Singapore ranks in top 3 of the best passports in the world and this makes its citizenship rights as one of the most attractive to many foreigners. While there are many benefits and perks that comes along with holding a citizen status in Singapore, there are also it’s own set of obligations. Citizens of Singapore are expected to comply with the country’s regulations and duties imposed.
The benefits are,
Flexibility of Visa
With the country’s strong bilateral ties, Singapore Passport holders face little travel restrictions across the world. One gets to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of traveling to different countries without having the need to apply for visa with their respective embassies, which may take up to weeks to approve for some.
A Singapore citizen gets to enjoy a larger amount of subsidy for medical and hospitalization bills in Public Hospitals, Polyclinics and National Centres compared to a PR and a foreigner. Furthermore, there are additional government subsidies to finance medical expenses of needy Singaporeans only.
Sponsorship of Long-Term Passes and Permanent Residency for Family members
A Singapore citizen is entitled to sponsor his/her direct family members – spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21, born within a legal marriage or legally adopted and aged parents to obtain a long-term staying visa or even a PR status. Whereas as a PR, you are only limited to sponsoring PRs for spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
Singaporean children are entitled to a government initiate called the Edusave Scheme. This scheme rewards children who does will in either their academic or non-academic activities and can also be used to help pay for the 2nd-Tier Miscellaneous Fee. Furthermore, Singapore Citizens pay the lowest fees for public education and are entitled to the largest amount of subsidies for private and tertiary education. The table below shows a comparison of the latest, maximum rates of school (including Miscellaneous Fees) payable on a monthly basis. For more information, you may visit: https://www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/international-students/general-info
(i) Central Provident Fund (CPF)
The Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme, in which a Singaporean employee or PR employee and their employer has to contribute a monthly minimum amount to the employee’s pension fund. The CPF scheme helps with the individual financially when it comes to home-ownership, health care, children’s education, family protection and asset growth through investments and higher interest rates given. CPF contributions can also be a form of tax relief, hence, resulting in a lower taxable income per year.
If one has been a PR for more than 2 years, the employees’ CPF contribution is basically the same as a Singapore Citizen.
For more information, you may visit: https://www.cpf.gov.sg/members
(i) Public Housings
Unlike Singapore PRs who are only entitled to purchase resale public housings (HDB) owned and managed by the Government after being a PR for at least 2 years, Singapore citizens have a further privilege, and that is to be eligible to own and rent apartments from the HDB once they are over the age of 21 years old. In addition, a Singapore citizen who is owning a property for the very first time is allowed to purchase the government’s Built-To-Order (BTO) flats, which are further subsidized by the Government. This is a privilege only for Singapore citizens.
For more information, you may check out: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/homepage
(ii) Taxes for Residential Properties
As a Singapore citizen, it is a lot easier to borrow various loans such as a housing loan should they want to buy property as compared to foreigners. While a Singapore PR or foreigner needs to pay a Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) for even their first property owned, this is not applicable for a Singapore citizen. Even for subsequent properties owned, the stamp duty payable for a citizen is considerably lesser as compared to being a PR or foreigner.
The Singapore Government has implemented various measures to encourage and help Singaporeans at each stage or aspect of their journey as parents and also to address the broader set of concerns that have been preventing Singaporeans from having larger families. These measures include:
- Making Child Birth More Affordable – Singapore citizens are able to use Medisave to pay for pre-delivery medical expenses (e.g. ultrasound scans) in addition to delivery expenses, for all their children.
- Enhanced Baby Bonus – A cash bonus of up to S$8,000 for the 1st 2 children and up to S$10,000 cash bonus for the 3rd and 4th child of a Singaporean family.
- Parenthood Tax Rebate and Working Mothers’ Child Relief – Provides a lump sum tax rebate of S$10,000 – S$20,000, depending on the birth order of the child. There will also be a tax relief of 5% - 25% of a working mother’s (of a Singaporean child) earned income, depending on the number of children in the family.
- Infant Care Subsidy – Parents of Singapore Citizen infants aged, 2-18 months and attending licensed infant or child care centers, will receive an infant-care subsidy of up to S$400 per month.
- Foreign Domestic Worker Levy Concession – Singaporean families with children aged 12 years and below will only pay a FDW Levy of S$250.
No Dual Nationality
Singapore does not allow dual citizenships. Hence, all new citizens are required to renounce their existing citizenship at their respective embassies before they can complete the formalities to become a Singapore citizen. Singaporean child(ren) may hold dual nationality till enlistment for NS (for males) or till 21 years old.
Under the Enlistment Act, all male Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) are required to serve the National Service (NS). NS-liable individuals are required to register for NS upon reaching 16.5 years old and will be scheduled for enlistment at the age of 18 years old, typically prior to enrolment for university studies, after completion of Junior College (JC) / Polytechnic / Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
Limitations for CPF Withdrawal
Singapore Citizens and PRs are allowed to withdraw the excess amount from their CPF account upon reaching the age of 55. The amount withdrawable depends on the balances in your respective CPF account. From age 65 onwards, you will receive a monthly pay out from your CPF Retirement Account (RA) till death. The monthly pay out depends on the amount of money left in your RA.
For more information on CPF contributions, accounts, withdrawals and pay out, refer to: https://www.cpf.gov.sg/Members