SINGAPORE: Singapore passports will be valid for 10 years, up from the current five, for applications submitted from October, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Friday (May 7).
The increase in the validity period applies to Singapore citizens aged 16 and above who submit a passport application on or after Oct 1.
"This will reduce the frequency of passport renewals and offer greater convenience to Singaporeans," said ICA in a news release.
For those aged below 16, the passport validity will remain at five years.
"As children’s facial features change more rapidly, renewing their passport every five years will allow the photograph in their passport to be updated more frequently, which will minimise identification problems when going through immigration," the agency said.
The passport application fee will remain unchanged at S$70. For applications submitted in person at Singapore's overseas missions, an equivalent of S$80 in foreign currency will be charged.
BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGY HAS STABILISED: ICA
The validity period of the Singapore passport was reduced in 2005, from 10 years to five years, with the introduction of the biometric passport.
The biometric passport incorporated an embedded microchip that contains the passport holder's biometric information, such as facial and fingerprint identifiers.
"Reducing the validity period in 2005 was to allow ICA to monitor the stability of the technology and incorporate enhancements, as necessary, when Singaporeans renew their passport," ICA said.
"This ensured that the Singapore passport remains a highly secure and
trusted travel document, which gives Singaporeans access to many countries without the need for a visa."
There is now widespread use of biometrics by immigration authorities around the world to validate travellers' identities, and to detect stolen and forged passports. The technology has also stabilised, and ICA said it now has "greater confidence" in the durability of the passport microchip.
"In view of these developments, ICA has assessed that it is now viable to increase the validity of the Singapore passport to 10 years without compromising security or global confidence in the Singapore passport," it said.
Countries that previously issued a five-year passport and have increased this to 10 years include the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, China, Japan and South Korea.
The validity of passports is capped at 10 years in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) recommendation. Therefore, any remaining validity in an old passport cannot be added to a new one that has a 10-year validity period, said ICA.
Currently, any remaining validity of an old Singapore passport, up to a maximum of nine months, will be added to the validity of the new passport.
The application process for the passport remains unchanged. Citizens who need to apply for a new passport can do so online via ICA's e-service.
Those who are unfamiliar with or have difficulty accessing the e-service can get their family members or friends to assist with the application online or apply on their behalf.
Applicants with no access to the Internet may visit the Citizen Connect Centres located at Our Tampines Hub and selected community centres or community clubs. The locations of the centres can be found at https://go.gov.sg/citizenconnect or they can also call 6225 5322.
Those who are unable to make the application online or do not have someone to help them may visit ICA for assistance.