SINGAPORE – The validity period of the Singapore passport will be extended to 10 years, up from the current five, from 1 October.
However, the validity period of passports issued to those below16 years old will remain at five years. The new validity will apply to Singapore citizens aged 16 and above who submit a passport application on or after 1 October.
In a press release on Friday (7 May), the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), said that the validity increase is due to the current widespread use of biometrics screening technology worldwide and better durability of the biometrics chip.
In April 2005, the validity period of the Singapore passport was reduced from 10 years to five years, in conjunction with the introduction of the biometric passport, ICA said. The passport incorporated a microchip that held the passport holder’s biometric information – facial and fingerprint identifiers.
"Reducing the validity period in 2005 was to allow the ICA to monitor the stability of the technology and incorporate enhancements, as necessary, when Singaporeans renew their passport. This ensured that the Singapore passport remains a highly secure and trusted travel document, which gives Singaporeans access to many countries without the need for a visa," the ICA said.
In the 15 years since, biometrics screening technology has seen widespread adoption by immigration authorities worldwide. "This has made it increasingly difficult for criminal syndicates and persons with ill intent to use forged or stolen passports to gain illegal entry... We (also) now have greater confidence in the durability of the passport microchip."
Children's facial features change more rapidly, said the ICA, and thus, "renewing their passport every five years will allow the photograph in their passport to be updated more frequently, which will minimise identification problems when going through immigration".
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