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Minor Children holding Singapore and India Passport

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Minor Children holding Singapore and India Passport

Postby Expat001 » Thu, 23 Sep 2010 1:15 pm

Hope I can get an answer for my worrying question.

Me, my wife and my 2 children (aged 11 and 8) were originally holding India passports and one year back we all took Singapore citizenship. Me and my wide renounced our Indian citizenship before getting SG passport. SG Immigration informed us that my 2 children need not renounce their Indian citizenship, they can hold both India and SG passports and when they reach the age of 21, they can decide which citizenship they want to choose, SG or India.

Me and my wife got our PIO(Person of Indian Origin) cards. We've also applied for OCI card, it's still under processing.

My children's India passport have old SG PR stamping. valid till Jan 2010, which means already expired.

We are planning to visit India in December. In India airport immigration, while entering into India, there may not be any problem, since my children have India passports.

But while returning to SG, if I show my children's India passports, India immigration will ask for SG visa or PR or any residential status. (I had this problem before once at Trichy airport, while returning to SG. I forgot to bring my younger son's old India passport which had the SG PR seal. The new India passport did not have anything abt SG residential status. So Immigration did not allow my son. After much deliberation, they asked me write a letter and allowed my son. That took around 2 hrs. But honestly the mistake was ours).

Now while returning to SG, if India immigration ask for SG visa or PR or any residential status, can I show my children's SG passports? Is there any violation of Indian laws? Will they allow my children to return to SG or they'll make big issues?

I've googled for any relevant info for this scenario, but could not find any.

Pl. help. Thanks in advance

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Postby Saint » Thu, 23 Sep 2010 1:25 pm

Just show Singapore passports when passing through India Immigration. Just make sure you are checking in are both Singapore and India you show the passport which you have booked the flight tickets under.

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Postby Expat001 » Thu, 23 Sep 2010 1:37 pm

Thanks Saint for the fast response.

Let me be more clear.

1. Leaving SG - Changi airport - My children show SG passport. No problem

2. Entering India - Trichy or Chennai airport - My children show India passport. They cannot show SG passport, if they show, immigration will ask for Visa or PIO or OCI, which they do not and need not have. I guess this also will not be a problem.

3. Returning from India to SG - Trichy or Chennai airport - If my children show SG passport, immigration will look for entry stamping, which is available only in their India passport. If my children show India passport, immigration will ask for SG residential status. To prove residence, the only evidence we have is SG passport. If I show that to immigration, they have 2 passport of my children. This is where my catch 22 comes. This is the problem point for which I seek any previous experience of fellow forummers.

4. Entering India - Changi airport - My children show SG passport. No problem

So, point 3 is my main concern.

Thanks

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Postby beppi » Fri, 24 Sep 2010 10:13 am

Just show both passports wherever you are asked.
Since your kids are legally double nationals, there is no reason not to!

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Postby Expat001 » Fri, 24 Sep 2010 11:03 am

Thanks Beppi.

From the Indian High Commission - Singapore website, I saw the below info for "Change Of Citizenship"

As and when an Indian national obtains a foreign nationality, he/she is not entitled to retain his/her Indian Passports and have to surrender their passports at the time of acquiring another nationality.

Submit your request for cancellation of your Indian citizenship, together with your passport and a copy of the letter from the Singapore authorities stating that you have been offered Singapore citizenship. Please bring the original letter from Immigration and Checkpoints Authority for verification. Minors acquiring Singapore Passports also have to cancel their Indian Citizenship.


So, the minor children also need to cancel their Indian citizenship, once they acquire foreign citizenship. But according to SG Immigration, they can keep both passports.

Very confused.

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Postby merichan » Fri, 24 Sep 2010 11:56 am

What is confusing?


Singapore allows dual citizenship for minors... so they don't have problem with kids holding 2 passports.

On their end, even if your kids have indian passports it's legal.



India on the other end doesn't allow dual citizenship even for kids. So on India's end... keeping your child indian nationality is NOT legal, since the kid also is a singapore citizen.


So either you renounce your kids indian nationality and all is legal

Or you keep the children indian passports and risk running into real trouble when you get through the border in India if they ask any question...

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Postby beppi » Fri, 24 Sep 2010 12:11 pm

Expat001 wrote:So, the minor children also need to cancel their Indian citizenship, once they acquire foreign citizenship. But according to SG Immigration, they can keep both passports.

Very confused.


Then, clearly your kids double nationality is illegal in India and you cannot show both passports there.

You always have to enter (and exit) a country you're citizen of with the passport of that country, even if you have others as well (this has something to do with consular responsibility). Therefore you have to show your kid's Indian passport when entering (and exiting) India.
But then, as you correctly noticed, they might on exiting ask for your kid's Singapore visa, which will be the start of major problems.

It shouldn't be surprising that doing illegal things might get you in trouble!

You might get around it by breaking yet more rules, but since suggesting this is probably against forum rules, I think you should consider coming clean and cancel your kid's Indian citizenship before the trip, as the law requires.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 24 Sep 2010 12:29 pm

Excellent advice beppi! :cool:

Regarding the requirement of entering the country with that country's passport......

If you were to enter India on your Singapore Passport while holding an Indian Passport (Enter countries as you please), if you were to get into trouble in India you would be treated as a Singaporean and not as an Indian which means you would be at the mercy of Indian law and Singapore could not do anything at all to help you due to diplomatic reasons. Additionally, in your case, if you tried to then flash your Indian credentials, you would be further breaking the laws of the country. Double whammy.

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Postby Expat001 » Fri, 24 Sep 2010 1:45 pm

Thanks all for the advices and suggestions.

Now I've to seriously think abt renouncing my kids Indian citizenship.

Honestly I don't want to break rule or law of land in both the countries.
Especially, India immigration is nowadays very sharp and tight abt rules.

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Postby rameshpvb » Tue, 16 Nov 2010 10:27 am

Hi,

I got the exact problem.

I just got citizenship approval for me, my wife and 2 kids.

One of my friend told that, we can get PR Re-entry permit renewal for children. Even child got the citizenship. Is that true?

How about your issue? You got any solution or you've canceled Indian citizenship for your children?



Expat001 wrote:Thanks all for the advices and suggestions.

Now I've to seriously think abt renouncing my kids Indian citizenship.

Honestly I don't want to break rule or law of land in both the countries.
Especially, India immigration is nowadays very sharp and tight abt rules.

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Postby Expat001 » Tue, 16 Nov 2010 10:49 am

Hi Ramesh,

One of my friend told that, we can get PR Re-entry permit renewal for children. Even child got the citizenship. Is that true?


Absolutely false. ICA made it clear to me that once your children got SG citizenship, they can hold India passport but no stamping will be done by them. Assuming that your children's passport have PR rentry stamping till 2011 or 2012, your children can hold India passport till that time, because when you go to India, your children can use India passport at India airport and SG passport at Changi. Since passport have re-entry permit, India airport will not say anything.

But if the re-entry permit has expired, when you return from India, India airport will ask for some proof to go to SG, visa or dependent pass or PR.
If you don't have any, they won't allow your child to board the flight. Once I experienced this. And you can never show SG passport to them as a proof of SG residence. According to Indian laws, they strictly mentioned that under no circumstances, any one including minor child can hold 2 passports. It's an offence under IPC. You can check at India MHA website or Singapore Indian consulate website.

I've enquired thru my and wife's circle of friends who were in the same boat as me. I've heard horror stories from 2 friends happened at Chennai airport. One child was not allowed to board the flight and asked to stay back at India and cancel India passport of the child. Another case, they were threatened with legal action and police was called.

After hearing these stories (and since my children's re-entry permits expired already), I've canceled India passport and applied for OCI card. That seems to be the best solution for me.

In the first place I failed to understand why SG ICA is advising that minors can keep India passport also. Since they are immigration experts, they should well know that Indian laws do not allow 2 passport. So, it doesnt make sense for ICA to advise, especially for India, to keep both passports.

This is my advice, you can make your decision to suit your circumstances.
Good luck.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 16 Nov 2010 11:35 am

Expat001 wrote:
In the first place I failed to understand why SG ICA is advising that minors can keep India passport also. Since they are immigration experts, they should well know that Indian laws do not allow 2 passport. So, it doesnt make sense for ICA to advise, especially for India, to keep both passports.


Singapore is perfectly correct in advising that minors can keep India passport also. Or Indonesian, or Aus or US. Singapore only gives related "Singapore Law" only. It is up to you to determine in your are breaking any laws in your other country. It's not against the law in Singapore and that's what they are telling you. It's not their responsibility to advise you about other country's laws. If you want advice on any and all country in one place, find an Immigration Lawyer.

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Postby rameshpvb » Tue, 16 Nov 2010 3:16 pm

Hi Expat001,

Thank you very much for clear explanation. Yes, the best way is to cancel the India passport

Just for some clarification:
Even I don't cancel my child's india passport, I can get the Singapore passport. So, my child can just use the Singapore passport and dont use the india passport . In future (i.e, before he gets 15 yrs) , if my child want to go back and stay in india, he can use the India passport. Is this possible?




Expat001 wrote:Hi Ramesh,

One of my friend told that, we can get PR Re-entry permit renewal for children. Even child got the citizenship. Is that true?


Absolutely false. ICA made it clear to me that once your children got SG citizenship, they can hold India passport but no stamping will be done by them. Assuming that your children's passport have PR rentry stamping till 2011 or 2012, your children can hold India passport till that time, because when you go to India, your children can use India passport at India airport and SG passport at Changi. Since passport have re-entry permit, India airport will not say anything.

But if the re-entry permit has expired, when you return from India, India airport will ask for some proof to go to SG, visa or dependent pass or PR.
If you don't have any, they won't allow your child to board the flight. Once I experienced this. And you can never show SG passport to them as a proof of SG residence. According to Indian laws, they strictly mentioned that under no circumstances, any one including minor child can hold 2 passports. It's an offence under IPC. You can check at India MHA website or Singapore Indian consulate website.

I've enquired thru my and wife's circle of friends who were in the same boat as me. I've heard horror stories from 2 friends happened at Chennai airport. One child was not allowed to board the flight and asked to stay back at India and cancel India passport of the child. Another case, they were threatened with legal action and police was called.

After hearing these stories (and since my children's re-entry permits expired already), I've canceled India passport and applied for OCI card. That seems to be the best solution for me.

In the first place I failed to understand why SG ICA is advising that minors can keep India passport also. Since they are immigration experts, they should well know that Indian laws do not allow 2 passport. So, it doesnt make sense for ICA to advise, especially for India, to keep both passports.

This is my advice, you can make your decision to suit your circumstances.
Good luck.

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Postby Expat001 » Sat, 27 Nov 2010 2:49 pm

Ramesh,

When you travel to India, You can use India passport to enter into the country. When you come out of India to Singapore, Immigration officers at India airport will check for any Singapore valid residential status (visa, dependent pass or PR). So, as long as your children have valid PR re-entry stamping in their India passport, no problem. Suppose if the PR expires in Dec 2011, till that time you can use India passport to go in and out of India. After PR expired, when you go to India and come out, airport immigration will not allow you board the flight, because you have no valid Singapore residential status - PR expired, no visa, no DP. And you cannot show SG passport to the immigration. If you show that, you are in trouble, because you violated Indian law.

That's the tricky situation.

Coming back to your question:

1. During India travel, Your children's India passport will be useful till the PR stamping is valid.

2. Any other countries, Your children can use India or SG passport (for both it should be valid, within expiry date) depending upon which passport details you used for applying that country visa.

In future (i.e, before he gets 15 yrs) , if my child want to go back and stay in india, he can use the India passport. Is this possible?


Not possible. Because, when your child passport expire, you need to renew it. You need to fill up a form with an undertaking that the child do not have any other country passport and submit to embassy. If you do that you are violating both India and SG laws by giving a false declaration.
If you do not renew, passport become invalid.

Even within the validity period of India passport, if the PR stamping expired, you'll face problem when you return from India.

In a nutshell, your children's India passport is useful to travel to India as long as the PR stamping is valid and passport is valid. If any one of this expires, it's not useful while traveling to India.
If the passport is valid, you can use it travel to other countries. I guess Child passport is valid 5 or 10 yrs only.

I am talking about the legally correct steps. There may be some loopholes and cross paths, which I am not aware.

Hope this info helps.

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Pls help...urgent reply needed

Postby mura » Fri, 21 Jan 2011 1:16 pm

Hi Expat001,

Now I am exactly in the same situation as yours. I have been told by singapore immigration NOT TO CANCEL INDIAN PASSPORT OF MY KIDS. But online information tells me to cancel their passports. I am in a fix now.

Pls help me to share information on what you did at the earliest, so that it will be helpful.

Thanks in advance.


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