Can those who renounce their citizenship keep their GCB and CPF?

Nov 19, 2021

SINGAPORE does not allow dual citizenship, so Singaporeans who want to be citizens of another country must first renounce their status as Singaporeans. There have, lately, been reports of citizens applying to do so - raising questions about what happens to their assets.

Good class bungalows

Good class bungalows (GCBs) are landed properties located within 1 of 39 areas gazetted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. They must have a minimum plot size of 1,400 square metres and cannot be more than 2 stories high.

Only Singapore citizens can buy GCBs, although exceptions are made for permanent residents. So, what happens when someone renounces his citizenship?

According to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), the GCB must be sold.

"Under section 3A of the Residential Property Act, an individual who ceases to be a Singapore citizen or a Singapore permanent resident will be required to dispose of his/her interest in a restricted residential property within 2 years from the date of cessation of his/her Singapore citizenship or Singapore permanent residence," said the SLA spokesperson.

Central Provident Fund monies

Citizens and permanent residents contribute a portion of their salaries every month to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts. They are also entitled to additional contributions from employers.

Someone renouncing his citizenship would be able to withdraw all his CPF cash balance to a bank account. Any CPF-linked investments will be transferred to his name, according to information from the CPF website.

The CPF Board says that members are strongly encouraged to close their accounts. This is due to the member having no intention to retire in Singapore and CPF accounts being primarily for retirement in Singapore.

"It will be more convenient to withdraw their CPF monies before leaving the country where their identity can be easily authenticated. Otherwise, they may need to travel to the Singapore Overseas Mission should they choose to withdraw after leaving the country," said a CPF Board spokesperson.

Singapore bank accounts

Foreigners are allowed to open bank accounts in Singapore, but rules on account openings vary from one bank to another.

Foreigners can still maintain their bank accounts, according to DBS. Most banks don't require them to make any changes beyond updating their personal particulars.