SINGAPORE: Passport applications will take more time to process due to high demand as border restrictions are eased, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Tuesday (Mar 29).
In response to CNA's queries, ICA said that the number of passport applications since March 2022 is "unprecedented".
"At present, the number of passport applications received daily is triple the pre-COVID-19 daily average," said an ICA spokesperson, noting that about 6,000 applications have been received daily, compared to 2,000 applications before the pandemic.
"This is due to the pent-up demand of 1 million expired and expiring passports with the COVID-19 border restrictions in place.
"We seek Singaporeans’ understanding that more time will be required to process their passport applications."
Singaporeans with travel plans in the next few months and need to renew their passports are advised to submit their applications early. Application for passports can be done online via www.ica.gov.sg.
Once they are notified that their passports are ready for collection, Singaporeans can make an appointment to collect them at any of the 27 post offices without paying any additional collection fee.
"ICA would also like to remind Singaporeans that they need not renew their passports if they are currently in Singapore and do not have any plans to travel for the next six months," said the spokesperson.
"The Singapore passport is not a mandatory identity document and there is no penalty for not renewing passports which have expired."
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Thursday that Singapore will ease travel restrictions substantially with a new vaccinated travel framework, and “drastically" streamlined testing and quarantine requirements for travellers.
All fully vaccinated travellers, as well as children aged 12 and below, will be able to enter Singapore with just a pre-departure COVID-19 test from 11.59pm on Mar 31.
They will also no longer need to apply for entry approvals or take designated VTL transport to enter Singapore quarantine-free. In addition, there will be no more quotas on the number of daily arrivals.
Fully vaccinated travellers will also be able to travel between Singapore and Malaysia via private vehicles such as cars and motorcycles from Apr 1, with land checkpoints at the Woodlands Causeway and the Tuas Second Link operating 24 hours daily. There will be no quota for all modes of travel.
Following the border reopening announcements, travel companies have seen bookings for flights out of Singapore, as well as overseas accommodation, more than double. Singaporean companies have also seen a jump in job applications from Malaysian workers.