SUMMARY OF CHANGES TO CITIZENSHIP LAWS
S/No. Before 15 May 2004 After 15 May 2004
1. Grant of citizenship by descent. Only children born
overseas to male Singaporeans can obtain citizenship by
born overseas to female Singaporeans have to acquire
citizenship by registration.
born overseas cannot qualify for citizenship by descent
if the father is a Singapore Citizen by descent.
born overseas to both male and female Singaporeans will
be eligible for citizenship by descent.
born overseas to a parent who is a Singapore Citizen by
descent will be allowed to obtain citizenship by descent
if the parent satisfies certain residency requirements.
to absence period.
permanent residents (PRs) need to meet a residential
requirement before they can qualify to be citizens. A
period of absence from Singapore of up to 6 months may
be treated as residence in Singapore.
A period of
absence from Singapore of up to 12 months may be treated
as residence in Singapore.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q1: What is the rationale for the changes?
A1: The Articles in the Constitution on the grant of
citizenship have remained unchanged since the 1960s.
However, the world today is very different compared to
then. Growing numbers of Singaporean men and women are
travelling overseas to work, study or pursue their
personal goals, and starting their families abroad. The
changes are made in recognition of the changing trends,
as well as the proposals considered by the Government
over the years, including those made by the Remaking
Q2: Will being a citizen by birth or registration, or in
the case of a citizen by descent who meets the residency
requirement, automatically entitle my child born
overseas to citizenship by descent?
A2: As is currently the case, parents wishing to pass on
citizenship by descent to their children will have to
register the child within a year of his or her birth at
a Singapore Mission overseas or with the Immigration
& Checkpoints Authority in Singapore and produce
proof that they are the legal parent(s) of the child.
Q3: I have already registered my child as a SC by
registration. After the new Constitution is passed, can
I change my child's status to SC by descent?
A3: The change in the Constitution will not be
retrospective. It will only apply to children born on or
after 15 May 2004. If the child is already a Singapore
Citizen by registration, his/her status will not be
changed to Singapore Citizen by descent when the changes
in the Constitution are effected.
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Press Release 14 May 2004