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Conflicting Citizenship Laws

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JustMum
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Conflicting Citizenship Laws

Postby JustMum » Thu, 11 Oct 2007 2:00 pm

Hi,

Indonesian Citizenship Law of 2006 allows dual citizenship only until 18 years of age. If my son decides to adopt Indonesian citizenship at age 18, he will under Indonesian law be required to renounce his Singapore citizenship and surrender all his Singapore documents to the Indonesian government for return to the Singapore government.

Singapore does not allow renunciation of Singapore citizenship until 21yo. The provisions of the citizenship laws of Indonesia & Singapore are therefore in conflict. Which law takes precedence and what happens in cases like this?

Does anyone know the correct Singapore government authority to write to in the event of conflicting citizenship laws of 2 countries?

I am another parent facing the usual headaches of having a male child of dual citizenship, trying to navigate the myriad of rules & regulations and being informed of all options available to my son.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 11 Oct 2007 6:17 pm

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority:

http://app.ica.gov.sg/feedback/feedback.asp

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 11 Oct 2007 6:30 pm

JustMum,

Hate to tell you this but most countries have conflicting immigration laws. No country is beholden to another country's laws. If they were, there wouldn't be any need for these threads would they?

Singapore, frankly speaking, doesn't give a rat's butt about the immigration laws of Indonesia or any other country for that matter. Why should they? You should read the US Embassy's Singapore website to see what the US government has to say. Your son is on his own if he avoids NS. As a sovereign nation they don't have to be beholden to any other country, especially Indonesia.

Singapore's laws pertain to every male citizen. Period. If the choice you want to make for him has him avoiding NS, then just be aware that you will possibly limit his choices down the road as he will never be able to reside in Singapore nor be employed in Singapore regardless of the amount of money the family may have (unless he does his NS).

Which law takes precedence? The laws of the country you are physically present in. If your son evades NS and later comes into Singapore the laws of Singapore will apply and they will apprehend him on the spot if caught. They cannot go to Indonesia to get him, but if he enters Singapore he is fair game. So, rather than thinking how to avoid NS, you would be better placed thinking about his long term prospects of being in Indonesia.

I would question why you want to write to the Singapore Government. Their laws have been in effect since 1979. You are saying the Indonesian law was rewritten in 2006. As theirs is the newer law, I would suggest you write to them. Good luck.

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Postby DimWit Kid » Thu, 11 Oct 2007 11:17 pm

sms

I would say your conjecture is probably justified sms, that this is a case of "avoiding" NS. But to be fair to justmum, I think without knowing what justmum's citizenship (and for that mother her husband's), the whole story, it's not really clear if that's the case. What it seems to me is that she *thinks* her son currently have dual citizenship. I don't know how that's possible, given that Singapore has never allowed dual citizenship since her son hasn't even been born (or has it? if the son's born singaporean, will he be able to take other citizenship without renouncing Singapore citizenship, if the other country allows dual citizenship?).

Frankly I agree with your sentiment about NS avoidance. I'll never attempt to do that for mine - but what you say about Singapore government is not beholden to any other country's law, is also true about the Indonesian government. I don't think writing to Indonesian government is going to be more effective, irrespective of when the law was written. I understand why that law was written by Indonesian gov, and basically agree with their reasoning (doesn't mean it makes my life easier either though).

justmum,

If you're just concerned about getting your son to hold Indonesian passport, there are "Indonesian" way of having that.... if you live there you'd know. If you're thinking maybe some leniency would be extended to you on the basis of conflicting laws - well, I think writing to either gov about that will not help at all! If your son really wants to renounce his Singapore citizenship for whatever reason, the way to do it is to comply with Singapore law - do it when he's 21. What about Indonesian side? The way to deal with that is NOT writing to them. The way to do that is to get somebody who knows enough people in high places to give you "leniency" - in exchange...... I need not continue. But hint hint: bend the softer metal - not the one that is almost unbendable.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 12 Oct 2007 12:12 am

DimWit Kid wrote:If you're just concerned about getting your son to hold Indonesian passport, there are "Indonesian" way of having that.... if you live there you'd know.


You don't even have to live there to know. :P I worked there for 12 years. Anything can be done using the tried and true "local method" :wink: Matter of fact, there wouldn't be any oil wells there at all twernt for that.......

I know that Singapore is unbending and that's the only reason I suggested writing to the Indonesian government (I should have used my tongue-in-cheek pic there I guess).

Rereading her post it would seem that she already has a son with dual citizenship. Does Indonesia automatically grant citizenship to a child born overseas with one Indonesian parent? (like the US does? Doesn't matter which - can be husband or wife). If so then the child could have been born in Singapore and also registered the birth of a citizen abroad (this is what is done with US citizens. I've go two of 'em with dual citizenship. As their mom is Singaporean and there were born here they automatically get citizenship here and in the US - Which becomes interesting because they are citizens by birth of both countries. This is what could have happened with JustMom as well.
Last edited by sundaymorningstaple on Sat, 13 Oct 2007 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Conflicting Citizenship Laws

Postby JustMum » Sat, 13 Oct 2007 10:34 am

The Indonesian Citizenship Law was written in 1958 & has been amended several times, most recently in 2006. Dual citizenship is allowed by Singapore for children under the age of 21 (ICA confirmed this in a telephone consversation), and also by the Indonesian Citizenship Law of 2006. My son is S'porean by birth to a S'porean mother & Indonesian father. He left Singapore at 5 weeks of age & has been living & schooling in Indonesia ever since, visiting Singapore for about a week yearly to visit grandparents. He also has Indonesian citizenship as his father is Indonesian. Hence, dual-citizenship.

We're not opposed to him doing NS, but do not wish to jeopardise his Indonesian citizenship status either: The deadline fo his decision to adopt Indonesian citizenship runs concurrent with the S'porean age limit allowing renunciation, i.e. 21yo. Also, an Indonesian can lose his Indonesian citizenship by 'entering into foreign military service' (e.g. doing NS).

Sure, laws of different countries may conflict but that's what diplomacy / the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is for, since both are sovereign countries & some resolution should be reached in the event of conflicting provisions of their respective laws.

The issue is with citizenship, not with getting an Indonesian passport (which will, incidentally, require surrendering his Singapore passport, which is ok too - not sure how the Singapore government would take this, though). His loyalties currently obviously lie more with Indonesia as he's lived & schooled here since 5 weeks old & his father & younger brother are Indonesians. If he decides to adopt Indonesian citizenship, our concern is that S'porean law may jeopardise this in view of the conflicting provisions in the laws, hence the seeking of advice on the appropriate authorities to approach (have meanwhile already brought the issue to ICA & MoFA via email - waiting for replies).

I have also already been in extensive exchanges with Mindef - as experienced by many other parents of your forum in similar situations, Mindef doggedly deems that my son has received the "benefits of Singapore citizenship" (simpy by virtue of holding a Singapore passport, in this case, no other apparent 'socio-economic benefits') & will not grant postponement of NS till 21yo; no use continuing to bang heads against that wall.

Basically, just wondering if any of your forum members have any anecdotal evidence or advice to offer if a similar issue has ever been encountered.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 13 Oct 2007 2:26 pm

JUstMon,

You have still not indicated how old your son is. This is apparently the primary hurdle that I can see. As you should have been aware of, until recently, you had up till a child was 11 (now apparently 13) to submit a letter of intention to the Singapore Government that you son will be submitting his renunciation of citizenship application upon reaching 21 years of age. Had that been done timely (Herein lies the problem with most parents in this predicament) then all they would have had to do is to register the son with the CMPA at 17½ years of age. They would then give him a deferment until he is 21. Provided he renounces his citizenship as the letter of intention originally stated, he is okay. Otherwise, he will be subject to NS. It's pretty straightforward provided the parents had looked into the laws when the child was young. Especially if one parent was a Singaporean and the child was born in Singapore.

It does look like my hypothesis was correct in as much as you are a Singaporean mother and an Indonesian Husband. (Much like my own case but I'm American). The only difference is in my case, my son has no real worries about losing his US citizenship UNLESS he serves his NS as a officer. If only an enlisted man no problem. You do have a bit of a problem if you did not do your due diligence as a parent prior to your son becoming 11 or 13. I wish you good luck as I feel you are going to need it.

It you do get it resolved though, you could do a lot of other people a good turn by getting back to this site and letting us know how so that others may benefit.

sms
Last edited by sundaymorningstaple on Sun, 14 Oct 2007 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Deferment

Postby JustMum » Sun, 14 Oct 2007 9:01 am

sms,

Where exactly (law/provision) does it state that
you had up till a child was 11 ... to submit a letter of intention to the Singapore Government that you son will be submitting his renunciation of citizenship application upon reaching 21 years of age. Had that been done timely (Herein lies the problem with most parents in this predicament) then all they would have had to do is to register the son with the CMPA at 17½ years of age. They would then give him a deferment until he is 21. Provided he renounces his citizenship as the letter of intention originally stated, he is okay. Otherwise, he will be subject to NS.
? I have looked at the Enlistment Act & Citizenship Law but did not see the provision.

My son is now 13yo but I have been asking (ICA & Mindef) about this since he was 10yo, and they have always stood by the position that no deferment can be granted if he is deemed to have received socio-economic benefits of S'porean citizenship. No exceptions were ever mentioned. I have written to Mindef & appealed their decision citing reasons - no go. So perhaps it is (since at least 3yrs ago) not as straightforward as you state.

Will certainly keep everyone informed of developments.

JustMum

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 14 Oct 2007 12:40 pm

I would think the letter of intent should be sent to both the MFA AND CMPA. I think that the Sing Gov't deliberately took the following information off the new website because the gov't probably doesn't want to be forthcoming about "how to get out of Singapore" which is understandable from their perspective. Anyway, I give you the following old link and two other links.

http://www.mfa.gov.sg/consular/faqs/faq_citizenship2.htm (This link no longer works as the "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" site has been revamped recently)

Since 5 Mar 79, the Government has been empowered under Article 128(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore to withhold registering a declaration of renunciation by a person who is subject to the Enlistment Act unless he has:
- discharged his liability for full-time NS;
- rendered at least 3 years of Operationally Ready National Service; or
- complied with other conditions laid down by the government.
For male citizens who left Singapore before the age of 11 and have not enjoyed significant socio-economic benefits in Singapore, i.e. have not applied for an NRIC, extended their Singapore passport validity beyond the age of 11 or studied in Singapore school beyond 11 years old, we will not object to their renunciation of Singapore citizenship if they do not wish to fulfil their NS obligations. However, they should still register for full-time NS with CMPB at the age of 17½ and apply for deferment from enlistment till the age of 21 (under Singapore law, a citizen could only renounce at the age of 21) pending their decision on their Singapore citizenship status. Those who subsequently renounce their citizenship at the age of 21 will not be required to serve NS. Those who retain their Singapore citizenship will be enlisted for NSF.

Generally, those who left Singapore after the age of 11 will be deemed to have enjoyed the socio-economic benefits of Singapore. They will not be allowed to renounce their Singapore citizenship without fulfilling NS obligations.
I believe the age requirement has been extended to 13 but I cannot confirm that.

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_t ... _1017.html

http://www.warrenssingapore.com/reports_sg.htm

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 14 Oct 2007 12:50 pm

I just read this part of your post again and realized that you indicated that your son ALREADY has a Singapore Passport. You definitely have as problem that is beyond the scope of this Forum. All bets are off.

JustMom wrote:The issue is with citizenship, not with getting an Indonesian passport (which will, incidentally, require surrendering his Singapore passport, which is ok too - not sure how the Singapore government would take this, though). His loyalties currently obviously lie more with Indonesia as he's lived & schooled here since 5 weeks old & his father & younger brother are Indonesians. If he decides to adopt Indonesian citizenship, our concern is that S'porean law may jeopardise this in view of the conflicting provisions in the laws, hence the seeking of advice on the appropriate authorities to approach (have meanwhile already brought the issue to ICA & MoFA via email - waiting for replies).

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Postby JustMum » Sun, 14 Oct 2007 7:30 pm

Yes, that was inevitable - we needed to get back to Indonesia (as I mentioned, we returned when my son was 5 weeks old). Also, remember that Indonesia did not even allow dual citizenship for children under 18yo until 2006 - so before that, it was not possible to pursue the renunciation issue as ICA was clear in that no renunciation of Singapore citizenship would be granted unless the child has an alternate citizenship, so that the child would not be left stateless. Anyway, this position has already been made clear by Mindef in our correspondences, so no surprise there.

So we're back to the issue of how conflicting provisions in the laws of the 2 countries are resolved. Will wait to see if / how MoFA responds.


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