Kids Born Abroad to Singapore Women to Inherit Citizenship

Up until this month, Singaporean women living overseas could not pass citizenship rights onto their children born out-of-country – only men were given this privilege. Children of expatriate women were forced to apply for citizenship. Yet as more Singaporean men and women leave the country to work and study, the government is amending the constitution to make citizenship rights more gender-equitable. Although Singapore has not amended the citizenship clauses of its constitution since the 1960’s, the government is doing so now in order to remind citizens that it values every one of them, “regardless of gender.” – YaleGlobal.

Kids Born Abroad to Singapore Women to Inherit Citizenship

Joan Ho
Friday, May 14, 2004

CHILDREN born to Singaporean women overseas from May 15, 2004, will now be able to obtain Singaporean citizenship by descent.

As it stands now, only Singaporean men can pass on their citizenship to their children born overseas. Children born to Singaporean women abroad have to apply to be citizens.

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), in a statement released on Friday, said the law would now be gender neutral to reflect the trend that has seen growing numbers of Singaporean men and women travelling overseas to work, study or pursue their personal goals, and starting their families abroad.

It also noted that the Singapore's Constitution on the granting of citizenship had not been changed since the 1960s, and that the world and lifestyles have changed greatly since then.

The ICA also announced another change: Also from Saturday, May 15, 2004, a child born overseas to a Singapore citizen by descent will also be a Singapore citizen if his/her parent satisfies certain residency requirements.

The parent has to have stayed in Singapore for at least five years before the child's birth or at least two out of the five years immediately before the child's birth.

Absence period relaxed for PRs

Changes to the law will also favour permanent residents (PRs). In recognition of Singaporeans and PRs travelling on the job, PRs will now be allowed to be away from Singapore for 12 months, up from six.

The ICA in its statement reminded citizens that the Government valued every one of them, 'regardless of gender or the schemes under which he or she obtains citizenship'.

To find out more about citizenship application, please visit the ICA website.

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