Singapore passport
  • Malay:Pasport Singapura
    Chinese:新加坡护照
    新加坡護照
    Tamil:சிங்கப்பூர் கடவுச்சீட்டு
2018 singapore passport cover.jpg
The front cover of a contemporary Singapore biometric passport
(with chip
EPassport logo.svg
)
TypePassport
Issued by Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority
First issued20 June 1966[1] (first version)
2 January 1991[2] (machine-readable passport)
15 August 2006 (biometric passport)
26 October 2017[3] (current version)
PurposeIdentification
EligibilitySingaporean citizenship
Expiration10 years after acquisition (applicants age 16 and above; from 1 October 2021);
5 years after acquisition (applicants below age 16; older biometric passports issued between 15 August 2006 and 30 September 2021)
CostSGD$70[4]

A Singapore passport is a travel document and passport issued to citizens and nationals of the Republic of Singapore. It enables the bearer to exit and re-enter Singapore freely; travel to and from other countries in accordance with visa requirements, and secure assistance from Singapore consular officials abroad, if necessary.

All Singapore passports are issued exclusively by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Only Singapore citizens are eligible for this passport. The passport is valid for ten years. As of 2022, the Singapore passport was the second most powerful passport in the world with visa-free or visa on arrival access to 192 countries and territories, in conjunction with the passport of South Korea.[5][6]

The Singapore passport is a popular target for counterfeiters due to the relatively liberal visa requirements for Singaporeans and the tendency for immigration officials to clear Singapore passport holders more quickly.[7] The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has thus adopted several measures to foil forgers, including adding digital photos and special ink since October 1999, and converting to a biometric passport from August 2006.

In 2017, the Singapore passport was reported to be the most powerful passport in the world.[8]

History

Historic Singaporean British passport of novelist H. C. Asterley, issued in 1951
Historic Singaporean British passport of novelist H. C. Asterley, issued in 1951

The first version of the modern Singapore passport was introduced on 20 June 1966, replacing the Singapore Provisional Passport issued from 17 August 1965. Between 1963 and 1965, Malaysian passports were issued to residents of Singapore when it formed part of Malaysia, and CUKC British passports were issued prior to 1963.[9] The Straits Settlements, of which Singapore was its capital from 1832 until 1946, also issued its own passports prior to World War II.[10]

Singapore Restricted Passport (blue cover)

Between 1967 and 1999, Singapore also issued a Restricted Passport with a blue cover mainly for travel to West Malaysia. The Restricted Passport was conceived due to the fact that many Singaporeans would regularly travel to West Malaysia for business and leisure purposes. The Restricted Passport ceased to be issued after 1999 due to a lack of demand and the red Singapore Passport was deemed to the be only valid travel document for overseas travel by Singaporean citizens from 1 January 2000.[11]

Validity

The Singaporean passport is valid for a period of five years for passports issued since 1 April 2005 and ten years for passports issued before said date. Before biometric passports were issued on 15 August 2006, passports for male citizens between 11 and 18 were only valid for two years, and had to be renewed or replaced every two years. Biometric passports cannot be modified due to the "write once" policy by ICAO. A new passport is valid for a total period of five years. For the renewal of a passport that has a validity of nine months or less, the new one will have a validity of five years plus the remaining validity in the old passport. However, if a passport is being renewed with a validity of more than nine months, it will be valid for five years and nine months.[12] To travel overseas, a passport must be valid for at least six months.

New passports issued on or after 1 October 2021 for people aged 16 or above will again have a validity of 10 years, with the government citing improved confidence in the security of biometric passports.[13]

Biometric passport

Since 15 August 2006, all newly issued Singaporean passports contain biometric features (BioPass). A major reason for this addition is to comply with the requirements for the US Visa Waiver Program.[14] The features also help to prevent forgery and minimise the abuse of Singaporean passports. The biometric passports contain 64 pages, unlike the machine readable passports, which contain 96 pages. It costs S$70 for a passport. One can apply for the passport on the Internet, by post or by deposit box with applicants having to collect the passport personally. However, if the application is made in person at a Singaporean overseas mission, it will cost S$80 in foreign currency equivalent.[13]

The biometric passport is valid for 5 years for first time applicants, compared with 10 years for previously issued passports without biometric features. Also, the new passport does not accept modifications such as extensions of validity, and updating of photographs due to ICAO's "write once" policy.[15] In a break from long standing practice, the passport number is now unique to each passport, instead of being identical to the holder's NRIC number.[15] Children are no longer allowed to travel on their parents' passports.[16] The biometric passport project cost the Singaporean government a total of S$9.7 million.[17]

A new Singapore biometric passport design was introduced on 26 October 2017. It features a redesigned front cover as well as several new security features such as a Multiple Laser Image (MLI) in the shape of Singapore Island and a window lock of the image of the passport holder which can be viewed as a positive or negative image when tilted and viewed under a light source. New visa page designs, featuring the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Esplanade, Marina Barrage, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Sports Hub and Punggol New Town were also introduced in the new biometric passport, replacing the previous Central Business District and Esplanade visa page designs.[18]

Physical appearance

Front cover

Contemporary front cover design Singapore biometric passports issued since 2017
Contemporary front cover design Singapore biometric passports issued since 2017

Singaporean passports are orange in colour, with the words "REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE" inscribed at the top of the front cover, and the coat of arms of Singapore emblazoned in the centre of the front cover. The motto and the title of the national anthem of Singapore, Majulah Singapura, is inscribed on the scroll of the coat of arms, whilst the word "PASSPORT" is inscribed below. The biometric passport symbol

EPassport logo.svg
appears at the bottom of the front cover under the word "PASSPORT".

Passport note

The passport contains a note from the President of Singapore addressing the authorities of all territories:

The President of the Republic of Singapore requests all authorities to allow the Singapore citizen named in this passport to pass without delay or hindrance and, if necessary, to give all assistance and protection.

Information page

Specimen hard polycarbonate Data and Information page of Singapore Passports
Specimen hard polycarbonate Data and Information page of Singapore Passports

Singaporean passports include the following data on the plastic information page:

The information page ends with the Machine Readable Zone.

Biometric chip

The embedded chip stores the owner's digitised photograph, name, sex, date of birth, nationality, passport number, and the passport expiry date. This is the same information that appears on the printed information page of every passport. Facial recognition technology was introduced with the release of the ePassport to improve identity verification and reduce identity-related fraud. Iris imaging was later added to complement the biometric fingerprint.

Visa requirements

Main article: Visa requirements for Singaporean citizens

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Visa requirements for Singaporean citizens
  Singapore
  Visa not required / ESTA
  Visa obtainable on arrival
  Electronic authorisation or eVisa
  Visa available both on arrival or online
  Visa required prior to arrival

Visa requirements for Singaporean citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states which are placed on citizens of Singapore. As of 22 January 2022, Singaporean citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 192 countries and territories, ranking the Singapore passport the most powerful in the world and in Asia (tied with the Japanese passport) in terms of travel freedom, according to the Henley Passport Index.[5]

As of January 2022, the passports of Singapore, Brunei, Japan and San Marino are the only ones to allow either visa-free entry or Electronic Travel Authorisation to the world's four largest economies, namely China, India, the European Union and the United States. Singapore is also currently the only developed country in the world whose citizens can enter Cuba without a tourist card or a pre-arranged visa, as of 2022.

Automated border control systems

Main article: Automated border control system

Singaporean citizens aged 6 and older are eligible to use the automated clearance lanes at the ICA Checkpoints run by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, provided that their biometric identifiers (iris / facial / fingerprints) have been enrolled with ICA.[19] In addition, for young Singapore citizens who wish to use the automated lanes but had collected their passports before turning six, they may enrol their biometrics at the staffed immigration counters (with the supervision of their parent / guardian).[19]

In addition, Singaporean citizens who intend to travel as tourists, are eligible to use the automated border control systems (eGates) when arriving in (or departing from) the following countries:

Country/Region Visa-Exemption Duration of Allowed initial stay Name of Immigration Authority Name of ABC System Ref
 Australia Electronic Travel Authority 90 days Australian Border Force (ABF) SmartGate [20]
 France Visa not required 90 days (within any 180-day period in the Schengen Area) Direction centrale de la police aux frontières (DCPAF) PARAFE [21]
 Hong Kong Visa not required 90 days Immigration Department (Hong Kong) e-Channel [22]
 Italy Visa not required 90 days (within any 180-day period in the Schengen Area) Polizia di Frontiera EGate (Italy) [23]
 Japana Visa not required 90 days Immigration Services Agency of Japan (ISA) Automated Gates [24]
 New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority 3 months New Zealand Customs Service eGate [25]
 Portugal Visa not required 90 days (within any 180-day period in the Schengen Area) Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) RAPID4ALL [26]
 Thailand Visa not required 30 days Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau Automated Passport Control (APC) [27][28][29]
 United Arab Emiratesb Visa not required 30 days Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (FAICCPS) Smart Gate [30]
 United Kingdom Visa not required 6 months UK Border Force EPassport gates [31]
 United States Visa Waiver Program 90 days U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Automated Passport Control (APC) [32][33]

a) The Trusted Traveller Program offered by the Immigration Services Agency of Japan (ISA), is limited to:

- directors or full-time employees of the Government of Singapore and its public and corporate affliates.

- directors or full-time employees of international organizations.

- directors or full-time employees of public companies listed in Japan and their subsidiaries.

- directors or full-time employees of public companies listed in the visa-exempt countries under Japanese visa policy.

- directors or full-time employees of private companies with capital or investment of JPY 500 million.

- business relationship foreign invitee of Japanese government-affliated institutions or Japanese publicly-listed corporations (and their subsidiaries).

- tourists with platinum or higher-status credit cards.

- spouse or child (unmarried minor) of aforementioned businesspeople or high-net-worth tourists.

b) The Smart Gates at Dubai Airport can only be used after the first-time arrival and registration at the manual immigration touchpoint in Dubai.

Dual citizenship

See also: Singaporean nationality law

Dual citizenship is strictly prohibited by the Singapore government. A dual citizen may have acquired citizenship by birth in a foreign country, by descent from a foreign citizen parent, or by registration. Singapore citizens who voluntarily and intentionally acquire citizenship of a foreign country after the age of 18 may be deprived of their Singapore citizenship by the Government.[34] Foreigners who naturalise as Singaporean citizens are required to renounce all foreign citizenships.[35] Persons who are born outside of Singapore and have at least one parent who is a Singapore citizen may register with a Singapore consulate within a year to acquire Singapore citizenship by descent. However, such persons who acquire foreign citizenship (by birth in a jus soli country or naturalisation in another country at an early age) must choose one citizenship before reaching 22 years of age.

Singapore passports issued to dual citizens have their maximum validity capped at up to their 22nd birthday. They can be renewed for the usual 5 year validity free of cost after renunciation of foreign citizenship and completion of the Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty (ORAL) before reaching 22 years of age.

National Service issues

All male citizens are required to be conscripted for two years as National Service (NS). Previously, the Singapore government had a policy of limiting the validity of the passport for boys aged 11 and above. Before travel, they had to apply for a 9-month extension of their passports. Such extensions were added with a rubber stamp. The Singapore government has stated that the objective of such exit control measures is to deter NS-evasion, and that these measures serve as a "psychological reminder" of the citizen's NS obligations.

Since the new biometric passport does not permit such modifications, a decision was made by the Ministry of Defence to do away with limited-validity passports. Exit permits are still required for overseas trips which last longer than three months.[36]

References

  1. ^ "ICA – History of Travel Documents & Passes". Archived from the original on 25 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in Phnom Penh". www.mfa.gov.sg.
  3. ^ "Singapore passport gets new design, security upgrade". CNA. Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Apply for a Passport". Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Global Passport Power Rank | The Passport Index 2018". Passport Index – All the world's passports in one place.
  6. ^ "Japan overtakes Singapore as world's most powerful passport". Channel NewsAsia. 10 October 2018. Archived from the original on 10 October 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  7. ^ Zaihan Mohd Yusof, Serangoon Rd man asks undercover reporter: Psst, want to buy a passport? Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, The New Paper, 9 June 2004. Retrieved 11 November 2006.
  8. ^ "Singapore now has the 'most powerful' passport in the world | Coconuts Singapore". Coconuts. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  9. ^ "HTstories Remembered: Passports & Politics". 26 October 2013. Archived from the original on 26 October 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2018.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "S'poreans used to have a special blue passport in addition to their red one for international travel". Mothership.sg.
  12. ^ Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Application for Singapore Passport Archived 1 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 17 December 2006
  13. ^ a b Leo, Lakeisha (7 May 2021). "Singapore passports to be valid for 10 years for applications from October". CNA. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  14. ^ U.S. State Department, Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Archived 2 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 10 November 2006.
  15. ^ a b Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, Biopass FAQ Archived 8 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 11 November 2006.
  16. ^ Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, Deletion of Child's Particulars Archived 1 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 11 November 2006.
  17. ^ Channel NewsAsia, Singapore's biometric passport project to cost S$9.7 million. Retrieved 3 December 2006.
  18. ^ "New design for Singapore passport with additional security features: ICA". The Straits Times. 26 October 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Automated Lanes at the Passenger Halls". ICA. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  20. ^ "Smartgates". www.abf.gov.au. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Passage rapide aux frontières : comment utiliser un sas Parafe ?". www.service-public.fr (in French). Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  22. ^ "e-Channel Services for Visitors | Immigration Department". www.immd.gov.hk. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  23. ^ "E-gates - AEROPORTI DI ROMA". AEROPORTI DI ROMA. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  24. ^ "Outline of the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) | Immigration Services Agency of Japan". www.isa.go.jp. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  25. ^ "eGate". www.customs.govt.nz. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  26. ^ "Sistema RAPID4ALL alargado aos aeroportos do Porto, Faro e Funchal - ePortugal.gov.pt". eportugal.gov.pt (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  27. ^ Koh, Fabian (20 August 2017). "Singaporeans can now use automated gates at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport | The Straits Times". The Straits Times. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  28. ^ "Singaporeans test automated immigration at Suvarnabhumi". Bangkok Post. 19 August 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  29. ^ Suen, Wilber (11 September 2017). "Bangkok's Immigration Automated Clearance for Singapore and Hong Kong citizens". AroiMakMak. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  30. ^ Airports, Dubai. "Dubai Airports". www.dubaiairports.ae. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  31. ^ "Guide to faster travel through the UK border". GOV.UK. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  32. ^ "Automated Passport Control (APC)". U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  33. ^ "Visa Waiver Program Requirements | Homeland Security". www.dhs.gov. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  34. ^ Article 134(1)(a) Constitution of the Republic of Singapore
  35. ^ Article 126(1) Constitution of the Republic of Singapore
  36. ^ MINDEF, Introduction of the Singapore Biometric Passport – Revisions To Exit Control Measures, 25 July 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2006.

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