SINGAPORE - With one million passports either expired or expiring, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Monday (March 28) said it has received an unprecedented number of passport applications this month, just as border restrictions are set to ease.
Some 6,000 passport applications are reaching the authority each day, triple the pre-Covid-19 average two years ago of 2,000 applications daily.
"With the easing of border restrictions and the implementation of the Vaccinated Travel Framework, many Singaporeans are looking forward to travelling again," ICA said. "We seek Singaporeans' understanding that more time will be required to process their passport applications."
Singaporeans who have travel plans in the next few months and need to renew their passports are advised to submit their applications early, ICA added.
Applications can be done online via ICA's website.
Once the passports are ready for collection, applicants will be notified and they can make an appointment to collect them at any of 27 designated post offices without paying additional collection fees.
ICA also said there is no need for Singaporeans who have no plans to travel overseas for the next six months to renew their passports.
The Singapore passport is not a mandatory identity document, and there is no penalty for not renewing passports that have expired, ICA added.
The surge in applications comes as Singapore looks to further open its borders to vaccinated travellers this week, and travel between Singapore and Malaysia by land is set to fully resume.
From midnight on March 31, all travellers fully vaccinated with two doses against Covid-19 and children aged 12 and below can enter Singapore quarantine-free with just a pre-departure Covid-19 test, unless they are coming from a country or place in the restricted category. Currently, no country is classified under the restricted category.
They will no longer be required to take only designated flights and will not have to take a Covid-19 antigen rapid test within 24 hours of arrival.
There will also be no more quotas on the number of daily arrivals and no entry approvals needed for all vaccinated travellers.
From April 1, those who are fully vaccinated can travel freely between Singapore and Malaysia by land, including by driving and on public transport, without testing or quarantine. There will also no longer be any caps on the number of daily overland travellers.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.