Becoming a Singapore citizen is a dream for many people. 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?
Henley Passport Index considers 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 Housing & Development Board, pay a lower percentage of fees for education and healthcare, and benefit from Central Provident Fund (CPF), a retirement and social security system.
What are the requirements to become a Singapore citizen?
Only Permanent Residents can apply for citizenship. If you are not a PR yet, read about the whole journey from leaving your home country to getting a Singapore passport. Or read about how to become a Permanent Resident.
Citizenship applications are processed by Immigrants and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) within the Ministry of Home Affairs. Technically, there are very few requirements for the main applicant:
- You must be a Permanent Resident for at least 2 years
- You must be employed
- You must be at least 21 years old. Anyone younger applies together with their parents.
You can also apply if you have been married to a citizen for at least 2 years, if you are an aged parent of a citizen, or if you are a student residing in Singapore for at least 3 years.
What affects my chances to become a Singapore citizen?
There is no official list regarding what authorities look at when assessing your application. Yet these are some of the factors widely believed to make a difference:
- Having lived in Singapore for a long time. The more years you’ve spent in the country, the higher the chances that official 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.
“I applied for Citizenship as soon as I could, 2 years after I got my PR, though I heard that the longer you waited, the higher your chances were. Authorities see it as proof that you intend to make Singapore your home. Since I’ve lived here for 7 years and had family around (my brother), I looked like someone who'd stay in Singapore forever.”
Chi Chan Che, lives and works in Singapore
What documents do I need to prepare?
You have to prepare the papers for yourself and your spouse whether he/she applies or not:
- Foreign ID and travel passports
- Birth certificates
- Marriage or divorce certificates
- Proof of education: diplomas, certificates, licences
- Proof of employment: letters from your employers, payslips, tax assessments
- National service documents
- Any other documents you expect to improve your chances of success.
Use the official check-list to make sure you have everything you need.
What is the process to get Singapore citizenship?
- Collect all the documents, have them scanned and officially translated if needed. It is best to check with your embassy for the recommended translators.
- Submit your application online using SingPass to login.
- Attend an interview with an ICA officer to confirm in person that the data you’ve submitted is true and correct.
If your application is approved, you will receive an Approval in Principle letter.
- 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.
- Renounce your original citizenship. Singapore does not allow dual citizenship, so you will have to surrender your previous passport.
- Register for Singapore citizenship. You will need to present the renunciation letter from your embassy and take the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty (ORAL). After that, you apply for NRIC and Singaporean passport.
- Attend the citizenship ceremony to receive the passport and NRIC and celebrate completing your journey.
How long does it take?
ICA usually processes applications within 6–12 months, but in reality, people wait a lot longer.
You have to complete the Singapore Citizen Journey (SCJ) within 2 months after receiving the Approval in Principal letter. Altogether, SCJ will probably take a couple of days.
Renouncing citizenship takes 1–2 months depending on your embassy. Once it’s completed and you’ve applied for the NRIC and passport, your ceremony will be scheduled within 3–6 months.
How much is it?
There are a few fees you need to pay to the ICA: S$100 for each application. When you are granted citizenship, another S$80 is charged for the citizenship certificate and Singapore Identity Card.