Can the Government revoke your citizenship?

Singapore had recently revoked the citizenship of footballer Gaye Alassane, an S-League player for serious criminal conduct. This followed a sweeping crackdown on match-fixing groups amid allegations that Singapore had become a hub for the practice.

Can anyone’s citizenship be revoked by the Government? To understand that, one needs to know how a Singapore citizenship is acquired. Our Constitution provides four means:

  • By birth (being born here)
  • By descent (born outside of Singapore, but parents are Singaporeans)
  • by registration (any person resident in Singapore over 21 years old can apply by registration)
  • by naturalisation (any person residing in Singapore for more than 10 years

Only persons whom are citizens by registration or naturalisation face many scenarios where they are deprived of citizenship. Reasons for doing so include:

  • Fraud, when applying for citizenship,
  • Citizenship granted by mistake,
  • Disloyal or disaffected towards Singapore,
  • By serving a foreign government or political office where an oath to them is taken,
  • Naturalised citizens can have citizenship revoked if you have been staying abroad for over 5 years,
  • Women who have received citizenship by registration can have it revoked if authorities are convinced marriage had been dissolved,
  • Engaged in activities prejudicial to: the security of Singapore, the maintenance of public order, the maintenance of essential services or involved in criminal activities prejudicial to the internet of public safety, peace or good order.

Singaporeans by birth appear to be protected from deprivation of citizenship, except in cases of treason or acquisition of citizenship of another country. There is no dual citizenship for Singapore citizens, does not matter whether or not you are male or female. There is popular misconception that Singaporean women can hold dual citizenship.

It is normal for countries to revoke citizenship. The United Kingdom has provisions for stripping citizenship and the United States had revoked citizenship for reasons from anything between lying and bigamy to having Nazi connections.



  1. I’m a Singapore citizen by birth but have been residing in another country for years. During the SG50 celebration I put forward a suggestion that Singapore citizens by birth who are over 50 years old should be allowed to attain dual citizenship. This would be a great present for us older citizens as with aging comes health problem and I’ve been paying tax in my country of residence which enables me to have good health care with low fees. If I were to retire to Singapore, I could lose my residence permit due to long absence. For my suggestion, instead of seeing a patriotic citizen, the Government representatives started a query regarding the status of my citizenship.

  2. i have a friend who have left Singapore for 30yrs and now he wants to come back will his citizenship be revoked

  3. I’ve been staying abroad for almost 40 years, being a Singapore citizen by birth and not holding dual citizenship I’m still having Singapre citizenship.

    However, I’m still hoping that the Singapore government would permit its citizens (either by birth or descent) who are 55 years old and older to have dual citizenship. At this older age, I think of the day we RIP or expenses of healthcare. If I’m a healthy retiree, I would like to spend many months in Singapore but if I become ill I would like to return to my second home to seek (free) medical care.

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