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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 25 July 2006

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New Singapore biometric passports from 15 Aug 2006

Source: www.ica.gov.sg

PUBLIC INTRODUCTION OF SINGAPORE BIOMETRIC PASSPORT

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will introduce the Singapore Biometric Passport (BioPass) on 15 August 2006.
Following this, Singapore has met requirements under the US Visa Waiver Programme which calls for countries to roll out their Biometric Passport before 26 October 2006.
Public is advised not to rush for BioPass
Singaporeans holding the current non-biometric machine-readable passports can continue to enjoy visa-free travel to the US up to 90 days under the Visa Waiver Programme.
There is no need for these Singaporeans to convert their passports to a BioPass even if they are travelling to the US. All our passports issued locally from 2 January 1991 are machine-readable.
Singaporeans do not need to rush to apply for a BioPass if their existing passports have sufficient unused pages and remaining validity (of more than 6 months). This will allow those who genuinely need a new passport to obtain one first.
Limited services available from 10 to 14 August 2006
Singaporeans can apply for international passports by submitting their applications by post, over the service counters, in deposit boxes located in ICA or through APPLES (Application for Passport Online Electronic System).
To facilitate a smooth transition to the BioPass system, ICA will have to close some of its passport application services counters from 9 Aug 2006.
This will allow ICA to install and test the BioPass systems before its actual launch. As such, only limited passport application avenues will be available from 10 to 14 August 2006. The affected services are listed below:

a.         Passport Counters ¨C Passport counters will not be able to accept applications for passports and photo updates from 9 August 2006. Full counter services will be restored on 15 August 2006 at 8am.

 

b.         APPLES ¨C The e-service will be closed for 24 hours from 9 August 2006, midnight and resume on 10 August 2006, midnight.

Members of the public who need to submit passport applications can continue to do so through the deposit boxes at ICA. ICA will be setting up additional self-payment machines and deposit boxes. Officers will also be present to assist the public with their transactions.
Collections
Non-biometric passports can still be collected between 10 and 14 August 2006. However, as only limited counters will be opened, applicants can expect a longer waiting time. We urge Singaporeans not to collect their passports at ICA Building during this period.
Extensions
Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) NSmen who hold Singapore passports with restricted validity can have their passports extended at Central Manpower Base (CMPB) at Depot Road, SAFRA Tampines, Police Cantonment Complex and SCDF HQ Complex respectively.
Male citizens between 11 years and 16½ years old may extend their passports at CMPB or SAFRA Tampines.
Application for BioPass
Applications received by ICA on and before 8 August 2006 will be treated as applications for non-biometric passports while those received after 8 August 2006 will be for the BioPass. A summary is as follows:

If you apply for a passport

Your application will be for a non-biometric passport if it reaches ICA before or at

Over the counter

5pm, 8 August 2006

By post

5pm, 8 August 2006

Online, through APPLES

11.59pm, 8 August 2006

By deposit box

11.59pm, 8 August 2006

Overseas

5pm, 8 August 2006

The new BioPass application forms will be made available at ICA's website at http://www.ica.gov.sg as well as at Neighbourhood Police Posts and Community Clubs from 9 August 2006. The public can also call 6738 3352 for a form.
Other details on BioPass
Singapore¡¯s BioPass complies with the recommendations and requirements laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). In line with ICAO¡¯s requirements:

a.         The book inventory control number will be adopted as the passport number. In other words, the passport number for BioPass will no longer be the holder¡¯s NRIC number. The Ordinary BioPass number will begin with a prefix ¡°E¡±, followed by 7 digits and ending with an alphabet.

 

b.         In line with ICAO¡¯s ¡°write once¡± policy for biometric passports, no further changes to the holder¡¯s particulars (including the photograph) will be allowed once the passport is issued. The BioPass holder will have to apply for a new passport if he needs to update any of his personal particulars.

The processing time required for a BioPass remains as 3 working days from the date of receipt of the application. However, the processing time may take longer if there is an overwhelming demand for the BioPass, particularly in the first few weeks of its introduction.
The passport fee for the BioPass will be S$80. Applicants who apply for the passport by APPLES, post and deposit box will enjoy a S$10 rebate and pay only $70 for their passports.
The BioPass will contain 64 pages and is valid for 5 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can be found at Annex. They will be available to the public at http://www.ica.gov.sg.
END OF NEWS RELEASE
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority
25 July 2006
More..... (Annex)
- Introduction of the Singapore Biometric Passport - Revisions To Exit Control Measures

Source: www.ica.gov.sg Media Release 25 Jul 2006

Related Article:
- All new Singapore passports to be BioPass by August 2006

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