Previous FrontPage Edition 15 May 2004

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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 descent.

Children born overseas to female Singaporeans have to acquire citizenship by registration.

The child born overseas cannot qualify for citizenship by descent if the father is a Singapore Citizen by descent.

Children born overseas to both male and female Singaporeans will be eligible for citizenship by descent.

The child 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.

2. Amendment to absence period.

Singapore 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.


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 Singapore Committee.

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.


Source: Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Press Release 14 May 2004





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