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How To Apply for Singapore Citizenship and Become a Citizen?

Author Nataliya DzharianiNataliya Dzhariani

7 min read
Foreigner's guide

Technically, there are very few requirements to apply for citizenship: you must be a Permanent Resident for at least 2 years, you must be employed and be at least 21 years old. Sounds easy, yet there are nuances.

How To Apply for Singapore Citizenship and Become a Citizen?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering all the visa applications to stay in Singapore longer as you build your business here. There are benefits that would help you in setting up a company in Singapore, or even growing your business here as a permanent resident or citizen. By the way, if you’re thinking of setting up a company here, we can help you with the paperwork. Otherwise, do read on.

In this article, we explain the process and the requirements for the journey from Permanent Resident to Singapore Passport holder.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Singapore Citizen?

Singapore Passport

The Henley Passport Index considers the Singapore passport the best in the world. It allows you to travel visa-free to 189 countries. Citizenship also means you can get subsidized real estate from the Housing & Development Board, pay a lower percentage of fees for education and healthcare, and benefit from the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a retirement and social security system.

What Affects My Chances To Become a Singapore Citizen?

There is no official list regarding what authorities look at when assessing your ICA citizenship application. Yet these are some of the factors widely believed in making a difference:

  • Having lived in Singapore for a long time. The more years you’ve spent in the country, the higher the chances that officials will see that you plan to stay permanently.
  • Having relatives in Singapore who are PRs or citizens.
  • Being an asset to the country’s development. Your education, background, salary level are all factors here. You can also add information on your other achievements, such as sports, arts, awards, etc.
  • Having done community work. Being active in charity, neighbourhood activities, or other proof of having an active role in forming the society will help.
  • Having no criminal record.
  • Your track record as a permanent resident
  • Your overall character and law-abiding nature
  • The social and financial investment, including your intention to pursue a long-term stay
  • Your overall financial strength

What Is the Process To Get A SG Citizenship?

There are 5 steps to apply for a Singapore citizenship, and 4 steps to take after you get approval of your citizenship.

Step 1: Check the Requirements to Become an SG Citizen

Requirements to Become SG Citizen
  • You have to be at least 21 years of age and have been a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) anywhere between 2 to 6 years prior to the application date.
  • If you are the spouse to a Singapore Citizen having a 2-year PR at the least and wedded for at least 2 years before the application date.
  • If you are a child born outside of Singapore, whose parent is a citizen.
  • If you are an aged parent of a citizen
  • If you have been a student in the country for at least 5 years.

Refer to the above section to check on the list of what would help you increase your chances of getting citizenship.

Step 2: Application and Supporting Documents Preparation

Once your basic application is reviewed, and you are qualified to apply. The next step here is to fill the application form and prepare all the necessary supporting documents. To get started with the process, do download and go through the following subsections:

  • Required documents
  • Application Form
  • Annex

You can then start preparing the necessary documents. When making the arrangements, you must ensure to have a photocopy and the original of the required documents.

Here are the documents that you need to file:

  • Current passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Certificate or Separation Deed (if applicable)
  • Permanent Residency Card
  • Educational qualifications and certificates, high school onwards
  • In case of divorce, you will need to submit proof of child/children’s custody from your previous marriage
  • In case of a name change, you shall need to submit a Deed Poll or a Religious Certificate
  • Foreign citizenship certificate
  • Letter of employment
  • Income tax notice of your assessment from the last 3 years
  • Last 6 months payslips and 12 months CPF contributions history, if employed
  • For business owners, the latest ACRA business profile, along with the profit and loss/balance sheet statement of your business

For those whose wife and children are also permanent residents, you can file the application for their citizenship along with yours. In such scenarios, you will be considered as their sponsor. All the applications will be rejected or approved at the same time. Your spouse will need to submit the same documents as above. As for your children, only the birth certificate, passport, and PR certificates shall be submitted.

Once the documents towards the application are submitted, the following additional documents can help with your application:

  • Cover letter. The concept of a cover letter is to provide a summary of your application. It should mention the key pointers such as the decision to apply, your financial ability, and other positive factors.
  • If you have invested in properties in Singapore, do submit the proof
  • If you have significant financial assets, do submit the evidence for the same

The end goal: Your job is to convince the authorities how the country shall benefit from granting you citizenship status.

Step 3: Submit Your Application Online

Arrange all the necessary documents and scan them. Translate them officially if required. It is recommended that you check with the embassy for translators.

  1. Using SingPass, login and submit your Singapore citizenship application online
  2. Once done, you are required to attend an interview with an ICA officer to confirm, in person, that the data and documents submitted are accurate and correct

Step 4: Attend an Interview

The Singapore citizenship interview shall entail another step in the formality of completion. You will be attending the same with an ICA officer. In the interview, you will need to confirm, in person, that the documents submitted are correct and accurate.

Step 5: Application Outcome - How Much Time Does It Take?

The ICA takes anywhere between 6 to 12 months in processing your application. However, in reality, the Singapore citizenship processing time is much longer.

The renouncement of your previous citizenship can take one or two months. However, this depends on the embassy. Once completed along with NRIC and passport application, your ceremony will be scheduled within the next 3 to 6 months.

Note that there is no online system that allows you to check the citizenship application status. You will get a letter through the postal mail notifying you about the outcome. Alternatively, you can call the ICA office to enquire about your application status.

After the Approval of the Application

Step 1: Complete the Singapore Citizen Journey (SCJ)

Complete the Singapore Citizen Journey (SCJ) to learn about Singapore and its culture. This educational program includes 4 modules, a half-day tour and a community session.

Step 2: Renounce Your Original Citizenship

Renounce your original citizenship. Singapore does not allow dual citizenship, so you will have to surrender your previous passport.

Step 3: Oath Taking and Register for Singapore Citizenship

Once You Receive The Approval Letter

Once you receive the citizen approval letter, you need to visit the ICA office for the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty. The appointment letter shall enlist the date and time for you to appear for the oath-taking event. Also, the letter will entail the documents that you need to bring along for the event. Typically, you should carry the following documents:

  • Original and photocopy of the Renunciation Letter.

The letter entails that you need to visit the embassy of your current nationality and give up your current nationality in exchange for Singaporean citizenship. Usually, the embassy accepts your sworn statement renouncing your citizenship. The embassy then sends it to the concerned authorities back home for further processing. Depending on your home country, the process of renouncing Singapore citizenship can take anywhere between 1 to 12 months. At this point, you shall receive a formal certificate indicating the loss of nationality. However, the embassy usually issues a letter to confirm your submission of the renunciation application. The letter is sufficient and acceptable to carry at the oath-taking event to the ICA office. You also need to submit to the ICA office a copy of the Loss of Citizenship certificate. This is once you have received the same from the embassy.

  • Your Permanent Residency Card that is the blue identity card
  • Four passport size photos according to the specifications mentioned in the approval letter
  • Any other pieces of document that are mentioned in the approval letter

On The Day Of Oath Taking

On the scheduled appointment day, you shall visit the ICA office and bring with you the necessary documents mentioned above. Upon your visit, the officer shall:

  • Collect the documents, including the renunciation letter offered by the embassy
  • Request you to take the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty, and even sign some procedural paperwork, if need be
  • Collect the fee payable, through NETS, for issuing the citizenship certificate, Singapore
  • Hand over to you a temporary identity card; this is proof that you are now a Singapore citizen

The next step is to file a complete application for NRIC and a Singaporean passport.

Step 4: Attend the Citizenship Ceremony

Singapore Citizenship Ceremony

Attend the citizenship ceremony to receive the passport and NRIC. The ceremony is considered as a celebration on completing your journey.

How Much Is It To Apply for Singapore Citizenship?

There are a few fees you need to pay to the ICA: S$100 for each application. Another S$80 is charged for the citizenship certificate and Singapore Identity Card when you are granted citizenship.

If you need advice on various work visa options to come to Singapore and set up a company here, our experienced company secretaries will be able to help you.

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