Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Process for Stateless in Singapore to be Recognised as PR or Citizens by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 10 October 2016



Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the requirements that the stateless need to meet to be recognised as PRs and citizens; (b) whether the stateless can count on having citizen relatives as a positive factor in their applications; and (c) what is the Ministry's advice for stateless parents who have failed multiple times at getting PR or citizenship for themselves but are now seeking a solution for their Singapore-born children not to be labelled stateless as well.




1. Each application for Permanent Residency (PR) and Singapore Citizenship (SC), including those submitted by stateless individuals, is evaluated on a range of criteria, including economic contributions, education qualifications, family profile and length of stay in Singapore.  The person must be able to make a positive contribution to the country, as a citizen. The fact that there are SC family members, for example an SC spouse or child, would be a plus factor in the evaluation. The circumstances in which the person became stateless may also be relevant. People may for example, have chosen to give up their foreign citizenship, or may not have acquired foreign citizenship because of the actions/inactions of their parents. There are also some who are stateless, by reason of not applying for citizenship in Singapore previously. The different circumstances will have to be considered and not everyone who is stateless, and in Singapore, can be treated in the same way.


2. As of end August 2016, around 82% of the stateless persons in Singapore have become PRs, and enjoy the various benefits such as healthcare, housing and education that are accorded to PRs. These stateless PRs can also acquire SC if they meet the necessary requirements.


3. A child born in Singapore to a stateless parent may be eligible for Singapore Citizenship at birth.  This can happen if his other parent is a Singapore Citizen, and the parents are legally married to each other at the time of his birth. 


4. A child born in Singapore to a stateless parent may also obtain foreign citizenship.  This can happen if the child's other parent holds foreign citizenship, and manages to obtain foreign citizenship for his child through his home country. However, if the foreign parent chooses not to apply for, or fails to acquire, such foreign citizenship for the child through his home country, then the child will become stateless. 


5. A child born in Singapore will become stateless if neither of his parents are Singapore citizens or citizens of another country.


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