Exit Permit Question from a Mother with a Singaporean Son Slave

Hi Nix,

I have been reading your blog for years and always look forward to your new post almost every day.

My son who will be 11 years old this Nov has a passport validity of up to Dec 2017.

We will be making a permanent move to WA in March 2015.  Since our visa will expire in May 2016, I believe I need to ensure that his passport validity should cover the period where we will be out of Singapore till at least 2018.

My concerns are:

1.       Is there any issue for us as parents to renew his passport this year perhaps in Sep or Oct 2014? I am not sure if ICA would allow it since he has a passport validity of another 3 years.
2.       I have heard about ‘exit permit’ for those who have sons that will need to serve NS. Is this necessary and if yes, how do we go about to apply this for him?

Perhaps you should consider blogging about this ‘exit permit’ thingy or even the pros and cons of selling or renting a HDB unit for those who are migratingJ

By the way, we have just sort out the schooling for 2 out of our 4 kids and are a bit nervous about this whole migration process.  We are in the midst of finding movers and plant to rent somewhere SOR.  If you have any recommendations or advise, we would love to hear from you.

Please wish us luck.

Anonymous Singaporean


You cannot be a regular reader of the site as you claimed as you will have gather that there is no topic I regarded in disdain more than NS. But since you sent me your email in a nice readable format,

1) Don't renew his passport but please don't ask me why.

2) If you are born as a cursed Singaporean male slave, you will need to apply for an exit permit if you intend to travel or remain overseas for 3 months or longer if you are between 13 and 16.5 years old. If you are remaining overseas for 2 years or longer, your parents/guardians will also need to furnish a bond, in the form of a Banker's Guarantee of S$75,000 or 50% of the combined annual gross income of both parents for the preceding year, whichever is higher.

Whether you planned it or not, your tentative departure date seems to allow you to dodge the hassle of dealing with ns.sg, at least for that big trip being concerned. I do not know whether you will be required to apply for his exit permit when he reaches 13 years old. Call up and find out by then. My guess is you will be told to do so. If so, just do it annually over the years till he decides to renounce his Singaporean citizenship by 21 or return to Singapore to do his national service if he wishes to.

I know I haven't been blogging much of late because my mind is elsewhere at the moment but no, blogging about NS issues is the last thing on my list. I'll rather blog about inserting cockroaches into my colleagues' lunch boxes when they are not looking. I'll think over the HDB issue that you suggested. Thank you for the ideas.

To be honest with you, it is a very bad time to ask me about education because my daughter is still young so I am not into finding out more at the moment. Moreover, my mindset about education is quite different from the majority of Singaporean parents so my advice will be next to useless to you. Nonetheless regarding schooling in Perth, there is nothing to worry about if you do not carry the old Singaporean parents' mindset along with you. There are schools in almost every suburb, if not all, in the Perth metropolitan. If you are bent on the 'best school chase' mentality, there is also nothing to worry about if you are loaded with cash or lending abilities. The obvious suburbs for you to move to then (since you prefer SOR), will be Willeton, Rossmoyne and Shelley etc. For folks who are unwilling to fork out the money for this purpose, they move to the next tier (i.e Canningvale for Caladenia Primary and so on). It is easy to spot the trend after you are here for awhile. Just go where the Asians stay around. For me, I'll turn the other way.

If you want my unqualified advice, I'll strongly encourage you to visit the schools personally, talk to the staff, observe the children and exercise your judgement. I challenge you to be your own woman instead of relying on hearsay or ratings. Then move to the suburb you can afford with a school nearby that you are comfortable letting your children learn and grow up in. 

Don't limit yourself to the regular names. Go up to Lesmurdie if you have to. Oooh, what a nice place.


  1. =)) =)) =)) =)) =))

    this is too funny

  2. Hi Anonymous Singaporean,

    Here is what I learned from a real-life "NS-fugitive", please do not ask me for details of my source.

    If you want your son to escape the clutches of NS for life, EMIGRATE/SEND-HIM OUT OF SINGAPORE BEFORE NOVEMBER 2014 (i.e. BEFORE HIS 11TH BIRTHDAY). And whatever you do, DO NOT APPLY/RE-NEW HIS SINGAPORE PASSPORT and/or register for any "freebies/goodies" from the Singapore government for your son. Otherwise, if your son does not return to serve NS, even if your son should surrender his Singapore citizenship upon gaining another citizenship, he may still be arrested upon entering Singapore (i.e. even as a foreign-passport-holder just transiting at Singapore Airport on-route to another destination).

    If you hear otherwise, please dig further for details. Hearsay goes that the NS-deserter enforcement is not applied evenly, the "lesser mortals" get the above treatment while those with "connections" may be treated differently.

    It's your take. IMHO, we can never be 100% prepared for migration. The challenge of being an immigrant is to go with the flow and roll with the punches.

    Cheers, WD.

    1. p.s. Also do NOT apply for your son's NRIC (identity card) at age 15 if the plan is for him to acquire another citizenship instead.

    2. I know of a Singapore family who had migrated to Australia many years ago with 2 boys and became Australian citizens. The boys applied for and were granted deferment from NS till they reached the age of 21, whereby they can renounce their Singapore citizenship.
      Unfortunately, government policies in Singapore are like the weather forecast-sometimes sunny and at other times, cloudy. My own experience with the Singapore government is a "cloudy" one.

    3. I know of a Singapore family who emigrated decades ago with 2 boys -- one aged 10 and one aged 11 on departure. Decades later, the younger brother was allowed to renounce Singapore citizenship without issue, the elder one was informed that he is technically a "NS-deserter" and thus Singapore-fugitive even when holding a foreign passport.

      > Unfortunately, government policies in Singapore are like the weather forecast-sometimes sunny and at other times, cloudy.

      Agree. I also get the impression, after hearing stories from the other (ex-)Singaporeans, that the application of Singapore government policies (especially with regards to NS liability) is like the weather forecast.

  3. The fortunate ones have choices to be Australian citizens or Singapore citizens.

    I rem one advice is to serve NS in order to secure a job in sg even Australia has bad job prospects for graduates. True?

    1. Not sure about job in sg with NS. Most jobs in Singapore has great prospect and higher pay with NS if you are working for SG govt. From my experience after working in Australia for more than 5 years, I can confirm that Australia has a pretty bad job prospects.

    2. For anyone who have left Singapore, or for that matter, anyone who have seen the world map, Singapore is almost an invisible dot on the map. Opportunities are abound around the rest of the world, if only Singaporeans are able to shed their "frog in the well" mentality.