25 Mar 2005
Moving Towards a New Generation of Passports
Moving Towards a New Generation of Passports
The validity period of Singapore passports issued on and after 1 April 2005 will be reduced from 10 years to 5 years. The passport fee will also be reduced from $70 to $60. Citizens who choose to submit their passport applications via APPLES, by post or through the deposit boxes will get to enjoy a $10 rebate and pay only $50. The thickness of the passport will remain at 96 pages.
2 The current Singapore passport, which is machine-readable, has advanced security features to prevent tampering and forgery. The existing security features make it difficult for syndicates to forge our passport without leaving tell-tale signs of the forgery. The visa-free entry that Singaporeans currently enjoy in many countries is testament to the high international regard for our passports.
3 The purpose of the reduction in passport validity is so that we can incorporate new technologies into the Singapore passport more rapidly and deter errant persons or syndicates from forging or abusing our passports. One such new technology is the biometric passport, which the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) plans to introduce by October this year. (See Annex A for a factsheet on the upcoming biometric passports.)
4 Enhancing passport integrity and security will continue to foster global confidence in the Singapore passport as a highly-secure travel document, thus allowing Singapore passport holders to travel with convenience. Ensuring the integrity and security of the Singapore passport is an important part of Singapore's overall efforts to bolster checkpoint security.
Tips on passport applications
5 ICA would like to highlight a few convenient methods that will allow passport applicants save time when applying for their passports while getting to enjoy a $10 rebate.
6 The Application for Passport Online Electronic System (also known as APPLES) is an e-service that gives citizens added flexibility and choice when applying for their passports. Launched on 2 May 2002, APPLES enables citizens to apply and pay for their passports online anytime and at the convenience and comfort of their homes. Through APPLES, citizens not only save one trip to ICA Building, they also avoid having to spend time in the queue to submit their applications over the counter. APPLES can be accessed through ICA's website at www.ica.gov.sg as well as the eCitizen portal at www.ecitizen.gov.sg.
Other Convenient Ways to Submit Passport Applications
7 Besides APPLES, citizens can also apply for their passport by post or through the deposit boxes placed inside and outside ICA Building. Application forms are readily available at all Neighborhood Police Posts/Centres, Police Divisional Headquarters and Community Centres/Clubs. ICA also offers citizens the convenience of having the form mailed to their home addresses. Just call 6738 3352. Alternatively, the form can be downloaded from ICA's website.
Why Pay More?
8 In addition to the convenience, citizens that choose to submit their passport applications via APPLES, by post or through the deposit boxes get to enjoy a $10/- rebate. Instead of $60/- for counter applications, applicants pay only $50/- for their passports.
For counter applications?
9 Those who still prefer to make applications over the counter may wish to note that the queuing time may be more than an hour, although ICA will try its best to reduce waiting time. ICA would also like to advise the counter applicants to bring along a recent passport photograph that fulfils the following requirements for their own convenience:
Extension of Passports
10 The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) NSmen who hold Singapore passports with restricted validity need not come to the ICA Building to extend their passports. They can have their passports extended at Central Manpower Base (CMPB) at Depot Road, SAFRA Tampines, Police Cantonment Complex and SCDF HQ Complex respectively. Male citizens between 11 years and 16? years old may also extend their passports at CMPB or SAFRA Tampines. The operating hours of these places can be found at Annex B.
END OF NEWS RELEASE
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority
24 March 2005
Factsheet on the biometric passports
Biometric passports are scheduled to be introduced in October this year to further enhance the security features of our passports.
2. The Singapore biometric passport will comply with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO). As announced by the Home Affairs Minister on 3 March 2005, the Singapore biometric passport, which will incorporate facial and fingerprint as the biometric identifiers, will be valid for 5 years. It will make use of an inventory control number as the passport number, instead of the current approach of using the holder's NRIC number. This unique inventory number will also make it easier to share information on lost and stolen Singaporean passports as part of the global effort to curb passport abuse.
3. Ensuring the integrity and security of the Singapore passport is an integral part of our overall security efforts. The biometric passport would restrict the space for terrorist movements by tightening passport controls and border surveillance. At the same time, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has set October 2005 as the target implementation date for biometric passports so as to ensure that Singapore continues to be on the US Visa Waiver Program. This will enable Singaporeans to continue to travel with convenience. The rationale for the 5-year validity period is to allow ICA to maximise new technologies and not be locked in by a biometric passport with a longer period of validity.
4. There is no need for a mass conversion of non-biometric passports to biometric passports. This is especially so for Singaporeans who do not intend to travel to the US. Holders of our machine-readable passports will continue to qualify for visa-waiver entry into the US as long as Singapore is able to issue biometric passports by 26 October 2005.
National Service Liable Persons under Singapore Armed Forces and pre-enlistees (including those aged 11 to 16? years) can extend their passport at:
Exit Permit Office
Central Manpower Base
3 Depot Road
8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on weekdays
8.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on Saturdays Exit Permit Office
1A Tampines Street 92
2.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. on weekdays
1.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. on Saturdays
National Service Liable Persons under the Singapore Civil Defence Force and Singapore Police Force may extend their passports at their respective National Service Headquarters:
Civil Defence HQ Complex
National Service Personnel Department
91 Ubi Avenue 4
8.30 am to 5.00 pm (weekdays except Wednesday)
8.30 am to 8.00 pm (Wednesday)
8.30 am to 1.00 pm (Saturday) Police HQ
Police Exit Permit Office
391 New Bridge Road
Police Cantonment Complex Blk D
8.30 am to 5.00 pm (weekdays)
8.30 am to 1.00 pm (Saturday)