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Singapore citizen and British citizen ?

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Singapore citizen and British citizen ?

Postby singapore eagle » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:27 pm

I am British. My wife is Singaporean. We have two daughters who were born here, now aged 3 and 5.

I've always thought of my children as Singaporean - they have Singapore birth certificates and Singapore passports. But certain recent events made me look into this a bit more.

Am I right to say that:

a) they are automatically British citizens as the children of a British citizen (I am a British citizen by birth, not descent)?
b) they will be able to get a British passport at any time in their life?

How does Singapore's prohibition on dual citizenship play into this?

Also - and I realise this may seem like a funny question - is there a piece of paper we can get that states that they are British citizens? I mean something other than a passport.

Thanks in advance to anyone who is able to offer help here.

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Postby bgd » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:35 pm

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... n-form-mn1

Some reading above which should explain everything.

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 2:49 pm

SE, my son was born in HK but qualifies for British citizenship based on my own so he can be Duel-Citizen something, you know already, is not allowed here.

The problem MAY come later, because this right, as far as I understand, lasts only one generation. If/when your kids have their own, the only way they then qualify for UK citizenship is to be born in the UK. As far as I understand if their kids are born overseas they will not qualify and instead would qualify possibly for where they are born.

This issue, though, is increasing the volume of kids that don't qualify for any passport as some countries do not offer citizenship to just 'any' kid born within its borders.

Either the rules will have to change or it's something you'll have to warn your kids about later.
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Postby singapore eagle » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 3:39 pm

bgd wrote:Some reading above which should explain everything.


Thanks. This is the document I was writing immediately before coming on here with my questions.

ScoobyDoes wrote:SE, my son was born in HK but qualifies for British citizenship based on my own so he can be Duel-Citizen something, you know already, is not allowed here.

The problem MAY come later, because this right, as far as I understand, lasts only one generation. If/when your kids have their own, the only way they then qualify for UK citizenship is to be born in the UK. As far as I understand if their kids are born overseas they will not qualify and instead would qualify possibly for where they are born.

This issue, though, is increasing the volume of kids that don't qualify for any passport as some countries do not offer citizenship to just 'any' kid born within its borders.

Either the rules will have to change or it's something you'll have to warn your kids about later.


I follow you. I hadn't really got around to thinking about my grandchildren. I'm confused enough my kids! You seem to be confirming that the UK government will see the girls as British, and the Singapore government as Singaporean, yet the Singapore government doesn't allow dual citizenship. Can anyone help me get my head around this apparent contradiction?

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Postby the lynx » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 4:00 pm

singapore eagle wrote:
bgd wrote:Some reading above which should explain everything.


Thanks. This is the document I was writing immediately before coming on here with my questions.

ScoobyDoes wrote:SE, my son was born in HK but qualifies for British citizenship based on my own so he can be Duel-Citizen something, you know already, is not allowed here.

The problem MAY come later, because this right, as far as I understand, lasts only one generation. If/when your kids have their own, the only way they then qualify for UK citizenship is to be born in the UK. As far as I understand if their kids are born overseas they will not qualify and instead would qualify possibly for where they are born.

This issue, though, is increasing the volume of kids that don't qualify for any passport as some countries do not offer citizenship to just 'any' kid born within its borders.

Either the rules will have to change or it's something you'll have to warn your kids about later.


I follow you. I hadn't really got around to thinking about my grandchildren. I'm confused enough my kids! You seem to be confirming that the UK government will see the girls as British, and the Singapore government as Singaporean, yet the Singapore government doesn't allow dual citizenship. Can anyone help me get my head around this apparent contradiction?


Simple, each country has its own rules. You will have to choose either British citizenship + another country which allows dual citizenship, or just Singapore alone.

If your child has British + Singapore from birth, s/he has until age of 21 to ultimately decide if s/he wants to renounce either one. If you have a son, it has a different implication.

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Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 4:50 pm

singapore eagle wrote:I follow you. I hadn't really got around to thinking about my grandchildren. I'm confused enough my kids! You seem to be confirming that the UK government will see the girls as British, and the Singapore government as Singaporean, yet the Singapore government doesn't allow dual citizenship. Can anyone help me get my head around this apparent contradiction?


The way I understand if it's same as Australia, your children might be "qualified" for British citizenship, but this does not happen until you fill in the form, pay the fees and get the citizenship certificate, which it doesn't sound like you have done. So they do not have dual citizenship from birth, only if you consciously take the action to apply for the British citizenship and it gets approved. As mentioned in the link -

Use this form to apply to register a child under 18 as a British citizen if they qualify through birth or adoption.

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Postby singapore eagle » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 5:27 pm

Beeroclock wrote:So they do not have dual citizenship from birth, only if you consciously take the action to apply for the British citizenship and it gets approved.


I don't think this is quite right. The guidance notes states:

"Children who have automatically acquired British citizenship do not need to be registered. There are two ways a child can automatically be a British citizen without needing to register. ...

2 British citizenship by descent

British citizenship may descend to one generation born abroad. So a child born abroad to a parent who is British otherwise than by descent will automatically be British by descent."

So it seems that my children are automatically British citizens.

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Postby singapore eagle » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 5:36 pm

the lynx wrote:If your child has British + Singapore from birth, s/he has until age of 21 to ultimately decide if s/he wants to renounce either one. If you have a son, it has a different implication.


Is that what really happens, though? Does the Singapore government enforce this?

I should imagine that there are thousands of kids in the sort of situation I am describing.

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Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 6:26 pm

singapore eagle wrote:
Beeroclock wrote:So they do not have dual citizenship from birth, only if you consciously take the action to apply for the British citizenship and it gets approved.


I don't think this is quite right. The guidance notes states:

"Children who have automatically acquired British citizenship do not need to be registered. There are two ways a child can automatically be a British citizen without needing to register. ...

2 British citizenship by descent

British citizenship may descend to one generation born abroad. So a child born abroad to a parent who is British otherwise than by descent will automatically be British by descent."

So it seems that my children are automatically British citizens.

ah okay, I stand corrected, it's a bit different to the Australian system. As I understood my kids were stateless at birth, and needed the action by us to get them Australian citizenship, and after that an Australian passport.

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Postby singapore eagle » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 9:07 pm

OK, I've researched this a bit more, so I'm going to have a go at answering my own questions.

A child born in Singapore to a Singaporean citizen and a British citizen (by birth) is automatically a Singapore citizen and a British citizen.

You don't have to register as a citizen in either case. You just are.

The UK is perfectly content for you to have dual citizenship. As a Singaporean, you have to pay attention to Article 135 of the Singapore Constitution, which states:

Deprivation of citizenship on exercise of rights of foreign nationals, etc.

135.—
(1) The Government may, by order, deprive a citizen of Singapore of his citizenship if the Government is satisfied that —
(a) he has, while of or over the age of 18 years, at any time after 6th April 1960 voluntarily claimed and exercised any rights (other than any rights in connection with the use of a passport) available to him under the law of any country outside Singapore being rights accorded exclusively to the citizens or nationals of that country;
(b) he has, while of or over the age of 18 years, at any time after 6th April 1960 applied to the authorities of a place outside Singapore for the issue or renewal of a passport or used a passport issued by such authorities as a travel document; or
(c) he is of or over the age of 18 years and has, whether before or after attaining the age of 18 years, been ordinarily resident outside Singapore for a continuous period of 10 years (including any period of residence outside Singapore before 2nd January 1986) and has not at any time —
(i) during that period or thereafter entered Singapore by virtue of a certificate of status or travel document issued by the competent authorities of Singapore; or
(ii) during that period been in the service of the Government or of an international organisation of which Singapore is a member or of such other body or organisation as the President may, by notification in the Gazette, designate.

(2) For the purposes of clause (1)(a), the exercise of a vote in any political election in a place outside Singapore shall be deemed to be the voluntary claim and exercise of a right available under the law of that place.

(3) Where the Government has made an order under this Article depriving a citizen of Singapore of his citizenship, he shall cease to be a citizen with effect from the date of the order.


(1)(b) and (1)(c) are pretty clear - in particular, don't get a British passport after the age of 18 or you risk being deprived of your Singaporean citizenship and being stuck as a Brit forever. However, I can imagine that (1)(a) is open to all sort of interpretation - I couldn't begin to tell you what rights I have exercised that are only available to a British citizen.

(This rather glosses over the point that the government has to actually make an order to deprive you of your Singapore citizenship. I wonder how many times it has actually done this?)

If I want something to prove that my Singaporean daughters with their Singaporean passports are British, I can have their passports stamped with a right of abode. I think I can also get a letter from the Home Office if I want to.

So, in a nutshell, dual citizenship *is* permitted in Singapore, and the likelihood is that my children will be both Singaporean and British for years to come. You just have to navigate around Article 135 as set out above.

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Postby PNGMK » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:01 pm

I believe, but have yet to research, that aussie citizens can have a similar stamp put into their Singgapore passports.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 22 Jul 2014 3:38 am

A couple of comments. Regardless of what it says about foreign passports, the application for a Singapore passport requires you to swear that

I / The child have/has have not/has not acquired the citizenship of another country.


Until the age of 21, this doesn't matter but after 21, you will have suppressed a material fact if a Singapore passport is applied for and you check this box in the negative.

In short, Singapore really wants you to give up other citizenships... and formally through written renunciation to a consular official... in order to keep Singapore citizenship.

***

The "stamp in the passport" you are referring to is the "Certificate of Entitlement" which requires a birth certificate clearly showing parents names, proof of parent citizenship, and marriage certificates if citizenship is obtained through father. https://www.gov.uk/right-of-abode/overview

***

Since I am a British Citizen by right of descent, I can summarize how the process works.

a) Any person born outside the UK to a British citizen who was born in the UK (or otherwise obtained citizenship other than by descent) is automatically a British Citizen.

b) The children of a British Citizen by descent will be entitled to British Citizenship by descent IF the British Citizen by descent lived in the UK for at least 3 years preceding the birth of the children.

Since I was a citizen by descent but did not live in the UK prior to the birth of my daughter, she could not become a British Citizen.

Therefore, as you have stated, your children are automatically British Citizens but for your grandchildren to become British Citizens, it would be necessary for your children to live in the UK for three years at some point before having kids. Send them to uni there?

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Tue, 22 Jul 2014 9:28 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
Therefore, as you have stated, your children are automatically British Citizens but for your grandchildren to become British Citizens, it would be necessary for your children to live in the UK for three years at some point before having kids. Send them to uni there?



That's one of the ideas I am playing about with at the moment. I think being at Uni should still qualify but it is difficult for the government to prove either way?

The whole 'stateless' issue is becoming a problem though it does depend on where a child is born and whether laws of that country allow those born there automatic citizenship. A lot don't.
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Postby singapore eagle » Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:18 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:A couple of comments. Regardless of what it says about foreign passports, the application for a Singapore passport requires you to swear that

I / The child have/has have not/has not acquired the citizenship of another country.


Until the age of 21, this doesn't matter but after 21, you will have suppressed a material fact if a Singapore passport is applied for and you check this box in the negative.


Thanks Strong Eagle for a very helpful post.

I'm not sure about this, though. I would take 'acquire' to mean that you have done something to get a foreign citizenship (e.g. as set out in Article 134 of the Singapore Constitution) that you did not previously have. I'm not sure you have 'acquired' British citizenship if you were simply born British.

I'm also not sure what difference it makes if you are 21 or not?

(Of course, none of us are constitutional lawyers and we all know that the government here can do whatever it wants.)

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:55 pm

singapore eagle wrote: I would take 'acquire' to mean that you have done something to get a foreign citizenship (e.g. as set out in Article 134 of the Singapore Constitution) that you did not previously have. I'm not sure you have 'acquired' British citizenship if you were simply born British.


At least with US law, it is explicitly written as "Acquired" at birth; so the acquiring happens by virtue of being born, something you 'did'.

http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/ ... broad.html


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