No more physical birth and death certificates from May 29, ICA to issue digital certificates instead
SINGAPORE: Babies born in Singapore from May 29 will no longer have physical birth certificates, as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will only issue digital certificates.
The same will be applied to deaths registered from May 29. This is part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to streamline and digitalise services for Singaporeans.
ICA said in a news release on Sunday (May 8) that birth and death registration processes will be simplified to allow parents of newborns and next-of-kin of the deceased to download and store digital certificates on their personal mobile devices and laptops.
This means that in-person birth registration services as well as counters providing death registration services in places such as hospitals and the ICA building will no longer be available.
With the introduction of digital certificates, parents will have to register their newborns via the LifeSG app within 42 days of their child’s birth.
Upon successful registration, parents will be notified to download their child’s digital birth certificate on ICA’s website using the electronic retrieval of certificates and instant verification e-service.
Parents will be given up to 90 days to download the digital birth certificate, which can be stored and saved on their personal devices.
A fee of S$18 will be charged for the issuance of a digital birth certificate. This covers the cost of the registration process, including IT system development and maintenance, said ICA.
The process of registering deaths will also be streamlined to ease the administrative burden of post-death matters on family members.
From May 29, the deceased’s next-of-kin will no longer be required to register the death as this will be automatically logged in ICA’s system once the medical practitioner certifies the death.
A digital death certificate will be generated by the system, and the medical practitioner or hospital staff member will provide the next-of-kin with information such as the digital death certificate number, to allow them to download the certificate from the My Legacy portal.
They will be given up to 30 days to download the certificate, which can be stored on their personal devices.
“We hope this will give the bereaved family more time to focus on other matters in their moment of grief,” said ICA.
With the digital certificate, the next-of-kin may directly apply for a permit to bury or cremate through the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) website or authorise a person such as a funeral director to do so.
PROTECTING DATA AND PREVENTING FRAUD
Responding to queries from CNA, ICA said the download windows for the two digital certificates were determined “based on user needs”.
“It was assessed that a 30-day download window would suffice for death certificates, which are typically required for immediate post-death matters, whereas a 90-day download window for birth certificates would cater to parents’ administrative needs,” said an ICA spokesperson.
ICA said data protection and privacy measures are in place to prevent data loss or theft, unauthorised access as well as undue disclosure.
For example, parents who are Singpass users and who wish to retrieve their child’s digital birth certificate will be required to log in using Singpass, which requires two-factor authentication.
All information on LifeSG, My Legacy and ICA’s system will be stored and secured in the Government’s database, said ICA.
The authority added that digitising the certificates also allows it to incorporate an additional means to verify their authenticity.
“Government agencies and private entities, such as industry associations and financial institutions, can use QR codes included on all digital certificates to verify their authenticity,” said ICA.
“The QR code will be linked to an ICA system where details on the digital certificate can be verified against ICA’s database.”
In anticipation of the growing number of digital documents, ICA’s Deputy Commissioner of Policy and Transformation Cora Chen said there are plans to launch a secure one-stop digital document repository for citizens to access their official documents with ease.
On whether there are any plans to digitalise existing physical certificates, ICA said that digital certificates will be issued only for births and deaths that are registered on and after May 29.
“There is no need to convert the existing physical birth/death certificates issued prior to this date as they continue to remain valid,” said ICA.
Those who require assistance with the new birth or death registration process can call a 24-hour hotline at 6589 8707, or visit the ICA Building and the network of ServiceSG centres located across Singapore.