While there may be little point in renewing passports for now, the immigration authority will double their lifespans just in time – we hope – for people to hit the road again.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority announced today that it will extend passport validity from five years to 10 years for those 16 and up starting in October, citing “greater confidence” in biometric technology. Singapore began using biometric passports in 2006, a year after it decided to cut passports to five years in order to monitor the technology’s viability.
“It has been 15 years since the introduction of the biometric passport,” the authority said in a statement. “There is now widespread use of biometrics screening technology by immigration authorities around the world to validate travellers’ identity and detect stolen and forged passports … Also, biometric passport technology has stabilised.”
The fee for passport renewal will remain S$70 (US$50). Passports will remain valid for five years for those under 16.
“As children’s facial features change more rapidly, 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,” the statement added.
Each biometric passport is embedded with a microchip containing details such as facial and fingerprint identifiers.
Singapore will launch its long-awaited air travel bubble with Hong Kong later this month, and talks of extending it to Australia and Taiwan are ongoing. A new wave of infections emerging across Singapore, however, could put those plans in jeopardy.
Health officials yesterday announced 18 new cases totaling to 61,286 since the outbreak began. The official death toll stands at 31.
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