3 Norwegian brothers, born in Singapore left Singapore at the age of 5, 3 and 2 and leaved in Norway for 10 years before returning here, presumably to study for their O levels before leaving for Norway again. Mindef had apparently sent them enlistment letters, which were perpetually ignored as they had already decide to stay on in Norway to be citizens there. All 3 served in the Norwegian army with intention not to come back to Singapore (as citizens). In fact, 2 of them are already Norwegian army regulars while the 3rd is a postman. For them to come back to Singapore to serve in the SAF would be treason.

While I am no position to question Mindef’s decisions, what raised my eyebrows is this statement on how Singapore does not recognise dual citizenship and therefore the "able-bodied male Singapore citizens" would then have to serve National Service. It’s almost like… the government closes both eyes shut and shaking the head vigorously and saying "no, no, no, I don’t recognise your dual citizenship so no count!"

The exceptions to this (application for exemption from NS) applies only to those who emigrate at a very young age, which is not specified by Mindef; and that they should not have enjoyed the privilege of Singapore citizenship. Previous sources have found the magic number to be 11 from the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Consular page. However, the page has since been removed and no mention of the renunciation of the Singapore citizenship has been made.

Searching for any cached copy of that had been tedious, since most sources citing the magic number usually leads back to forums. However, I managed to find a remote link in the US Embassy website that had been updated on 15th May 2008, stating that:

… Singapore does not recognize dual nationality beyond the age of 21, and it strictly enforces universal national service (NS) for all male citizens and permanent residents. Male U.S. citizens who automatically acquired Singaporean citizenship and continue to reside in Singapore are liable for Singapore national service once they reach the age of 18. Travel abroad of Singaporean males may require Singapore Government approval as they approach national service age and may be restricted when they reach sixteen-and-a-half years of age. Under Singaporean law, an individual who acquires Singaporean citizenship at birth retains that status even after acquiring the citizenship of another country, including U.S. citizenship.

Males may renounce Singaporean citizenship only after having completed at least two years of national service. U.S. citizens are subject to this law. Dual nationals, Singapore Permanent Residents, and their parents should contact the Ministry of Defense in Singapore to determine if there will be a national service obligation. For additional information, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site for our dual nationality flyer, and contact the Ministry of Defense Central Manpower Base (tel. 65-6373-3127), or visit http://www.ns.sg/nsPortal/appmanager/nsp/default?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=nsPortal_NSREG_ABT&nsp_community=ENLIST.

National-service-liable males who migrated from Singapore before age 11 and have not enjoyed significant socio-economic benefits of citizenship (e.g., applied for a Singapore identity card or studied in Singapore beyond the age of 11) are allowed to renounce their Singapore citizenship, but not before they turn 21. Until then, they are required to register for national service with Central Manpower Base and apply for a deferment. After turning 21, they are then eligible to renounce their Singapore citizenship and, if successful will not be required to serve NS and may continue to make short social visits to Singapore.

Forums who have cited similar phrases can be found here, here and from a commenter here. It was certainly tough finding the sources but it was worth it. What completes the picture would be an official government document. Even then, they can still push it aside as being outdated.

Of course, since I am not affected by national service, it would probably not matter much to me. However, the part that troubles me is on how the Singapore government can choose not to accept the renunciation of citizenship (although the context here is for male citizens who have yet to serve their national service). Does it mean that, should I one day decide to take up a citizenship elsewhere and migrate, the Singapore government can choose not to let me renounce my citizenship, and more importantly, not allow me to withdraw my CPF balance? Since my last post about giving up citizenship in Singapore, many have emailed me to tell me that they have had relatives/friends whose CPF money is still stuck.

If this urban legend is anything to go by, then perhaps it is indeed scary on how we will not be able to move to a new place to start life all over. Loosely translated, I can use the CPF to buy houses in Singapore, but there’s no way I can use my CPF here to buy a house over there. In short, unless I am cash-loaded, it’s probably going to be tough for me to move over even after I have gained citizenship in a new country. This does give the phrase "starting a new life from scratch" a whole new meaning.

As for the 3 Norwegians, the mistake they have committed is perhaps to return to Singapore to do their O levels. Unless they entered on Norwegian passports (and either applying some special visa of sorts or going in and out of Singapore every 30 days or so), they would have deemed to have enjoyed socio-economic benefits of citizenship in Singapore should they have used their Singapore passport. There is, however, not enough information in the article on that, although I would presume that their Singapore passports (if any, in the first place) would have expired in the 10 years that they were overseas; unless of course, they renewed their Singapore passports (again, assuming that they still had it) in the Singapore Embassy in Norway; if this was even possible back then.

What’s pressing now though, is the clarification of the government’s stance on this. I figured that this information is hidden on purpose so as to prevent foreigners residing in Singapore to misuse the benefits of the Singapore citizenship; and it will remain as it is for as long as the Singapore government deemed it necessary. The Norwegians’ situation may not be the first, but it will definitely not be the last as more foreigners flood Singapore for work and settling down. What they perhaps do not want, is for their children to go through national service for a country that they are not sure of staying in the long run; since I already have friends (combination of 1 Singaporean parent and a non-Singapore parent) who are planning to ship their children out of Singapore before 11 years of age.

Just for the sake of completeness, the 3 brothers could have gotten Norwegian citizenship by birth, citing from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration:

Norwegian citizenship by birth

A child does not become a Norwegian citizen automatically, even if he/she is born in Norway. Different rules apply for the citizenship for children, depending on when the child was born.

Children born after August 31st 2006

According to the current law, a child with a Norwegian mother or father acquires Norwegian citizenship by birth. This applies no matter if the child is born in Norway or abroad, and no matter if the parents were married or not.

Children born before September 1st 2006

Children born before September 1st 2006, acquired Norwegian citizenship by birth if:

  • The mother was Norwegian
  • The father was Norwegian and the parents were married, or
  • The father was dead, but he was a Norwegian citizen and married with the mother of the child at the time he died.

Dual nationality

Whether a child whose father or mother is a foreign national also acquires his or her nationality at birth depends on the legislation of the country in question. Queries in this connection must be addressed to the relevant authorities of the country or its diplomatic mission (Embassy, High Commissioner,  Consulate General) in Norway or abroad.

Norwegian law accepts dual nationality where it is the consequence of a child’s acquisition at birth of its parent’s nationality. See also "Dual nationality"

Last updated: 11.06.2007
Published: 11.06.2007

This information, however, would not have been of much use since the Singapore government seems to tolerate dual citizenship before the person reaches the age of 21, at which, he or she would have to decide which country he or she would like to be a citizen of.

Inset:

NS regulations

WHO NEEDS TO DO NS

  • All able-bodied male Singapore citizens.
  • Those holding concurrent citizenship in Singapore and one other country, because Singapore does not recognise dual citizenship.

EXCEPTIONS

  • Those who emigrate at a very young age – the exact age is not specified by Mindef – with their families and have thus not enjoyed the privilege of Singapore citizenship. Such persons can apply to renounce their Singapore citizenship without serving NS.

PENALTIES FOR NOT SERVING NS

  • On conviction, NS defaulters are liable to be jailed up to three years and/or fined up to $10,000. The exact sentence will be determined by the courts.
  • Defaulters will also have to serve NS if they are still liable for it.

Article:

Give up citizenship? Brothers must do NS first Norwegian trio’s bids rejected.

Only those who haven’t enjoyed privileges of citizenship exempted, says Mindef

By Amelia Tan

THREE brothers, born to a Norwegian father and Singaporean mother, want to give up their Singapore citizenship.

But the Ministry of Defence has said no. Not until they do their national service.

The Bugge brothers – Thorbjoern, 33; Ingvar, 31; and Frode, 30 – left Singapore when each turned 18 and have tried and failed several times for over a decade to renounce their Singapore citizenships.

They want to renounce their citizenship so they will be free to visit their parents – Mr O.M. Bugge, 65, and his wife Margaret, 55 – who still live here.

They cannot return here because they have been classified as NS defaulters and risk arrest on arrival.

They were all born here and are considered Singapore citizens. But they also hold Norwegian citizenships, like their father.

They first left Singapore when they were five, three and two years old respectively, and lived in Norway for 10 years before returning here.

But each left Singapore after their O levels, and just before they could be called up for national service.

Mindef sent them NS enlistment letters, but in turn, each brother ignored the call-up. Instead, they enlisted in the Norwegian armed forces for a 19-month national service term.

All three decided to renounce their Singapore citizenship when they turned 21, but Mindef rejected their initial bids to do so.

They tried several more times over the years, writing to the ministry, then-prime minister Goh Chok Tong and the late former president Ong Teng Cheong to explain their case.

Their parents have also met staff from Mindef.

But all their attempts have failed.

When contacted, Mindef’s director of public affairs, Colonel Darius Lim, said: ‘Only persons who have emigrated at a very young age together with their families, and who have not enjoyed the privileges of Singapore citizenship, will be allowed to renounce their Singapore citizenships without serving national service.’

He said the three men are Singapore citizens and are required to fulfil their NS obligations. Their requests to renounce their Singapore citizenships can be considered only upon completion of full-time NS.

The brothers said they were disappointed by Mindef’s position.

When asked, they maintained that they did not leave Singapore to avoid NS. They preferred to be in Norway, they said, and their enlistment there showed they were not shirkers of NS, they said.

Mr Frode Bugge is a career soldier with the Norwegian army and has seen action in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Brother Thorbjoern is also a career soldier, while Ingvar is a postman.

For now, they will have to continue meeting their parents in Malaysia. Their mother spends six months in Norway each year.

Their father, a marine consultant, said he cannot afford to spend extended periods in Norway because his business is based in Singapore. He tries to visit his sons once a year.

He said: ‘My sons’ cases are about a choice of citizenship, and not a case of national service…They would like to get this matter cleared up and be able to travel to Singapore for a visit like any other Norwegian.’

He is hoping that the law will be changed.

‘My sons’ situations may seem unique now. But as more foreigners marry Singaporeans, there will be more of these cases,’ he added.

NS defaulters can be jailed up to three years and/or fined up to $10,000 if convicted.

ameltan@sph.com.sg

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapore/Story/STIStory_271584.html

Article extracted on 26th August 2008



Reader's Comments

  1. Richard Lewis | August 27th, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Regarding the story of the three Norwegians:

    My son, now 14.5 years old holds dual Singapore / British nationality. He was born in the UK, has lived all his life in the UK and has only spend a total of perhaps 4 weeks in Singapore in his who life on short trips with family.

    His application to delay NS pending renounciation of citizenship at age 21 has recently been turned down, and he has been advised to travel to Singapore without delay (and disrupt his schooling) so that his NS offences (he has no exit permit currently as we have only just become aware of the rule changes in 2006) may be corrected.

    This I think beats the Nowegian story for a strange decision.

    Regards
    Richard Lewis

  2. Uniquely Singapore | August 27th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Another uniquely Singaporean quality. Blame this state of affairs on Singaporeans who made a big hoo-ha when Melvyn Tan was fined when he returned to S’pore for a concert performance. Because of the protests from S’porean men who felt that a fine was too “cheap” for missing NS and reservists duty, Teo Chee Hean tightened up the rules and now no one gets disruption for NS unless they are Singapore govt scholars like PM’s son…. not even a 3 mth deferment to take an exam in SIM. My son left SG at 9 yrs. I made a mistake of extending his Singapore passport. He’s now taken NZ citizenship but is not allowed NS deferment to 21 because he extended his passport after age 10. He has no Singapore IC , not been to Singapore school. But what to do ? Let’s move on …..

  3. Mick | August 27th, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Singapore is but a small red dot vs the whole wide world. Nothing much will be missed if you don’t ever set foot here again.

  4. Capt. O.M.Bugge | August 31st, 2008 at 12:20 am

    I am the Father of these three Norwegians who are the subject of much of this tread and would like to set a few facts straight.

    They were born in Singapore in the middle of the “Two is Enough” or “Stop at two”-period (1975-78). As such they had to follow the Father’s citizenship and was included on my passport within weeks after birth to avoid being deported as “illegal aliens”, although the Singapore Constitution gave them the right to a Singapore Citizenship.

    As they got older they got their own Norwegian Passports, which had to be endorsed with a “Dependent Pass” to allow them to remain in Singapore. A letter from the Norwegian Embassy here confirms the facts.I was running my own small P/L company in Singapore at the time and held an Employment Pass.

    We left Singapore in 1980 and moved to Norway in order for the boys to learn how to be Norwegians. They arrived there at the tender age of 4 1/2, 3 and 2 years.
    None of them spoke a word of Norwegian but, thrown into a Kindergarten with all Norwegian kids, they quickly learnt. Within 6 months you could not hear the difference between them and their playmates, but we kept them speaking English at home.

    In 1990 we moved back to Singapore to give them a grounding in their other identity. They arrived here as Norwegian Citizen and received a Social Visit Pass in their Norwegian Passport, like any other visitor. This was renewed a few times as we applied for places in Government Schools for them. But that stranded as they were not Singapore Citizen and required Student Pass to be accepted. They actually lost a full year of schooling in the process.

    One day an Immigration Officer asked; “why do you apply for Student Pass for your sons, they are entitled to dual citizenship until 21, which give them the right to stay and study in Singapore until they are 21”
    A few minutes later they had a stamp in their Norwegian passport to the affect. Nothing said that they would expose themselves to NS liabilities, or be refused their right to choose.

    We managed to enrolled two in a private, but government sponsored school here. (Seventh-day Adventist School) The oldest studied for his O-levels as a private candidate.

    Now we made a big mistake. They were offered Pink ICs, which we accepted on the understanding that they would be able to choose which citizenship to hold and which to renounce at 21 per Singapore Constitution and Citizenship Laws. Little did we know that this would be interpreted as an acceptance of NS liability later.

    As the first son finished his O-levels, he left to further his study in Norway as a Photo Journalist.
    While he was there the first letter from MINDEF rolled in. I replied that he was a Norwegian Citizen and was studying in Norway and to please defer him from NS registration until he returned to Singapore, which was granted.

    At the time it was not clear to me which citizenship he, or his brothers, would chose at 21 as they had been groomed to make up their own mind when the time came.

    On completion of the one-year course he enrolled in the Norwegian Army to do his National Service. Shortly after we were informed that he had volunteered for service in the Norwegian peace keeping contingent in Bosnia. He has later served in Lebanon, Kosovo and Afghanistan and is due to go back to Afghanistan to train the Afghan Army soon.

    His youngest brother has followed in his footsteps and are due back in Afghanistan for the fourth time. He has also been in Kosovo twice earlier.

    It therefore became quite clear that he had made up his mind which citizenship he wanted to retain and which to renounce. As he became 21, he sent in an application to renounce his right to Singapore Citizenship, which was promptly refused by MINDEF. He has not been back in Singapore since and he will be 33 in a few days time (9. Sept)

    The other brothers also left on completion of O-levels and returned to Norway, as none of them found Singapore to their liking at the time. After all they had grown up with wide open spaces, mountains and the sea, and found Singapore to be too restricted to their liking.

    As the youngest brother turned 30 earlier this year, they all sent in an application to renounce their right to Singapore Citizenship again, with the same result.
    MINDEF insisted that they were defaulters from NS and should return to Singapore “to face the music”.

    I have had numerous meetings with the person in charge of such cases at CMPB, sent letters to the Minister of Defence through our MP at the time and later through a Lawyer. I have also sent letter to the Registrar of Citizen, the Prime Minister (then Goh Chok Tong) and the President (the late Ong Teng Chong) but all letters were replied by the same person at CPMB, with the stock reply, NO.

    This is NOT first and foremost a question of NS and where, or whether, it should be served. It is a question of the right of a person born with two citizenships to have the right to choose which to keep and which to renounce at the age of 21.
    Once he/she have made their choice they will have to comply with whatever obligations that goes with it, whether military service or others.
    To deny anybody this right is against UN Charter of Human Rights, and against the Singapore Constitution.

    As it stands, our three sons are unable to visit family in Singapore without risking 3 years jail and S$ 10,000 fine, although they have complied with the law and renounced one of their two citizenships as required, and served National Service in the country to which they belong.

    This may not affect all that many yet, but with the number of mixed marriages in Singapore today it will be more and more of a problem.

    I have spent most of my life here and has a very clear understanding of the need for a strong defence, but to force foreign nationals to serve in SAF does NOT improve military readiness or moral.

    We allowed the interview in Straits Times in the hope that we could get a discussion going on this subject, but the article published was angle in such a way the it appeared that our sons had left Singapore “just before they could be called up for NS” and joined the Norwegian Army to obtain Norwegian Citizenship.
    Nothing could be further from the truth, which raises a question about the agenda of the Journalist, and her Editor.

    Capt.O.M.Bugge,
    Proud Father.

  5. Frederic Chopin | September 3rd, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    hey I have the same problem too…
    I have left singapore with the age of nine and ever since I have unfortunately not been back yet. I do not have an exit permit but I have obtained the German citizenship.
    Well, my question is now, whether I will be detained in Singapore and not allowed to leave the country, do you think that they will do this? because I intend to go to Singapore at the end of September,but after all I am still a citizen of another country and NORMALLY they are not allowed to hold me..
    right?

  6. Pavanemusic | September 4th, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    After hearing these, I am quite afraid of what’s to come for my son. He has dual citizenship (Sg and US). I am intending to send him to Canada where my sister is living before he turns nine. At the moment he is studying here in a govt school. But it seems now, that even so, he may not get to defer his NS! Even though it is stated black and white the rules, they can bend it anytime, anyhow.

    Frankly speaking, I am not unsupportive of NS and I think it is a good training for young men and to serve the nation. But to force it upon us and leaves us with no alternatives, I think that really is against human rights. I think they should look at this issue on a long term basis. Forcing one to do NS does not equals patriotism.

  7. Zhanzhao | September 10th, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Erm not to nitpick, but in the first sentence “leaved” should be “lived”. its a bit of an eyesore right at teh beginning of the article 😛 Also can someone help me remove this post after the mistake has been corrected? thanks!

  8. An ex-PR | November 8th, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Hi, I am in a different but totally messed up situation here, which is also due to NS issue. I was a Singapore PR, but I gave up PR after taking A-Level because I wanted to pursue overseas study. I did go overseas and studied until this year. Little did my parents (who are still living in Singapore) and I knew at that time that I would not be allowed to work in Singapore. As fate has it, I married a Singaporean girl, who cannot leave Singapore because she is bonded by a government scholarship. We even have a baby who was just born recently. To accompany my family, especially my wife who could not leave, I applied and got a job offer from a Singapore employer. All I ask is an employment pass, not that I have any intention of taking advantage of Singapore or re-applying for PR, but my employment pass and subsequent numerous appeals were turned down with a cold reply from Mindef. Without a job here, I had to leave my wife and baby child behind in Singapore. We now remain separated, and the future when we can be reunited is nowhere in sight.

    I have explained again and again to Mindef that I only ask for permission to work in Singapore for a few years, all I ask for is a few years. If I had in anyway shortchanged the country by escaping NS before, working and paying tax is one way I can re-pay the country. Is Mindef using employment pass issue as a means of revenge? What benefit do they get by not allowing me to work and pay taxes? Can someone explain to me?

    I have not given up appealing to Mindef until today, because I could not accept the fact of being separated from my family. Do any of the people who are reading this share similar experiences? I know there are some cases in which people who give up PR are granted employment pass, please let me know if you know how they did it. Thank you.

  9. Expecting PR mum with a Singaporean husband | February 27th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Hej Mr Bugge & others,

    I’m a Scandinavian mother expecting a son with my Singaporean husband. If our son is born in Singapore, he will be automatically a Singaporean citizen, but he can also get my citizenship. At age of 21, he can decide which one to keep. However, if he lives in Singapore after the age of 11, uses a Singaporean passport or applies for NRIC, he will have to do NS before he can give away his Singapore citizenship.

    We have 2 choices:
    1) deliver the baby in my home country and once back to Singapore, apply for a dependent pass. Holding a dependent pass might make entry into local schools more difficult, but at least he would not be under the government control for PRs/citizens. However, flying to the other side of the world to deliver a baby is not ideal for me.

    2) deliver the baby in Singapore and move out of Singapore before he turns 11. This would require applications for exit permits, deferring NS at age of 16.5 years based on the intention to give away citizenship later (any chance this may be rejected?) and finally at age of 21 to give up the citizenship. Does anyone know if there’d still be a requirement for a bond when he leaves the country before age of 11 or defers NS?

    Our son is likely to complete his further education in Europe in any case, so a EU citizenship would be preferred. After university, he might want to stay and work in the EU, which requires a work permit for a Singaporean but not for a Scandinavian. Also, he may not be interested in coming back to Singapore to join the NS for 1.5 years. Basically, we want to give him a choice, rather than being forced to do the NS or keep the Singaporean citizenship.

    What would you recommend? Any advice is welcome!

  10. Same boat | April 13th, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Choice 2 definitely.
    – Target to leave before 10.5 years old because you need 6 months’ valid passport.
    – Bond is required after age 11.
    – Deferment at age 16.5 is not guaranteed but at least you have not broken any law by applying. Anyway, by then the law may change to make it easier for both parties. Singapore is quite progressive and a win-win situation is not difficult to be achieved.

    Blessings.

  11. travel | May 29th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

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  12. Bong A | June 21st, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Hi I believe i’m in the same situation . I married a Malaysian and my son was born in Malaysia . Thus, he is a Singaporean through Descent . To date, he is 15 years old and has lived,school his entire life in Malaysia . Presently , he is using a malaysian passport . Does that mean he is liable for NS ? As his only connection with Singapore is through me . Does anyone has any comments here ? Need your help . Thanx . 🙂

  13. Patrick | July 2nd, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Hi all, after reading all the posting. I guess the only issue here is to serve the NS. Serve the NS and all will be forgiven.

  14. simon | August 1st, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Hi all… I have a few questions:
    1) Does my son have to be physically back in Singapore at age 16 to apply for deferment, and then at age 21 again, to renounce citizenship? It is too risky to step foot in Singapore. What if deferment is not granted and he is detained. It will be good if all application can be completed from the safety of overseas. At least, we can exercise other options in case deferment is rejected.

    2) I am the father, and I am ready to give up my citizenship to severe ties completely as I read somewhere that parents giving up their citizenship could make it easier for the son to be granted deferment and eventually renunication. My question is, I have a landed property in Singapore (shared with my brother) which foreigners are not eligible to own. If I become a foreigner because I give up my citizenship, will I lose ownership of the property? Anyone who knows anything about this, I will appreciate your input.

  15. simon | August 1st, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    One more question… about socio-economic benefits in relation to passport.

    My son left at the age of two and a half, and he is now 12. His passport has expired and we did not renew it (We did our homework). However, he had made about 3 trips back and forth using this one and only Singapore passport. Does that count as having “enjoyed” socio-economic benefits?

    All other areas he seems to be in the clear… No IC (of course), not even a single day in kindergarten in Singapore.

  16. Mason | August 31st, 2009 at 3:31 am

    Hello all. I left Singapore when I was 15 to migrate to Australia as my mother remarried to an Australian. I am 40 now and had never served national service in Singapore nor returned since I left. I tried renouncing my citizenship without any success.

    I have heard of others – including a personal friend – in my situation who have returned regularly without any repercussions. Is it true that it is safe to just use your Australian passport to travel there and that the Singaporean immigration are only forced to enforced the law of national service only if you notify them of your arrival and your dual nationality?

    Could anyone shed some light on this matter. Would be greatly appreciated.

  17. Delilah | September 15th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Hi,
    I am a singaporean citizen by descent but was born in the UK. I will be turning 21 soon and am thinking of giving up my singapore citizenship. Does this mean that I cannot come back to Singapore to live or visit my family for lengthy periods of time? or will i be eligible for permanent residency?

    really would appreciate any help in this matter.

  18. ester | October 8th, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    My son born in 1994. My husband is a japanese, we came to Japan in 1995 but I & my son went back to study 1 year k3 & 3 months primary school. In 2001 I & my son came back to Japan, he had completed the primary & secondary school in Japan. Recently received the letter
    from CMPB my son has to go back to Singapore to serve the NS when he is 18, he refuses to do, he wants to finish his university education here, cmpb has rejected
    my deffernment, what shall I do? Please give me some
    advise.

  19. ester | October 8th, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    same situation

  20. Perry | February 13th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I also have a question…. I am currently 16 years old and i have not received my ns registration letter yet. I am a singapore pr and of british citizenship. I plan to give up my pr before i turn 18 because i am going to take A levels in singapore. Would i be fined a sum of money for giving up pr after i resgister for ns before i enter the army as a recruit?

  21. Mavis | March 12th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I think the Law in Singapore needs to be changed. If someone is a citizen of another country why make him do NS. They should see the case. Some people leave singapore because of their socio-economic status. For Eg for a person who left singapore because his parents did not own any assets in singapore too have settled down in Singapore, is different. The Singapore Government too should have informed about not being able to renunciate the citizenship on surrendering of the passport and the IC. Once they got it they send a letter saying that this is not accepted coz he did not do NS. Ok allow these people to come to Singapore at least on Social Visit Pass dont let them have any other base in Singapore. Why again go back to NS when this person does not wish to make Singapore his permanent home. How strong are the Immigration in identifying a NS Defaulter. What is that shows them away. If he changes his place of birth in the Passport can somebody still catch him. I am sure with corruption there in Singapore at the top most level, u still can get away with things by paying money to the right person to bail u out.

  22. Alan | March 23rd, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    To Richard Lewis
    Did your son hold a Singapore passport after he turned 12(after 11). My guess is yes. Then he is liable since he is deemed enjoyed the benefits of a Citizen even he did not use it.

    To: Capt.O.M.Bugge
    If the children is on study pass, that would be been ok, but they accepted the pink IC after 11. That is the end of the story.

    To: Frederic Chopin
    Same question, do you have a Singapore passport after 11. If yes, than you are liable, you go back, they could arrest you.

    To: Pavanemusic
    Has your son turn 12, and has a SG passport, if yes, same answer as above.

    To: An ex-PR
    Same situation as ex-citizen…you know why.

    To:Expecting PR mum with a Singaporean husband
    Option 1: OK. best choice indeed. Could also think about giving birth in other countries so he has 1 more choice.
    Option 2. Son has to leave before 11, and stayed outside without SG passport. Effectively immigrated. Still need to apply to CMPB for NS deferment till 21 approval, and they will issue a exit permit if approved.
    NS is 2 years, not 1.5.
    Application for deferment is before 13, not 16.5, it would be too late. Bond is not needed if CMPB approves a exit permit.

    To:Bong A
    Did your son have a SG passport? if not, you could apply to CMPB for deferment of NS so he could renounce his SG citizenship. If yes…the answer is yes he is liable for NS.

    To: Simon
    1st. good that you did your homework, do not renew the SG at 12 if he does not want to do NS.
    2nd. deferment could be done online or mail with cmpb, you could apply for him anytime. the earlier the better.
    3rd. does he has another passport, so to prove he have immigrated before 11 and has a right over the right of SG.
    4th. Nothing to do with you, your property or citizenship. It is your son that SG wants.

    To: Mason
    You passed the 11 mark when you migrated…sorry.
    You are already subjected to prison and fine if you enter SG. Whether they arrest you depend on your luck. Gd luck.

    To: Delilah
    Same, did you renew your passport when turned 12. If yes, you are a defaultee. If not, apply to cmpb and see whether they entertain you! My guess is you could not renounce your SG citizenship when you turn 21 when cmpb approval.

    To: ester
    Assuming he has a SG passport. If he does not come back to serve NS after 18, and not deferment, he is official defalt on his NS, you bond will be gone, and he could be jailed or fine.

    To: perry
    I think you have passed the point of no return.

    Hope this helps. The essense are:
    1. Immigrate from SG before 11
    2. Not holding a passport after 12.
    3. Have another citizenship at the same time
    4. Apply for deferment before 13 years old.

    Many parents apply SG citizenship for their daughter, and not their son, especially if they are staying abroad. I think this will save you a lot of problem.

  23. Bong A | March 30th, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Alan No my son did not have a Spore passport.Why apply for a deferment.He was given a Certificate of citizenship through descent when I endosed him at CMPB.

  24. Ivy | September 2nd, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Hi,
    My son is 13yrs old and left Singapore at 2mths old for the UK and is a PR here. He holds a Singapore and American passport as his dad is american. We renewed his passport when he was 10yrs old after being told that it makes no difference wheather or not he holds a Singapore passport cos he is still considered Singaporean till he makes his choice of citizenship at 16yrs old. We have used the Sg passport on visits back there but no Singapore I/C. We are deciding to go back to Singapore because of my partners’ job in that region and am applying for Int’l schools there but on a foreign student pass.After reading some of the situations presented I wonder if it is a good move for him? And if it is too late now for renoucing the Singapore citizenship and deferment from NS? My son has made a decision to give up the Singapore citizenship. when the time comes.

  25. Rasie | October 5th, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Hello,
    My son is almost 13 . He was born in Singapore. We left Singapore when he was 3 months old. He also has a British citizenship as his father is British. When his Singapore passport expired 3 years ago, I did not renew it. He visits Singapore using his British passport.
    He does not wish to live in Singapore or do NS.
    Do I need to apply for a deferment with mindef or is he eligible to renounce his Singaporean citizenship as he has not benefited from Singapore?

  26. Chris | October 17th, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I’m a father of two boys who have just completed their NS back in Singapore. My family became Canadians in 2006, including my boys. I too was like one of the many ill-informed parents listening to many people about how to avoid NS for my boys when in actual fact, there was no legal avenues available. But as the days got closer for their enlistment, by the grace of the good Lord, I started communicating with the Singapore authorities instead of listening to all kinds of advise out there. And honestly, I am glad that it happened this way.

    Firstly, NS is mandatory for Singaporeans, born in or out of Singapore. It’s not of choice that a Singaporean can choose to serve or not serve NS. This has been legislated and it is law. And until the government of Singapore officially discharges you or your sons from such obligations, you would have been deemed to have broken the law if you do not enlist your son at the proper age, which if I’m not mistaken is 16 years old.

    There are many “advises” floating around and one great one is, if you get your son out by 11 or 13 years old, he is not liable and by age 21 he can renounce his Singapore citizenship. Is it really all that simple? After all, when renouncing, you are at the mercy of the Singapore Government – it’s not an entitlement! The Singapore Government decides on whether you get to renounce or not. All you do is submit the application for approval by them. And I cannot find it anywhere in any of the Singapore Government legislation with regards to this 11 or 13 year-old stuff. It’s all a myth propagated by probably law-breakers consoling themselves that it is possible. So, the best advice is to check with ICA and MINDEF.

    National Service obligation in Singapore is between 2 to 3 years (depending on when he returns and drafted in) of your son’s life. Anyways, in my opinion it is good for them to learn discipline from the military. And after finishing their obligated service, they can submit their renunciation and because they have fulfilled their NS, I’m sure the Singapore Government will approve their renunciation without problems. And think about this, he does not have to worry for the rest of his life about returning to Singapore for holidays or even be employed, if he so wishes.

    Remember this, there a many out there who are now “fugitives” and “wanted” by the Singapore Government for breaking this mandatory law. Is this how you want the status of your son to be with Singapore for the rest of his life and all because of just 2 to 3 years of NS? Hard and expensive payment if you ask me.

    Go to the relevant authorities if you have more questions or are unsure, that is, the ICA and MINDEF.

  27. Dual Nationality and NS-Defaulter | October 23rd, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    If an NS Defaulter has 2 passports (Singaporean and Foreign) I wonder how would the Singaporean Customs detect him if he were to enter Singapore with his foreign passport?

    + If he had a name change on the foreign passport which differs from the Singaporean passport. Would the Singaporean authorities still be able to detect them upon entering the country?

    I guess this case would differ if it is stated in the foreign passport that “The Place of Birth” is Singapore, then it might stir up some suspicion from the Singaporean customs.

    However, it might be possible for some who were born overseas to enter Singapore with their foreign passport (of which the Singaporean authorities have no knowledge of the name change).

    I am seriously unsure of this. Anyone out there who have tried this?

  28. Mason | November 27th, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    To ‘Dual Nationality and NS-Defaulter’

    I am in the same situation as you with an Australian passport. I have had friends, also in our situation where they hold dual nationaliy and are ns-defaulter who have visited Singapore quite successfully with their Australian passport.

    I guess it’s a bit of a gamble as the only thing that can give you away is the “The Place of Birth” section in the Australian passport.

    Has anyone else reading this have any success with visiting Singapore with your foreign passport or been stopped at immigration?

  29. Joel | July 22nd, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Hello there,

    I was born and raised in Australia, but was registered as a Singaporean Citizen by decent by my parents.
    I spent my whole life growing up in Australia and was surprised to have received the enlistment letter when I was 16 and half. I travelled in and out of Singapore using my Australian passport, and never used the Singaporean passport/hence it expired when I was 3. However the point I want to make is that, I am the result of foreigners who choose to come back to Singapore to serve NS. It was a very difficult decision to make as not only did I have to disrupt my University studies in Australia for 2 years, but also serve a country I never grew up in. But the thing that made me choose to come back and serve is that I have family and relatives here, and yes Singapore is one of the best cities to work/live in Asia, and I did not want to have this burden hanging on my shoulders that I can never return to a country to work or even see my family/roots for the next 60 – 70 years of my life. It was a big decision, but I looked at it from a long term perspective and not a short term one. Sure you use 2 years of your youth, however the things you gain will make up for the time lost. You appreciate what you had. NS gets really tough and demanding but once you serve, the rest of your life is yours. I’m now 19 years of age and have nearly served 1 year in NS. Your sons will definately make a lot of friends here who in turn can be future working partners and colleagues.

    To anxious parents: My family and I made the decision to come back to Singapore and visit CMPB to find out, what would happen. I tried to apply for deferment until 21, however was rejected.It is not easy to be granted deferment as they know many try to do so. If you are not granted deferment, your sons have a decision they have to make.

    To Mason: It is true that some have visited Singapore using their Australian passport. I did this too, and I was born in Australia, but I found proof that Singapore has every single visit that you make under your name/ in and out of the country, so even if you do use this way, there may still be a risk of getting caught.

    Ultimately, many NS guys ask me why did you come back?
    It pains me to tell them everytime that it is because of family and relatives etc, but most importantly there is too much at stake to accidently land in Singapore and take that risk at 3 years/Jail + NS. You will never know what life holds for your sons in the future and they may have to make an emergency landing/stop over in Singapore or may be posted their for working opportunities, and will have to embarrassingly decline such offers.

    The decision is ultimately your sons, if they’re future lies nowhere in Singapore and are prepared to live abroad, then I would advise to not come back.

    2 years is short in perspective of their life, however if they feel that they will never need to come back, then it will be a waste of their time.

    I feel my experiences have been far and great during my 1 year here. I’ve matured physically and mentally and experienced some sights and moments I thought not possible. It has been fun, however I can’t wait to finish. 🙂

    I hope I have helped clear some anxious parents out there, as you are hearing this from a son who chose to do NS and take the hard way out.

  30. buffalopanzee | April 26th, 2013 at 2:48 am

    I have the same question as Dual Nationality and NS-Defaulter above.

    I have friends with both passports when they were young, but renounced Sg’s passport at age of 21. If he/she were to change the legal name in the foreign passport, could they enter Sg as a visitor without any consequences?

    Plz let us know if you know anything!

    Thanks!

  31. Ex PR Cannot Do NS | April 29th, 2013 at 2:34 am

    I’m in a really screwed up situation similar to the other ex-PR. I left Singapore when I was 16 without doing NS. I went for further studies abroad, and returned to Singapore when I was 20. I re-applied for PR under my parent’s sponsorship. My intention was to return to Singapore and serve NS, but yet it was rejected!

    Basically: My PR was rejected because I did not serve NS earlier. But I can’t do NS to regain PR, because I’m no longer a PR. Chicken-egg situation!

    I know of a family friend who went through the same process a few years before me, but he managed to regain his PR and served NS without hiccups.

    It’s totally ridiculous that they changed the rules within those few years, claiming now that they “do not want people to choose when to serve their NS!”

    Those people at MINDEF should really stop taking such a narrow minded view, they should be happy there’s actually people coming back willingly to serve. But no, they only have 1-track minds and think that allowing people like myself back will encourage others to do the same. =( It’s not as if I want to take advantage of the system and avoid NS..

    And yes, even my Employment Pass application was rejected due to CMPB’s objection. =(

  32. Leah | May 10th, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Hi,
    My partner was born in Singapore & migrated to Australia at the age of 4. He i now 23 and has never since returned to Singapore. His Singapore passport expired back in 2001, and he has applied to have it renewed, though been declined due to his failure to serve NS. I read above that if they leave Singapore before the age of 11, they have not enjoyed being a citizen & can aply for exemption, from my iunderstanding of what i read this means he needs to renounce his citezinship to Singapore?? Im just wondering how that will work for him as he will be required to be a Singapore citizen to obtain a new passport.. he requires a passport to apply for permanent residency here in Aus. Does anyone know of a way around this where he can be exempt but be issued with a new passport first & renounce the citezinship once the passport is expired / his residency is secured in AUS ??? HELP!

  33. christina | June 13th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Hi, i was just wondering… my son has just turned 18 and still has not been called for NS. He is an american but was born here and lived his whole life here. His father and myself are PRs too… Why has he not been called? Our life is just on hold waiting and I’ve tried calling but to no avail… they just tell me they will get back to me and never do etc…. i’m just exasperated … dont know what to do….

  34. jackie | February 8th, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    hi,Christina…i believe your son must be in Singapore from the age of 12 for them to issue you a enlistment letter,you need to have a Singapore i/c before you are issued an enlistment letter otherwise you are are not reminded if you are a p/r staying abroad ,they won’t bother giving you an enlistment letter if you are overseas p/r or remind you unless you are a Singaporean through descend and staying abroad ..I believe if you do not serve the army as Singaporean abroad or a foreigner you will be charge on entering Singapore..they are more concern of true blue Singaporean as they are a rare breed so they will definitely do everything in their control to bring them back and ensure they serve their obligations.

  35. Jackie | February 8th, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    i am hoping that in the not too distant future…that Singaporeans who are born overseas through descend and do come home to serve the army are allowed to keep their dual citizenship….

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