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exemption from national service

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Revised check list for Exemption to Singapore NS

Postby PHK » Thu, 03 Sep 2009 2:37 pm

I am not an attorney, this is not legal advice, but if you would like to know-

Exemption from Singapore NS critical information (Revised):


1. Get you son's out of Singapore before their 11th birthday (age 13 is unconfirmed). These ages are recommended by the U.S. Embassy Singapore as a guide. MinDef advises there is no specific age, however, each young man is handled on a case-by-case basis and it is just safer to observe these ages so that your child is judged to have left Singapore at a young enough age.

a. Immediately document the departure date and new foreign domicile for each individual by mailing in the ICA change of address form for persons residing overseas: http://www.ica.gov.sg/data/resources/do ... orm_A1.pdf

2. On or before the 13th birthday send a registered letter, with postcard return receipt for yourself, to ICA and MinDef declaring intention to renounce child's citizenship at age 21. Include a photocopy of your child’s birth certificate, citizenship certificate (if applicable), proof of foreign school enrollment / attendance, proof of departure date from Singapore. The addresses for this notification are as follows:

Central Manpower Base
3 Depot Road, #02-07
Singapore 109680
Tel# +65-6373-3132

ICA Renunciation Unit
10 Kallang Road, #06-00
Singapore 208718
Tel# +65-6391-6316

3. Avoid the complications of applying for or retaining a Singapore Passport as a Dual Citizen. If your son’s need to physically enter, exit or live in Singapore then they can do so with their foreign passport too. Simply go to the ICA 6th floor Citizenship office with your child’s foreign passport and proof of Singapore citizenship and have them place a “Right of Entry”

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Postby Holyguacamole » Mon, 07 Sep 2009 8:48 pm

Hi PHK,

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I sense that you really want to help those of us in this NS quandry.

I hope you can give me some advice: My wife is a US citizen and Singapore PR. I am a Singapore citizen. My son was born in Singapore almost 15 years ago (he will be 15 in one week). When he was borned, I got him a Singapore Birth Certificate, which was a bad mistake. Since my wife is a US citizen, she registered him at the US Embassy here in Singapore  and got him a US passport. My son has been travelling with the US passport since day 1. He does not have a Singapore passport.

A week ago, the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoint Authority wrote to ask my son to pick up his IC upon reaching the age of 15.

I wrote to say that we are migrating and wanted to renounce his Singapore citizenship. The reply: He can only renounce at the age of 21, which we expected.

My son just started High School at the American School, which he has been attending for the past five years.We would prefer to go back to the US when he finishes High School. He will hit 18 before he graduates from High School.

What is your advice ?

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Postby PHK » Mon, 07 Sep 2009 9:44 pm

Hi Holyguacamole!

It is great that your Singapore born son has never held a Singapore Passport even though he is a citizen of Singapore.

However, if you take a look at the "Right of Entry" stamp in his U.S. Passport, it expires exactly the day before his 18th birthday. The ICA makes all "Right of Entry" stamps for male minor expire that way intentionally because after that you can not use your U.S. Passport to travel in or out of Singapore once a male child turns 18 years of age. Female minors though get the stamp all the way to their 21st birthday when you must take the pledge to be Singaporean or not for the age of majority. Hats off to you though for never having applied for a Singapore passport for him and the Singapore Pink IC which will really make things a sure fire commitment to do NS. I do not see how they can get his photograph or thumbprint involuntarily but in Singapore nothing would surprise me.

As far as being 15, MinDef says they process each boy on a case-by-case basis so you could send him out of Singapore now to go live with a relative but that gets to be painful as a parent too. I hear the Singapore American School produces the highest average SAT scores, with ivy league admissions in the U.S. too, of any International School abroad.

Sounds to me like you need some professional advice as your situation is beyond my level of qualification or lack of expertise. I will send you a PM with some information and you are also welcome to shop around too.

Be prepared for him to serve NS otherwise, being a deserter is not easy to live with for most of us.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 07 Sep 2009 10:49 pm

You may well have a problem because he is a Singapore Citizen who was born in Singapore and he cannot escape that fact, especially considering you were and still are a Singaporean Citizen yourself.

Hopefully, PHK's contacts can give you some light at the end of the tunnel but at the same time, I wouldn't hold out too much hope due to you being a Singaporean Citizen even as you write. Additionally, you would have needed to notify them around his 11th birthday to be on the safe side.

sms

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Postby Holyguacamole » Tue, 08 Sep 2009 9:16 am

Hi PHK,

Thanks for your advice and the information regarding the expiration of "right of entry" at the age of 18. Got your PM and will give your referral a call. Sorry, I could not PM you as I am a newbie.

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Attorney referral - Dual citizen's seeking Exemption to NS

Postby PHK » Thu, 10 Sep 2009 3:44 pm

Everybody,

I am no longer going to provide the lawyer referral that my wife's relative from Australia used for their son. This is in light of the fact that this attorney, just like all the other lawyers in Singapore, is not interested in truly taking NS cases because of the perception that little money can be made and that ultimately it is not winnable.

The suggestions that we have posted in this column is free of charge and is posted with the best of intentions. Follow it to the best of your ability, if you do get in trouble, and a fine is requested, just pay it in hopes of having the best chance of winning the exemption to NS. As recently experienced by another member, it is possible to have your son's renunciation accepted by ICA at age 21 and still be on the warrant of arrest list with MinDef. ICA and MidDef are separate government agencies, each with their own enforcement policies.

Frankly the cost of going to court, retaining an attorney, and trying to fight is much higher than a fine. Not to mention the "emotional toll" that all this will take from you and your family.

Some people try to resolve their dispute with MinDef in person when they visit Singapore and make the mistake of taking their minor age son's along to the meeting. No matter how young your kid is, they will separate both of you for individual interviews, video tape everything with loaded questions and then you are stuck. I personally know of this happening to somebody and then MinDef suggested to the father after the interview that he could now be charged with assisting a potential defaulter which in itself is also a Federal offense in Singapore. Given their Asian upbringing, their son will graduate high school and will now be back to serve NS shortly, as a foreign citizen no less who will not retain Singapore citizenship. In this case the parents sent the notification to renounce letter at age 11, all that was missed was obtaining the exit pass at age 13 within 3 months due to a sudden change in the rule. If handled properly, this could have been forgiven with a simple fine and they would have been able to proceed forward from there for deferment and exemption from NS hopefully.

Communicate with MinDef without emotion, in writing or by telephone preferably, do not ever expect them to have common sense, and you will have the best chance for the most reasonable outcome with your son's future. Follow the 9 steps I wrote above, learn from other people, and please let us know if we missed something.

Please keep your experiences coming and let us learn from each other. Thank you for your time.

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Postby taxico » Sun, 20 Sep 2009 11:40 am

i find it horribly fascinating that parents don't actually investigate the consequence of registering their male child's birth in singapore for multiple years, and only worry much later, often when it's too late...

and when the singapore government acts in accordance to the law and within her rights, these same parents whine and complain about how the system is unfair and why their child should not have to serve out his NS obligation.

this is especially when the same parents have known somewhere somehow someday, in the back of their minds, they'll have to face this problem. you know who you are, and you know it's true. no excuses should be made nor accepted.

in singapore the law is clear, the subject of NS is well-known, and singapore lawyers are not expensive to consult for any clarification. should the non-singaporean parent(s) not been faineant and prepared accordingly:

the boy could have been born in singapore, live, play and study here, then leave anytime he/his parents want to WITHOUT ever seeing the inside of a barrack OR be hassled by any government department.

if these parents have been deficient in planning, 24 months is a small price to pay considering no NSFs have to see a real frontline. the same parents should actually investigate the pros of having their boy serve NS and make the best of it.

it is not worth deserting; please don't ruin the kid's chance of returning to a truly wonderful little city (and an important air hub in asia) - both of which will have future consequence. de ja vu? i hope not.

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Postby PHK » Sun, 20 Sep 2009 1:03 pm

taxico,

As an American, a former Singapore PR, and as a world citizen "I firmly believe those that risk their lives to make the world a better place deserve the respect and need the prayers especially from those of us that take no such risk at all."

I brought my American born son, Singaporean wife, to Singapore on assignment for an oil company, Halliburton. I registered my son as a dual citizen after becoming fully aware of the law's knowing full well that we would leave Singapore at a young enough age for him not to serve NS.

We left Singapore when he was under 10 years old, I turned in my PR and my wife eventually became naturalized as an American citizen.

It is because of the excellent advice that many like me share on this forum that my son has complied with all laws, been granted deferment with "waiver of the standard bond" pending renunciation of his Singapore citizenship on his 21st birthday.

We visit Singapore annually without any hassle at the check point or MinDef and he does not have to legally serve too.

The one virtue of being an American is freedom of speech. Therefore, why is it necessary for you and some other members, including moderators, to repeatedly berate and abuse those parents who come to this forum to seek a helping hand on resolving a personal issue without the moral, pseudoscientific and political prejudices which undoubtedly influenced your personal feelings.

I considered this web site to be among the best, but with all this constant bashing of parents merely seeking advice, I am starting to think that I need to go to a more mature web site to provide the right path for others.

I am sure you and others may feel that you are pushing out somebody undesirable and that Singapore will be a better place because of it. Somehow, I just do not feel that way. Also, now you say to yourself, what to do "lah", I won!

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Postby taxico » Sun, 20 Sep 2009 1:49 pm

PHK wrote:The one virtue of being an American is freedom of speech. Therefore, why is it necessary for you and some other members, including moderators, to repeatedly berate and abuse those parents who come to this forum to seek a helping hand...

I considered this web site to be among the best, but with all this constant bashing of parents merely seeking advice, I am starting to think that I need to go to a more mature web site to provide the right path for others.


i applaud you for your invaluable input and for having done everything correctly for your child. tedious and troublesome no doubt, but such is the mark of a responsible parent.

apart from improper planning, what these parents are not doing is using the search function, AND desperately hoping someone will provide for them a quick way out of the hole they've clearly dug for themselves many years prior. for most, there is no way out except to desert.

i do not see how an unquoting post, with my personal opinion stating as much, should be construed otherwise. my response was not directed at anyone in particular, nor did i intend to push people out of singapore.

far from it if you re-read my last paragraph, and if you feel otherwise, i have no obligation nor inclination to change your mind. within confines/limits of libel and this public forum's rules, i shall feel free to make myself be heard.

the beauty of USA lies in its people being able to agree to disagree, and that they should be able to speak their minds. this privilege should be extended to citizens elsewhere in the world, on and offline; not just limited to americans.

you feel your way, so allow me to "feel mine" and let us agree... to disagree. however leaving simply because of my response would be a waste for you, your advice and others who may require your assistance.

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(as do others within here who "berate and abuse" lah!)

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Postby PHK » Sun, 20 Sep 2009 11:40 pm

taxico,

I am pleased you too are American for the following reason: Americanism has never been about race, color, creed, religion, place of birth or line of descent. While some may disagree, it has been about integrity, honesty and fair play.

With that having been said, if anyone was to read my previous postings they would clearly see that I am totally against any parent or individual advocating being an NS deserter.

True, there will be those that will use this forum to try to find a way out of not having done their homework years ago, or by accident or ignorance, and being classified as an NS deserter for the majority of them is something they absolutely deserve. I do not believe anything anyone so far has ever posted on this web site could ever truly assist such an individual.

Now Singapore does need every able bodied man it can get no doubt. What troubles me so much is that there are so many others, legitimate parents and son's similar to mine, who despite following a set of unwritten obscure rules have to fall for the dirty tricks of MinDef.

One would think that a responsible parent's who love their sons so much, not having been knowledgeable of what lengths MinDef will go, now walk into MinDef while on vacation only to be interviewed in a Police like setting to incriminate themselves, with loaded questions, when they had already followed the obscure rules of the road is nothing more a dirty trick.

Forget about what wrote earlier, I have been upset knowing that some poor American high school student who's parents followed the rules just like me are now going to have their one and only son alone in Singapore in NS while my son is going to be doing his freshman and sophomore year's in college.

Where is the integrity, honest and fair play in that? That is what this topic is about to me, I do not think this is the place to hammer in that it is wrong to be a NS deserter, that is a given fact. I will continue to stay with this forum for several more years to come and I hope you do the same. At least until my son is 21 years old and free from all this mess, brought about due to my desire to expose him to the full culture of his Asian roots.

Thank you for your time.

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Postby taxico » Mon, 21 Sep 2009 10:15 am

PHK wrote:...I am totally against any parent or individual advocating being an NS deserter.

...One would think that a responsible parent's who love their sons so much, not having been knowledgeable of what lengths MinDef will go, now walk into MinDef while on vacation only to be interviewed in a Police like setting to incriminate themselves, with loaded questions, when they had already followed the obscure rules of the road is nothing more a dirty trick.

...I have been upset knowing that some poor American high school student who's parents followed the rules just like me are now going to have their one and only son alone in Singapore in NS while my son is going to be doing his freshman and sophomore year's in college.

Where is the integrity, honest and fair play in that? That is what this topic is about to me...


fear not PHK, i never had the impression you were a deserter advocate! and i shall certainly try not to desert this forum! i'm curious, this high school kid... was he born in singapore or abroad?

also, have you looked through the other end of the kaleidoscope, and reasoned why mindef does what it does the way that it does? (with the whole narrow-minded asian mentality coming into play here)

i believe the law, with regards to NS, are fair and just - and having gone through the system myself, i don't believe it is as obscure and unfair as you made them out to be. (*i'm sure there are exceptions, but with good reason)

i arrived in singapore when i was 7 to go through the GEP schooling system here, and my mom went to great lengths to ensure i did not end up being conscripted. she plotted this whole giant scheme to ensure i did not have to "suffer" through the 2.5 years of abuse inside an army camp (back in the days, it was indeed suffering!).

eventually a barrister was consulted (in the past, everything govt-related was much much more murkier) and everything was planned for properly; i could have continued to live in singapore without issues, but chose to serve NS as part of my desire to become singaporean. i won't say i did it "willingly" but i accepted that it was the price that must be paid to be naturalized.

of course there were certain restrictions placed upon me, but i never experienced the harassment you mentioned when i was at mindef/immigration, probably because my dad had sought to advise me on what my options were along the way, and what i was likely to face (this was back in the 80s/90s).

i'm sure he went through great lengths to provide me such information and options as he never had to go through this peculiar route to gain citizenship (he and my mom are now singaporean retirees). perhaps times have changed and it is the government's policy to be less open and more obscure - but i highly doubt this is the case.

i served my NS with many other foreign born/based singaporeans and a few singapore born "foreigners". you can bet we've all swopped stories on how we ended up with crew cuts on an offshore military island getting yelled at by people. was it voluntary? did yuo have a choice? what will you do after NS? are you staying or leaving? ever coming back? could you not stand so close to me in the shower?

if there's something singapore's known for, it's procedure, and i know for sure there's a procedure laid down for everything as touchy as NS. there has to be a procedure for the child of a foreign national to AVOID NS (and a corresponding consequence)!

*: i strongly believe there has to be something that these kids' parents have not done, or not done right, that results in unfair treatment - you may not know about it in their recount. however i won't go as far to say that there aren't exceptions - but i will say that it can probably be remedied if everything is in order.

as an aside; getting in touch with a few of these army buddies of mine has been difficult - they're scattered all over the world. but the general consensus was; whether we wanted to or not, NS was a blast. i have never regretted the path i took, and never will.

and in future if my wife gives birth to a boy in singapore, i will make sure i afford him the opportunity to make an informed decision for himself.

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Postby PHK » Mon, 21 Sep 2009 11:57 am

taxico,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, not everybody has that kind of character, you were very lucky to have such parents.

I think if me and my wife were emotionally connected to Singapore, wanted to retire there, and explained everything to our son he too would sacrifice his 2 precious years in life too in Singapore NS.

The parents concerned that were recently bullied in an in-person interview at MinDef is as follows: Both parents were Indian passport holders with Singapore PR and their son was born in Singapore as a citizen. The parents never became Singaporeans themselves and the whole family immigrated to the U.S. while he was in kindergarten. Before their son turned 11 they were all U.S. Citizens.

This party never sent the letter indicating intention to renounce citizenship but they did send in a renunciation form to ICA, along with the parents renunciation, that was returned to them and they were advised to wait until he was 21. The kid is 15 now, has the prerequisite exit permit and with the day to apply for deferment being so close, they walked into MinDef personally while on vacation to resolve the matter.

This is where the story gets ugly. The 15 year old boy, a legal minor, was interviewed in a separate videoed room from the parents and the end result was the officer alluding to the father that he could now be charged as a parent too for assisting a NS deserter, if his son does not serve.

The parents tried to contact an attorney here in Singapore, the climate of willing lawyers has changed a bit, not all Americans all rich either, and thus made the decision to allow his son to serve when he graduated high school in the U.S.

Perhaps they have a case to fight this further, I do not see how they will ever benefit from their son serving as they have severed all ties, and while they have been so obedient there will some people out there that truly benefited from Singapore socio-economically that will not serve and be classified as an NS deserter.

I am not an emotional person in life, this whole unpleasant way MinDef has done things does make me emotional, and for that I feel bad.

I am pleased we have this forum to assist the legitimate cases at least.

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Postby taxico » Mon, 21 Sep 2009 12:58 pm

PHK wrote:I think if me and my wife were emotionally connected to Singapore, wanted to retire there, and explained everything to our son he too would sacrifice his 2 precious years in life too in Singapore NS.


at the time my parents had not yet decided if they would be retiring in singapore. the world was their oyster as they had done very well for themselves, and singapore was part of their success.

for me, it was an entirely different situation: as our tradition dictates, it made no difference to me whether or not my parents lived 20 minutes or 20 hours away.

however drawing close to NS, i'd spent almost a decade in singapore. i didn't get beat up as much as i would have if i were back in the states; all my good memories were here. i even learned to speak lousy mandarin here!

i knew i was a "stayer" before my parents made their decision. i harbor no ill-will towards anyone who wanted to leave because ultimately it's their choice. but if they wanted to leave simply because of NS... that is just irresponsible.

it makes no difference whether one was state dependent or not (there's no such thing in singapore anyway), for the longest time anyone who's ever planned to live in singapore would have known about the conscription of its citizens.

PHK wrote:The parents concerned that were recently bullied in an in-person interview at MinDef is as follows: Both parents were Indian passport holders with Singapore PR and their son was born in Singapore as a citizen. The parents never became Singaporeans themselves and the whole family immigrated to the U.S. while he was in kindergarten. Before their son turned 11 they were all U.S. Citizens.

This party never sent the letter indicating intention to renounce citizenship but they did send in a renunciation form to ICA, along with the parents renunciation, that was returned to them and they were advised to wait until he was 21. The kid is 15 now, has the prerequisite exit permit and with the day to apply for deferment being so close, they walked into MinDef personally while on vacation to resolve the matter.


okay. their son was born in singapore and his birth registered, making him a citizen (i presume). the parents were also singapore citizens (at some point) and were allowed into the US and eventually got naturalized as americans because of that.

they sought to do the same renunciation for their child but couldn't: he was advised to wait until he turned 21 before renouncing his citizenship. to the best of my recollection, this is normal because all singapore citizens can only renounce their citizenship at aged 21.

perhaps craftily planned that way by the government so as to ensure the majority of males would have to complete NS or be held liable for NS before they are well educated enough to obtain residency elsewhere. (who can blame the govt??)

HOWEVER, his parents were under no pressure to make him a singapore citizen. why would his parents not have made him an indian national when other options were available? i'd bet it was them hedging their bets at that point in time.

i presume the boy never returned to singapore since until recently for the said-interview? and that he returned using his american passport? if he does not have a singapore passport, why would he need an exit permit, having been away for the past 10 years?

how did the singapore government even track that poor boy down? there's plenty of gaps here. if he did not leave singapore for the US on his mom's passport (possibly singapore passport?), that means he has his own.

while they were in the states achieving their american dream, him, if not all 3, were under the protection of the republic of singapore. i know that is not much, but those are considered benefits.

PHK wrote:
This is where the story gets ugly. The 15 year old boy, a legal minor, was interviewed in a separate videoed room from the parents and the end result was the officer alluding to the father that he could now be charged as a parent too for assisting a NS deserter, if his son does not serve.


i cannot speak for how mindef does their interviews or how interviewers are trained in conducting these sessions.

if the case is indeed as such; the interview was videotaped, so his parents should do what everybody does in singapore: complain.

write a testy letter in, or better, get a lawyer to write a letter on their behalf. there is no way a parent can be charged if they have not yet "assist" their 15 year old minor in defaulting. let the mindef complain machine roll its way around.

in fact, since this boy is a singapore citizen, there will be some minister or MP that he will be able to approach to represent him and make sure that interviewer who has made such remarks get heavily censured, or at minimum, 10 strokes of the cane!

but let me make it quite clear: if that child's father had been rude and non-compliant during the interview, i can see why such threats may have been proffered.

there is no getting around it. the child is a singapore citizen. like many other situations listed on this forum, he's been deemed to have enjoyed "socio-economic benefits" and cannot renounce his citizenship until he's 21.


PHK wrote:The parents tried to contact an attorney here in Singapore, the climate of willing lawyers has changed a bit, not all Americans all rich either, and thus made the decision to allow his son to serve when he graduated high school in the U.S.


israel, taiwan, thailand (sorta), korea... the list goes on; singapore is not unique in this respect.

no attorney would have been able to ensure his child would get out of his NS liabilities. this is an impossible task. he's a singapore citizen and he has a duty to the state.

PHK wrote:Perhaps they have a case to fight this further, I do not see how they will ever benefit from their son serving as they have severed all ties, and while they have been so obedient there will some people out there that truly benefited from Singapore socio-economically that will not serve and be classified as an NS deserter.


unless his son has never returned to singapore shortly after his birth, your comments would not be fair. the boy would have already enjoyed medical benefits as a baby (vaccines, hospitals, etc).

you were annoyed at the system because of a recount of the interview by an indignant father, who may or may not have deserved what was allegedly said/construed as a threat.

i find the child's parent most irresponsible, and would dare say that while caught up in the situation (separate rooms, videotaped interviews) he had verbally insisted on precluding the possibility of his son being drafted for NS, among many other things.

this is not whether or not the family will benefit from having the boy serve NS. the national service law applies to everyone. they are no exception.

read my first post (which you commented on) for what i think about parents who have not thought things through, and it appears that they have merely used singapore as a stepping stone to the united states (plenty of people do that).

they deserve at most an apology from mindef and nothing more. you should not feel the least bit of anything for them, nor waste your time.

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Postby taxico » Mon, 21 Sep 2009 1:10 pm

in fact, i can't wait to see what that indian family's reaction will be if the draft system got reinstated and the kid gets sent to afghanistan.

for all we know, they may decide to go back to india or singapore or somewhere else, and (re)apply for citizenship!

now i'm annoyed!

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Postby PHK » Mon, 21 Sep 2009 3:02 pm

I am not here to judge anybody, just learn from others experiences and share my own knowledge too.

You may wish to know that if a child is born in Singapore then the law requires the kid to be registered as a Singapore Citizen if both parents hold Singapore PR or if one parent has Singapore Citizenship. You can not even refuse to take it that way on the birth certificate, it is mandated.

The prevailing law requires minor male Singapore citizens to obtain an exit permit within 3 months of exiting at age +13, even if they do not hold a Singapore passport like my son; have already exited Singapore years ago or have never entered Singapore within their lifetime. Hence, we just had a member of this forum with foreign passports no less who left Singapore years ago pay S$600 each for 2 son's who did not electronically apply for the infamous electronic exit permits within the 3 months of their 13th birthday. The law was put into effect after they left and they were unaware of it. They tried to find counsel but 1 attorney told them it was just cheaper to pay the fine as the best bet towards obtaining deferment and renunciation / exemption at age 21.

In fact a dual citizen minor, regardless of them being born in Singapore or abroad, can enter / exit Singapore and reside here all without ever having held a Singapore passport. The parents just have to take the foreign passport with proof of Singapore citizenship to ICA citizenship section on the 6th floor and they will provide a "Right of entry" stamp free of charge to facilitate checkpoint processing.


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