We have all been at that place of dread as the expiry date of our passport draws near.
Sometimes we live in denial until it is too late, as you want to go for a holiday but you cannot go because you do not have more than six months validity.
You scream internally and externally and brace yourself for a four-hour visit to ICA simply to wait for your number to be called. And as if that is not enough, you have to come back on another day just to collect your document – that means another four-hour wait.
(Oh, yes, the Mr Bean gif is used aptly here because over in the building, you’ll be watching reruns of Mr Bean for hours before you see your number)
Well, this experience may expire in 5 years (see what I did there).
Come 2023, a new building is set to shorten queues for NRICs and passports.
And it’s not one that requires you to wait for hours, because automation is here to save the day.
Projected to be opened by 2023, the new 10-storey building would be built on the open-air car park that’s just next to the existing ICA building.
Yes, that car park that’s always so full, finding a lot there is as rare as finding Mewtwo in Pokemon GO.
As a “one-stop” service centre, it’s aimed to manage the current high demand.
So, what can you expect from it?
If it sounds high-tech, it’s probably because it is.
While we used to collect our passports and ICs from the counter staff, this new system would remove the human interaction and allows us to collect our documents within fifteen minutes.
This is open 24 hours on a dedicated floor, so if you feel like it, you can collect your passport at 2:00 a.m.
Old Building Will Be Upgraded When New One is Up
Once the new building is up and running, the old one will not be demolished; instead, it will be upgraded.
Which means we could see two buildings instead of one in the future.
But that, my friends, is for another article (if people are still reading articles by then, that is).
In the meantime, just know this: days of watching Mr Bean while waiting for your number to be called just to collect your new red passport is going to be history.
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