Singapore citizenship: Applying, requirements and benefits

Elle Kasser

If you’re a permanent resident in Singapore, you may be thinking about applying for Singapore citizenship. It can be hard to know where to start, but we’ll break down the process for you in our handy guide, so you’re equipped with the information you need.

We’ll also show you how to save money when sending money overseas with a free Wise multi-currency account, which could be of huge benefit.

But first, why might you want to apply for Singapore citizenship?

Simply put, citizenship means you can enjoy more affordable healthcare, education and housing, better employment opportunities, the right to vote and even visa free travel to many countries. Bear in mind though that male citizens are liable for National Service.

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Table of contents:

Who’s eligible for Singapore citizenship?

You’re eligible if you meet the following criteria¹:

  1. You’ve been a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) for at least 2 years and are over 21. (You can apply together with your spouse and any children under 21 born within the context of a legal marriage or legally adopted by you)
  2. You’ve been a PR for at least 2 years and married to a Singapore citizen for at least 2 years.
  3. You’re an unmarried child aged below 21, born within a legal marriage to or legally adopted by a Singapore citizen.
  4. You’re a PR studying in Singapore who’s been living there for over 3 years (one of which has been as a PR) and you’ve passed at least one national exam (i.e. PSLE, GCE ‘N’/‘O’/‘A’ levels), or are in the Integrated Programme (IP).
  5. You’re a PR who is an Aged Parent of a Singapore Citizen.

Can I have dual citizenship in Singapore and another country?

Holding dual citizenship isn’t allowed in Singapore, so you’ll need to be prepared to renounce citizenship of your home country. But you won’t have to do this until after your application for Singapore citizenship is approved.

What about renouncing Singapore citizenship? How to go about it

If you’ve acquired citizenship of another country, you may also renounce Singapore citizenship.

Fill in the Renunciation form (together with supporting documentation) and return your Singapore passport, ID card and citizenship certificate. You can submit your documents in person or by post to: Registry of Citizens, Citizen Services Centre, ICA Building, 10 Kallang Road, Level 6, Singapore 208718².

How to apply for Singapore citizenship - a step by step guide

Ready to go? Then just follow these steps to apply online:

  1. Prepare all the required documents in the list below.
  2. Access the e-Service from a desktop computer.
  3. Log in using your Singpass (if you have a sponsor, they should log in using their Singpass).
  4. Next, fill out the questionnaire.
  5. Once the questionnaire is complete it’ll generate your forms (you have 7 days to fill them in).
  6. When the forms are complete you can upload your documents.
  7. Remember to review all the information you’ve provided and make any changes, then read and sign the declaration and proceed to payment. (You can pay by Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card, American Express credit card, Internet Direct Debit or PayNow.)
  8. When you’ve paid you should see an acknowledgement page with your application reference number.
  9. You’re done! Now all you need to do is sit back and wait (if you want to check on the application status at any point you can log in to MyICA using your Singpass)

Documents needed for Singapore citizenship application

As applicable, prepare scanned copies of the following documents to support your application³:

  • Photos of yourself
  • Passport (or other travel documentation and foreign identification)
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce, annulment or death certificates from any previous marriage(s)
  • Custody papers from any previous marriage(s)
  • Educational certificates
  • Proof of employment: letter from employer, payslips and tax assessment/receipt
  • Business documentation: Business Registration Certificate, balance sheet, profit and loss statement
  • National service documents
  • Deed poll/religious certificate for change of name.

Make sure to check the full lists for further details of what you need.

Singapore citizenship processing time

The usual processing time is 6-12 months in most cases¹. (For children born overseas to Singapore citizen parents, it is usually within 2 months.) However, some applications may take longer.

Are there any fees involved?

You can expect to pay an upfront processing fee of S$100 for each application. Successful applicants will also need to pay S$70 for a Singapore Citizenship certificate and S$10 for a Singapore ID card upon registration.

Fees for overseas children born to Singapore citizen parents are different. The processing fee in this case is S$18 (including the Singapore Citizenship certificate) and successful applicants pay S$10 for a Singapore ID card¹.

Singapore citizenship application success rate

The outcome of your application will largely depend on the criteria above. For many applicants the minimum length of time you need to be a PA is 2 years, and in 2012 81% of successful applicants had stayed in Singapore for over 5 years⁴.

If you’re successful you’ll receive an Approval in Principle letter which will help you begin registration.

Save money sending money to and from Singapore with Wise

So, that’s all you need to know to get started. While you’re here, we’ll also help you save when you send money overseas. Transferring money can end up expensive due to unseen bank charges and unfavourable exchange rates.

Instead, open a free Wise multi-currency account and send money to and from Singapore for tiny, transparent fees at real exchange rates. What’s more, you can get a Wise multi-currency card which lets you make low-fee, contactless payments in more than 200 countries.

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So, to make applying for Singapore citizenship as straightforward as possible - first check if you need a sponsor and prepare your documentation in advance, before going on to complete the online application process. Best of luck!

Sources used for this article:

  1. Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) - Becoming a Singapore Citizen
  2. ICA - Renunciation of Singapore Citizenship
  3. ICA - Renunciation PDF form under ‘Documents required’
  4. Channel News Asia - More than 20,000 Singapore Citizenship applications approved in 2012

Sources checked on 29 March 2021

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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