Ah, yes. Renewing your passport right after the government announces that the travel restrictions are being relaxed.
That sounds like a no-brainer to most, but when literally everyone and his or her mother start to renew their passports at this time, you know what’s going to happen.
After all, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) really only has so many staff members and so many pairs of hands to help people renew their passports.
Yesterday (28 March), the ICA mentioned that it has received an “unprecedented number” of passport applications this month.
Just to put things into perspective, the ICA has been receiving around 6,000 applications per day, whereas the daily average number of applications used to be around 2,000 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the easing of border restrictions and the implementation of the Vaccinated Travel Framework, many Singaporeans are looking forward to travelling again,” ICA explained.
“We seek Singaporeans’ understanding that more time will be required to process their passport applications.”
ICA also advised Singaporeans who plan to travel over the next few months and need to renew their passports to apply for new passports in advance. Singaporeans can apply for the renewal of their passports through the ICA website.
Applicants will be informed when their passports are available to be collected, and they can book an appointment at any of the 27 designated post offices to collect them.
So you don’t have to trudge all the way down to the ICA building.
The best part? There are no additional collection fees before.
As passports are technically not a “mandatory identity document” in Singapore, there is no punishment for not renewing expired passports.
Hence, the ICA also highlighted that Singaporeans who do not intend to travel overseas over the next six months do not need to renew their passports immediately.
But please go renew your IC if you need to lah. That one confirm mandatory.
Relaxed Travel Restrictions
Of course, we all know that the sudden increase in applications for passport renewals is due to the fact that Singapore is gradually starting to open its borders for vaccinated travellers over the next few weeks.
For example, the land borders between Singapore and Malaysia will be fully open from 1 April onwards.
Fully vaccinated individuals will be able to travel from Singapore to Malaysia (and vice versa) via driving or public transport, and will not be subject to testing and quarantine. The daily traveller limit for overland travellers will also be removed.
Additionally, those who have taken at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as children who are 12 years old and younger will be allowed to enter Singapore without needing to serve quarantine from midnight of 31 March onwards.
These travellers will only need to conduct a pre-departure COVID-19 test unless they are travelling to Singapore from a country or area that is listed under the restricted category.
But currently, no countries are in the restricted category lah. So you don’t have to worry about that.
Apart from that, these travellers will not have their flight choices restricted to designated flights, and the policy regarding taking a COVID-19 antigen rapid test (ART) within 24 hours of their arrival will be removed as well.
Lastly, all vaccinated travellers will not be required to obtain entry approvals, and the quota regarding the number of daily arrivals will be retired too.
So if you’re planning to travel, here’s all you need to know in order to make your plans.
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