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At least 1 month processing time for passports due to overwhelming number of applications, says ICA

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans applying for or renewing their passports can expect a processing time of at least one month as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) deals with a surge in passport applications.

“Due to overwhelming passport applications, please expect a longer processing time of at least one month,” ICA said in a notice on its website.

The processing time will be longer if the applicant’s photograph does not meet the requirements, it added.

Last week, ICA said it was receiving about 6,000 passport applications daily, compared to 2,000 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is due to the “pent-up demand of 1 million expired and expiring passports with the COVID-19 border restrictions in place”, it said.

Singaporeans with travel plans in the next few months and those who need to renew their passports are advised to submit their applications early. They can do so on the ICA website.

The application fee is S$70, and applicants will be notified of the outcome by post or email. They can also check the status of their application through the ICA e-Service portal.

Once approved, applicants will be notified via SMS, email or by post. They can make an appointment to collect their passports from one of 27 designated post offices or the ICA building within a month of the approval.

They will need to bring their current passport, if valid, and a physical or digital identification card (IC).

The surge in applications comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singapore is significantly easing travel restrictions. This includes a new vaccinated travel framework, and “drastically" streamlined testing and quarantine requirements for travellers.

From 11.59pm on Mar 31, all fully vaccinated travellers, as well as children aged 12 and below, are able to enter Singapore with just a pre-departure COVID-19 test.

Travellers 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 clearing the land checkpoints between Singapore and Malaysia do not need to do any COVID-19 tests. 

ICA reminded Singaporeans last week 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.

"The Singapore passport is not a mandatory identity document and there is no penalty for not renewing passports which have expired,” it said.

Source: CNA/ga(ta)


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