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Dual Citizenship ??

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freemymind
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Dual Citizenship ??

Postby freemymind » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 2:52 am

Hello all, thank you for this helpful forum.

Both husband and myself are Singaporean with US born children, living in the US for the past 10 years. three children all US citizen, never registered in Sg. I'm considering applying for US citizenship. On the other hand, I do not wish to give up my Singapore citizenship for some personal reasons. My husband has dutifully completed his NS and Reservist obligations.

Our US Green Card will be expiring soon and I am trying to decide whether I should extend my Resident Alien status or apply for US Citizenship once and for all since I'm almost sure that I'll be here for a while, or at least till the children are older.

Can I hold two passports and travel with respective passport depending on the country I enter ? Is there a way that the Sg Govt will find out ? If they do, what happens ? I am at a crossroad and was hoping if someone who knows or have been in this situation could drop me an advise or two .

Thank you.

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Postby Bafana » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 3:56 am

In Australia typically adults cannot hold two passports (legally) not to say you can't manage to get both or there will be a period where you have both until on runs out after you turn adult. Not sure on the US/Singapore passport issue. Suggest you call the American Embassy in Singapore.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 6:48 am

The US does not care if you have multiple passports (it does not say you can but it also does not specifically say you cannot). Matter of fact, I believe SE has at least two and possibly 3.

So, while you are not breaking any US laws, you ARE breaking the law in Singapore as it is written that you are not allowed to have more than one citizenship if you are a Singaporean Citizen. This is especially so as you are not a naturalized citizen, but one by birth. You can only have Dual Citizenship if at least one parent is a non-Singaporean (at the time of birth) and the child may only carry dual citizenship up to the age of majority (21) at which time they would have to renounce one of the citizenships.

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Postby john_nyc_71 » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 9:30 am

I am not a lawyer, but I believe there isn't any Singapore law that says that it is illegal to hold another citizenship or passport. What the law (actually, the constitution of Singapore) does say is that if you acquire another citizenship, the government can take your Singapore citizenship away.

The Singapore government may never find out about your US citizenship (since the US government will not tell them you got naturalized). But when you renew your Singapore passport (or you register to vote overseas, or you want to register your children as Singapore citizens), you have to declare that you have not acquired the citizenship of another country. Of course, you can choose to lie, and the Singapore government may never find out - but that puts you in murky waters since you have now made a false declaration.

I've heard all sorts of rumours about the Singapore government renewing your Singapore passport on a case-by-case basis even if you declare truthfully that you have acquired another citizenship. I've also heard rumours of people contacting ICA saying that they have acquired another citizenship and they were told that there is no need to renounce Singapore citizenship. But those are just rumours and I have no way of telling if they are true.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 11:32 am

PASSPORTS ACT
(CHAPTER 220)

Division 2 — Offences


Falsifying Singapore passports, etc.
Making or giving false or misleading statements or information

39. —(1) If —

(a) a person makes a statement (whether orally, in writing or any other way) or gives information to another person;

(b) the statement or information —

(i) is false or misleading; or

(ii) omits any matter or thing without which the statement or information, as the case may be, is misleading;

(c) the person knows that the statement or information is as described in paragraph (b); and

(d) the statement is made or the information is given in, or in connection with —

(i) an application for a Singapore passport or a Singapore travel document (whether for that person or for another);

(ii) an application for an endorsement or extension of a Singapore passport or a Singapore travel document (whether for that person or for another); or

(iii) a report of the loss, theft or destruction of a Singapore passport or a Singapore travel document (whether or not belonging to that person),

the person shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.

APPLICATION FOR SINGAPORE BIOMETRIC PASSPORT

PART II – DECLARATION AND CONSENT
I declare that:
(a) The information given in this application is true and correct.
(b) I am/The child* is a citizen of Singapore.
(c) I/The child* have/have not/has/has not* acquired the citizenship of another country.
(d) # I am applying for a passport because my/my child’s current passport


The point is somewhat obscure with regards to citizenship but the laws on holding more than one country's passports is very clear. Otherwise there would not be such a heavy penalty for lying on a passport application. So while you might have never renounced Singapore Citizenship, you could NOT legally obtain or renew a Singapore Passport. Without which, if outside of Singapore, citizenship won't go very far unless you have the relevant travel document. If you are in Singapore you don't need it. But if you come into Singapore on another country's passport, you will be an overstayer if you stay beyond the limitations of your visa. Catch 22.

On this forum we try not to infer that it is okay to disregard the laws of the country.

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Postby freemymind » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 12:18 pm

The only reason for my question was to avoid the hassle of dealing with a green card renewal plus the renewal fee cost is almost as much as naturalization. After posting my question, I gave some deep thoughts into my situation again and concluded that I will continue to do it the right and legal way, ie renew green card for another 10 years and go from there. Who knows how the Singapore law regarding citizenship might change in the near future (wishful thinking).


I think individuals are motivated to naturalized because of the advantages of traveling with a US passports versus their home country say if they were originally from China, Malaysia, Vietnam or Taiwan. Actually Sg passport do accord some good travel benefits like visa free travel to China Taiwan etc , so in that aspect, it's not too big of an issue.


With that said, I have heard of cases of individuals holding and traveling with two passports, of which one is a Singapore passport. I was just curious if there was a known situation of individual which Sg Govt is aware but choose to ignore? I have heard of a case where an individual mistakenly handed the 'wrong' passport to the Sg custom during exit and they could not find the immigration card and this individual apologized and handed over her Sg passport. No issue was made and she passed through custom without incident thereafter. My only thought to this case was because individual isn't a younger MALE but an older female.

Anyone has other known or hearsay experiences ?

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Postby john_nyc_71 » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 12:45 pm

As I mentioned in my previous post - I have heard rumours, but no-one that I know personally. My layman's understanding is that there isn't any law in Singapore against holding two passports. There is, however, a law against making a false declaration when renewing your Singapore passport. If this is true, this would imply that you could legally hold both Singapore and US passports after naturalization until your current Singapore passport expires.

I've also heard rumours about people declaring that they have acquired another citizenship on the passport renewal form and their Singapore passport was renewed nonetheless. But again, no-one that I know personally.

There are also other motivations to naturalize. Most countries (including the US, the UK, Canada and Australia) will revoke your PR status if you have established residence elsewhere. So if you plans in the future include moving out of the US, you will have to naturalize to be able to return to the US.

In addition, the US imposes severe financial penalities on long-term Green Card holders who give up or lose their Green Cards, because the assumption is that you are doing so to avoid US taxes. (The same penalties apply to US citizens renouncing US citizenship.) If you are covered by this law, and you do not naturalize and do not want to pay the penalty, then you are stuck in the US for the rest of your life. Also, the US tax exemption that allows husbands and wives to inherit from each other tax-free applies only if both spouses are US citizens. Otherwise, you are subject to the usual estate tax (if you below the exemption, you may not care). This actually came up in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 2001. I remember reading in the papers about several American women married to British men working in the financial sector that were killed. They had to sell their houses to pay the taxes.

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Postby freemymind » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 1:50 pm

john_nyc, I agree with you on on the financial penalties . There is a long list of pros and cons against naturalization but the financial penalties are what I seriously have to ponder over. Here's what concerns me.

pros
-Fewer restrictions on estate taxes
-Full social security benefits if retiring abroad (green card holders only eligible for 50% benefits)
-Protection from deportation by contrast, green card holders can be deported anytime
-Shorter waiting times if applying for relatives abroad

cons
-Subject to U.S. taxes on worldwide income.
-Possible loss of citizenship of native country
-Required to perform jury duty

sigh..to be or not to be ?

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 1:58 pm

freemymind wrote:cons
-Subject to U.S. taxes on worldwide income.
-Possible loss of citizenship of native country
-Required to perform jury duty

sigh..to be or not to be ?


As a permanent resident you are also taxed on world wide income.

And... and interesting article on dual citizenship from the US perspective.

http://www.richw.org/dualcit/

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Postby john_nyc_71 » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 2:01 pm

As a green card holder, you are already subject to taxes on worldwide income.

I actually consider the Singapore passport to be a better travel document than the US passport in terms of visa free access. There are many countries that will not give US citizens visa free access in retaliation for the US not giving their citizens visa-free access. But Singapore is pretty liberal when it comes to giving visa-free access. In practice though, I find it pretty common to be harassed when crossing a border with a Singapore passport because few immigration officers have heard of Singapore. All they see is an Asian face an they immediately think "illegal immigrant from China". The most notorious is the airport at Munich. I have been harassed even when I was leaving Germany to return to the US.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 3:14 pm

SE, I saw that site a couple of years ago, around the time I started posting here ('04~05). Excellent perspectives and it would appear that he's updated the site since I first came across it. It were here that my memory was jogged about my son registering with the Selective Service System in addition to his registration with MINDEF here.

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Postby bogdang » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 3:56 pm

freemymind wrote:pros


One more pro: eligibility for government jobs (NASA, CIA or Postal Service for instance)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 4:15 pm

Also eligible for possible government grants as well.

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 5:30 pm

Bafana wrote:In Australia typically adults cannot hold two passports (legally) ...


Um, sorry? I hold two (AUS and an EU) and have had for years. Please define "typically".

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Postby john_nyc_71 » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 10:03 pm

sierra2469alpha wrote:
Bafana wrote:In Australia typically adults cannot hold two passports (legally) ...


Um, sorry? I hold two (AUS and an EU) and have had for years. Please define "typically".

Mr. P


Maybe he/she was referring to the old Australia nationality law which generally did not allow dual citizenship?


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