Building a company abroad successfully is not always easy, but it is not impossible. If you have resided in Singapore for work or taken your entrepreneurial skills to the next level in your business, and are becoming a known brand, then you are on your way to a bright future. However, with visas and permits continuously running out and renewing them being a tedious task, you will need a good solution if you are hoping to stay on.
What you want is to apply for your Singapore citizenship so you can remain indefinitely in the country if you wish to continue with your operations. Citizenship in a developed country is an honour many people strive for, more so if they are welcomed by the community they have come to know and love. By ticking off the requirements stated by Singapore law, you can become a Singaporean citizen too. But how do you go about doing that?
What You Need to Know About Singapore Citizenship
As a foreign investor residing in Singapore, you can apply for permanent residence at the Singapore Economic Development Board under the Global Investor Programme.
If you have been a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) for 2-6 years and are over 21 years of age, then you can apply for your Singapore Citizenship Certificate. There are a lot of pros and cons of becoming a Singapore Citizenship that you may want to consider before you start the process.
To be successful in your application, you will need to consider a few additional factors. For example, have you been a law-abiding citizen with good character and nature? In addition, are you considered an asset and not a liability to Singapore, and can you financially support your family as a business owner or an employee?
You do need to keep in mind, and be well aware, that when you become a Singaporean citizen, you will have to renounce any other citizenship, as Singapore does not allow for dual citizenship.
The Application Process
There are two main methods of applying for citizenship:
- Online – This is done via e-SC (Electronic Singapore Citizenship Application). Once you have applied on the e-SC, you can select an appointment date for yourself.
- In-person – You can submit your application at ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority), but you will first have to make an appointment. This is because, as of June 2016, walk-in applications are no longer entertained. Therefore, you must attach your supporting documents to your Singapore Citizenship Application form and make an appointment online via ICA’s Electronic Appointment Booking System to book a date to submit in person.
Every application requires a non-refundable fee of S$100, and if successful, an additional cost of S$70 is payable for your Singapore Citizen Certificate. In addition, any new citizen over the age of 15 will need to further obtain a pink National Registration Identity Card for S$10.
Making a Strong Application for Singapore Citizenship
While you may be eligible based on the above-mentioned criteria, there is always something more you can do leading up to the actual application. There are simple processes you can implement or lifestyle changes you can make to strengthen your application as you near the 2-year residency mark.
If you have retired or are reaching the Singapore retirement age of 65, you will need to give evidence stating how you can maintain contributions to the economy. Age brings a degree of wisdom and wealth, while younger candidates offer youth and a long runway.
Education and Talent
Professional and academic proficiency is held in high regard as Singapore, a progressive nation, looks toward attracting well-educated and talented individuals. If you are uniquely skilled in arts or sports, you are already one step ahead in the game, and your personal talent will be assessed on how they can elevate the community and yourself.
As an expert in your field, you will have an advantage, but this should be evidenced in your supporting documentation.
Time of Residence
How long you have been in Singapore and how well you have integrated into the community will show in your application and is something the government looks for to ensure your familiarity with the locals and their culture.
Upon Your Success,
Unfortunately, there is no online system where you can track the progress of your application or the status or outcome. You will receive a letter via regular post from anywhere between 6-12 months. You may try to call the ICA office but are unlikely to find an answer from the operators or staff on site as they will not know nor have any way of tracking down your information.
When you do receive the letter, and it is good news, the next step is to take the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance, and Loyalty.
Taking the Oath
You will need to visit the ICA office (6th floor) on the day of your scheduled appointment, which will be stated in the approval letter, along with the required documents. Once you hand these over, you will take the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance, and Loyalty and sign the final paperwork. Paying S$70 for your citizenship certificate is done on the same day, and you will also be issued a temporary identity card.
It is possible, if you wish, to fill out and pay for your passport application at the ICA Building, but that will be on another floor. It takes up to 3-5 days and costs S$70, and when ready will be mailed to you.
The final step is the civil ceremony which takes place 3-4 months after the oath-taking appointment. This ceremony is mandatory, and all new citizens are to attend with their identity cards and invitation letter. It is usually attended by a local Member of Parliament; there will be speeches, pledges, and singing of the national anthem. If you wish to, you can celebrate the completion of the Singapore Citizen application process with a buffet and group photo taking.
Now, congratulations are in order!
A Round-up and Final Notes
There are many positives to the Singapore citizenship application process, with the main point being that your children can obtain citizenship, too, if you are successful. You will enjoy better education, housing, and employment opportunities and a significant degree of freedom to travel with a Singapore passport.
Once you are part of the economy and community, you can act on your right to vote, make changes for the better in your sector of employment, and even hold public office.
Citizenship may seem like a tedious process to endure, but the reward of being accepted by the country and community is well worth it, and what better place for that to happen than in Singapore? Also, to make the process seamless, you can engage an experienced and reputed immigration consultant to manage it for you. This would not only make the process simpler but increase your chances of getting citizenship as everything will be in order.