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National Service

At around the age of 18, all male Singaporeans go through a period of military training called National Service (NS).

An open purse with money and coins

National Service was introduced in 1967, to provide defence for Singapore and to foster cohesiveness among male Singaporeans. The two-year stint offers an ideal opportunity for our young men to build strength of character, grow in maturity and develop leadership skills. Spending time training with fellow citizens also forges strong ties among Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, as they are bound by a common experience, national pride and a greater cause. For many of them, this rite of passage also builds lifelong friendships.

Registration for NS

Under the Enlistment Act, all male Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents are liable for National Service (NS). Upon reaching the age of 16 ½ years, all male Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents (including those whose Singapore citizenship is a second citizenship), have to register for NS.

This requirement applies also to male children who are granted PR status under their parents’ sponsorship.

Those who are living or studying overseas will be sent registration notices from the Central Manpower Base (CMPB) to register online. A week’s notice is usually given for e-registration.

Male citizens studying in a Singapore government school or institution may apply for deferment from full-time NS pending completion of studies. This may be done online at the MINDEF website. The age limit is 18 years for enlistment of full-time NS.

The Singapore government takes evasion of NS very seriously. Anyone attempting to do so will be prosecuted and may be imprisoned for up to three years, fined up to SGD 5,000 or both.

Operationally Ready National Servicemen

Those who have completed their full-time NS will join the ranks of Singapore’s operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen).

NSmen are liable to be called up for a maximum of 40 days of National Service every year until the age of 50 years (for officers) or 40 years (for others).

When an NSman has to go overseas for more than 24 hours and less than six months, he needs to notify the MINDEF Notification Centre ahead of the trip. Those who go overseas for more than six months need to apply for an exit permit.

For more information, visit The NSmen website.