The highlights of holding a Singapore passport are having a visa-free or visa on arrival to 189 countries and regions, as well as subsidy for education, health care, housing and employment. But as with any nation, becoming a resident of Singapore also has its disadvantages. Holding double citizenship is not permitted in Singapore, so you will have to renounce your initial citizenship.

Before you take a leap of faith in a land of promising opportunities, learn all the pros and cons that come with holding Singapore citizenship to determine if this is the best move for your current circumstances, goals and life priorities.

Pros of having Singapore citizenship

Travel privileges

If you are an avid traveller, a Singapore passport will allow you to freely travel to numerous countries in the world, as mentioned earlier. According to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, Singapore is ranked 6th as one of the most beneficial passports in the world. This makes holding Singapore citizenship highly favourable and attractive for personal and professional reasons.

Housing benefits

Citizens of Singapore can smoothly purchase landed properties while Permanent Residents (PR) need to seek approval from the Ministry of Law if they were to do the same. However, this is not the case for non-citizens as they are not eligible to take ownership of such spaces. Singapore citizens are also required to pay less than half of the total upgrading costs of the government’s enhancement programmes while Permanent Residents (PR) have to pay the full cost of enhancements.

Higher employment rates

Employers typically seek to hire citizens in order to avoid the complicated and lengthy process of applying for an EP or S pass for people from other countries. Once you have secured a citizenship status, you are permitted to work in Singapore without the hassle of renewing your work passes. As such, the employment rate for citizens is deemed more favourable in the country. Therefore, you will increase your chances of securing your ideal job in Singapore with citizenship. 

Accessible education

Singapore citizens enjoy substantially lower education costs compared to non-citizens, be it at a government, government-aided or independent school. It is also noteworthy that there is a government initiative known as the Edusave Scheme, which is intended to increase opportunities for children who are Singaporean citizens. The initiative includes (but is not limited to) children receiving an Edusave account that will grant them S$200 or S$240 on an annual basis and crediting students who thrive in educational or non-academic pursuits with a variety of financial aid and scholarships.

Cons of having Singapore citizenship

National service

As mentioned earlier, no dual citizenship is allowed and male citizens are required to serve the country by partaking in the National Service Programme. It is mandatory for all male citizens to sign up for the programme when they turn 16 and a half. Once they reach the age of 18, they will serve as full-time National Servicemen for a total of 2 years. Upon reaching the end of their full-time role, they have a responsibility to the National Service for a maximum of 40 days every year until they reach the age of 50 for officers and 40 for non-officers. The same applies to second-generation PRs.

CPF withdrawal limitations

A Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a compulsory social security savings scheme funded by contributions from employers and employees. The CPF is an essential social security system in Singapore that ensures your retirement, housing and healthcare needs are met. 

If your citizenship in the nation is rebuked, CPF savings will be withdrawn in a lump sum. This is applicable to PR holders as well. To avoid this, Singapore Permanent Residents may apply for Singapore citizenship from 2 years after the approval of the SPR. If you still face any difficulties, you are advised to contact the Migration Team for further assistance. 

It is costly to live in Singapore

This is arguably one of the biggest cons of moving to the Lion City as the cost of living in Singapore is not easy to sustain. From supermarket purchases to settling your bills, everything is costly. Singapore is ranked as one of the world’s most costly cities to live in. Before moving to Singapore, you need to be certain that you have what it takes to live a comfortable life here. You do not want to just survive in the country, you want to be able to thrive! 

International schools admission 

Although you will be given accessible education with Singapore citizenship, you are unfortunately not allowed to attend any international schools, unless you approach the Ministry of Education (MOE) to get the special dispensation. If your child has been studying in an international school before returning to Singapore and you wish to continue your child’s curricula, you may apply for admission to the Foreign System Schools (FSS) in Singapore. 

You will need to submit your application with all the supporting documents directly to the school or institution. And if the school accepts your application, they will forward your application to MOE. From there, MOE will evaluate your application and the whole process will take about two to four weeks from the date your application was received by MOE.

These are some of the common pros and cons of having citizenship in Singapore. It is always key to ensure that the pros significantly outweigh the cons before you commit to a long-term decision like this one. If you have any concerns you would like us to address, send in your immigration-related questions to us here.