is compulsory except for infants, and aged or handicapped adults. This is a group event which means all new citizens residing in the local area will attend together. You will need to bring along the following documents:
- The letter you received
- Your temporary identity card given to you earlier
The event lasts about 2 hours and is generally attended by a state minister and the local MP. A typical Programme consists of:
- Speech by Guest-of-Honour
- Recitation of Pledge
- Singing of the National Anthem
- Presentation of Citizenship Certificates and Pink Identity Cards
- Group Photo Taking
- Buffet Reception
Congratulations! You are now a full-fledged citizen of Singapore.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my Singapore citizenship application is rejected?
Unfortunately, authorities won’t give you any details of why the application was rejected. Normally, your application could be rejected if authorities are not convinced with one or more of the following:
- Your financial well-being
- Your track of being a lawful individual
- Your intention to settle in Singapore for the long-haul
If your citizenship application is rejected, you can try the following:
- Try to meet with a senior ICA officer from the Citizenship section and seek for guidance. There is a chance the officer might give you a hint so you take care of it when re-applying.
- Review all documents you submitted and see if you can identify the weak points of your application.
- Wait for at least a year and re-apply
If I am granted a Singapore citizenship, can it be revoked by Singapore government later?
Yes, the government has the right to revoke your application. This can happen for example if you submitted false documents or facts in your application which later were discovered by authorities. Normally, this will happen in serious cases only such as failing to declare past convictions. You could end-up being a stateless person in such cases since you would have already lost your previous citizenship.
How do I renounce my Singapore citizenship?
For details, refer to Renouncing Singapore Citizenship guide.
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