Why apply for Singapore Citizenship?
Those who have been a permanent resident for a while, may consider this next step and apply for Singapore Citizenship. Having a PR already provides significant advantages, but having citizenship takes the benefits further.
Those benefits range from bigger subsidies for starting a family and paying almost nothing for healthcare and education, to better terms on purchasing property from the government. Another benefit is the Singapore passport, which gives visa free travel to most countries.
Singapore passport holders have very few travel restrictions around the world. A Singapore Passport was ranked as most ‘powerful passport’ and enjoys very liberal visa requirements. It enjoys visa-free travel to 190 countries.
Citizens are entitled to more benefits in buying property in Singapore. Only households with Singapore Citizens can:
- Buy a new subsidised flat from HDB
- Enjoy housing schemes and grants to finance their flat purchase
- Enjoy subsidies when their homes and neighbourhoods undergo various upgrading programmes
When HDB flats are upgraded by the Government, essential improvement works are fully paid by the Government, while for optional items, the Government subsidises up to 95%. PR households pay the full cost.
Housing Restrictions for PRs
Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) households can only buy non-subsidised resale flats from the open market, provided that the SPR buyers have had PR status for at least 3 years.
Unlike Singapore Citizens, SPR flat owners face restrictions in monetising their flat – they are not allowed to rent out their entire flat.
PRs are also not allowed to concurrently own an HDB flat and a private property in Singapore or overseas. If they wish to buy a private property in Singapore or overseas, they are only allowed to do so after satisfying the five-year Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) for their HDB flat. They must then sell their HDB flat within 6 months of buying the private property.
Citizens enjoy greater financial benefits since HDB offers several subsidies and grants to fund purchase of property. Find out more on the housing benefits that Singapore Citizens enjoy over other types of households:
Singapore’s housing schemes are skewed to benefit Singapore citizens. As a PR, you won’t be getting the same. Unless you happen to be marrying a Singapore citizen.
In buying a HDB resale flat, there are two extra obstacles you need to overcome. These are the quota under the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and the Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) Quota.
If there is at least 1 Singapore citizen or 1 Malaysian PR among buyers of a HDB resale flat, you only need to satisfy the EIP. But if the buyers are PRs not from Malaysia, then you must comply with both quotas.
Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty
It is an addition to the Buyer’s Stamp Duty imposed on all purchase of residential property. The Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty, or ABSD, is a sort of tax on the purchase of a residential property in Singapore that affects Singapore PRs and foreigners, or Singapore Citizens with more than 1 property.
Permanent Residents and Foreign Students pay higher school and university fees compared to Singapore Citizens. The amount has been rising over the years.
Commonly Asked Questions
- What’s my chances of approval?
To be eligible for Singapore Citizenship as a main applicant, you must first meet one of the following 3 minimum requirements:
- Permanent Resident for at least 2 years and at least 21 years old
- Married to a citizen for at least 2 years
- PR student residing in Singapore for at least 3 years and passed 1 national examination
Factors like economic contribution (salary, industry, professional achievement), social integration, endorsements from citizens, family ties (existing Citizen/PR), financial and property investments, in addition to others, are how candidates are assessed and a larger extent has to be showcased compared to a PR applicant.
- How long does it take to be approved?
From our experience, majority of our clients receive the outcome of their Citizenship applications between 12 – 24 months.
- When should I give up my existing Citizenship?
If your application is successful, you must complete the Singapore Citizenship Journey (SCJ) within 2 months. Once you have completed SCJ, you will then renounce your prior citizenship. You have to visit the embassy of your country. After renunciation of your citizenship, you will surrender your passport.
The duration for this depends on your respective embassy, but may take about 1-2 months. Only after your existing citizenship has been renounced then you can proceed with completing the formalities at the Immigration authorities (ICA).
- Do I need to sell my overseas properties?
This depends on the law and regulations of the country where your properties are in. We recommend that you speak to the property agent whom you purchased the property from to advise you on the country’s regulations. As a Singapore citizen, it is fine for you to own overseas properties. However, should you wish to purchase Singapore’s public housing, i.e., Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, you are not allowed to own residential properties overseas or locally. Should you already own a property overseas yet still wish to purchase a resale HDB flat, you are required to dispose the overseas property before or within 6 months from your resale HDB purchase.
- How much does it cost for your service
There are no 2 identical cases and every case is reviewed by the ICA in a holistic manner. Hence, we always offer clients the option of a complimentary consultation to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of each case before we present a quotation. Typically, our fees are quoted based on the following considerations:
- Complexity of Case (e.g., rejected several times / charged with a criminal offence / etc.)
- Size of Family (the larger the family nucleus, the more costly it will be due to the sheer volume of documentation and time required to work on the case)
- What are the steps to complete formalities? It can be tedious.
Fret not, as we are here to handhold you throughout your entire Citizenship journey, including the completion of formalities with the ICA upon approval of your Citizenship application. On In-Principle Approval (IPA) of your Citizenship application, we will ensure full guidance is provided until you collect your long-awaited red passport and pink NRIC!