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FAQ: What you need to know as birth and death certificates go digital

FAQ: What you need to know as birth and death certificates go digital
An example of a digital birth certificate. (Image: Immigration & Checkpoints Authority)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will no longer issue physical birth and death certificates from May 29.

Digital certificates will be issued instead, which can be downloaded and stored on personal mobile devices and laptops, said the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Sunday (May 8).

This also means in-person registration of births and deaths will no longer be done.

Here’s what you need to know about the change and how to go about the registration process:

Q: Why the change? 

The move is part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to streamline and digitalise services for Singaporeans, said ICA in a media release.

The streamlining of death registrations, in particular, will help to ease the administrative burden of post-death matters on family members. “We hope this will give the bereaved family more time to focus on other matters in their moment of grief,” ICA said.

Digitising the certificates will also allow ICA to incorporate an additional way 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.”

Q: How do I register a birth?

Parents will have to register their newborns via the LifeSG app within 42 days of their child’s birth and will no longer have the option of doing so in person at hospitals or the ICA Building.

According to ICA, more than 80 per cent of eligible births have been registered digitally since 2018 when the LifeSG app was launched.

Upon successful registration, parents will be notified to download their child’s digital birth certificate on ICA’s website using an e-service known as the electronic retrieval of certificates and instant verification.

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 new process of registering births in Singapore via the LifeSG application from May 29, 2022. (Graphic: Immigration & Checkpoints Authority)

Q: How do I register a death?

Next-of-kin will no longer be required to register deaths. Once a death is certified online by a medical practitioner, it will be registered automatically in ICA’s system.

A digital death certificate will be generated by the system immediately. The medical practitioner or a hospital employee will then 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.

The new process of registering deaths in Singapore via the My Legacy portal from May 29, 2022. (Graphic: Immigration & Checkpoints Authority)

Q: Are there time limits for downloading certificates?

Parents will be given up to 90 days to download digital birth certificates.

Those who forget to do so within the 90-day window can contact ICA for assistance at ICA_Birth_RBD [at] ica.gov.sg. They will not be charged the S$18 fee again.

Next-of-kin will have up to 30 days to download death certificates.

When asked about the different time limits, ICA said that they were established “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,” the agency said.

An example of a digital death certificate. (Image: Immigration & Checkpoints Authority)

Q: Will the data be safe?

All information on LifeSG, My Legacy and ICA’s system will be stored and secured in the Government’s database, said ICA.

In anticipation of the growing number of digital documents, ICA’s Deputy Commissioner of Policy and Transformation Cora Chen said that there are plans to launch a secure one-stop digital document repository for citizens to access their official documents with ease.

Q: Do holders of physical certificates need to get them digitised?

In response to a CNA query, ICA said that all physical certificates issued before May 29, 2022, will remain valid and do not need to be converted.

Q: What about people who are unable to go online?

A temporary hotline has been set up for citizens who are unable to go online and do not have anyone to assist them. The hotline number is 6589 8707.

Those who need assistance can also visit the ICA Building or any ServiceSG Centre.

Source: CNA/kg(gs)

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