Singapore passport

Singapore passport
Pasport Singapura  (Malay)
新加坡护照 (Chinese)
சிங்கப்பூர் கடவுச்சீட்டு (Tamil)
The front cover of a Singapore biometric passport.
Date first issued 20 June 1966[1] (first version)
2 January 1991[2] (machine-readable passport)
15 August 2006 (biometric passport)
26 October 2017[3] (current version)
Issued by  Singapore
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements Singaporean citizenship
Expiration 5 years after issuance
Cost S$80[4]

The Singapore passport is a travel document issued to the citizens of the Republic of Singapore. It is issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore. Only Singaporean citizens can apply for this passport. It is ranked as the joint most powerful passport in the world, with Japan.[5][6]

Singapore's passport is a favourite target for counterfeiters, due to the relatively liberal visa requirements for Singaporean travellers, and the tendency for immigration to clear Singaporean passport holders more quickly.[7] The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority thus adopted several measures to foil forgers, including digital photos and special ink since October 1999, and the Biometric passport from August 2006.


The first version of the modern Singapore passport was introduced on 20 June 1966, replacing the Singapore Provisional Passport issued from 17 August 1965. Between 1963 and 1965, Malaysian passports were issued to residents of Singapore (when it formed part of Malaysia) and colonial British passports were issued prior to 1963.[8] The Straits Settlements, of which Singapore was its capital from 1832 until 1946, also issued its own passports prior to World War II.[9]

Singapore Restricted Passport (blue cover)

Between 1967 and 1999, Singapore also issued a Restricted Passport with a blue cover mainly for travel to West Malaysia. The Restricted Passport was conceived due to the fact that many Singaporeans would regularly travel to West Malaysia for business and leisure purposes. The Restricted Passport ceased to be issued after 1999 due to a lack of demand and the red Singapore Passport was deemed to the be only valid travel document for overseas travel by Singaporean citizens from 1 January 2000.[10]


The Singaporean passport is valid for a period of five years for passports issued since 1 April 2005 and ten years for passports issued before said date. Before biometric passports were issued in August 2006, passports for male citizens between 11 and 18 were only valid for two years, and had to be renewed or replaced every two years. Biometric passports cannot be modified due to the "write once" policy by ICAO. A new passport is valid for a total period of five years. For the renewal of a passport that has a validity of nine months or less, the new one will have a validity of five years plus the remaining validity in the old passport. However, if a passport is being renewed with a validity of more than nine months, it will be valid for five years and nine months.[11] To travel overseas, a passport must be valid for at least six months.

Biometric passport

Since 15 August 2006, all newly issued Singaporean passports contain biometric features (BioPass). A major reason for this addition is to comply with the requirements for the US Visa Waiver Program.[12] The features also help to prevent forgery and minimise the abuse of Singaporean passports. The biometric passports contain 64 pages, unlike the machine readable passports, which contain 96 pages. It costs S$80 for a passport, with the higher cost due to the special features encoded into the passport. There is a ten dollar rebate if one applies for the passport on the Internet, by post or by deposit box with applicants having to collect the passport personally.

The biometric passport is valid for 5 years for first time applicants, compared with 10 years for previously issued passports without biometric features. Also, the new passport does not accept modifications such as extensions of validity, and updating of photographs due to ICAO's "write once" policy.[13] In a break from long standing practice, the passport number is now unique to each passport, instead of being identical to the holder's NRIC number.[13] Children are no longer allowed to travel on their parents' passports.[14] The biometric passport project cost the Singaporean government a total of S$9.7 million.[15]

A new Singapore biometric passport design was introduced on 26 October 2017. It features a redesigned front cover as well as several new security features such as a Multiple Laser Image (MLI) in the shape of Singapore Island and a window lock of the image of the passport holder which can be viewed as a positive or negative image when tilted and viewed under a light source. New visa page designs, featuring the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Esplanade, Marina Barrage, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Sports Hub and Punggol New Town were also introduced in the new biometric passport, replacing the previous Central Business District and Esplanade visa page designs.[16]

Physical appearance

Front cover

Singaporean passports are bright red in colour, with the words "REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE" inscribed at the top of the front cover, and the coat of arms of Singapore emblazoned in the centre of the front cover. The motto and the title of the national anthem of Singapore, Majulah Singapura, is inscribed on the scroll of the coat of arms, whilst the word "PASSPORT" is inscribed below. The biometric passport symbol appears at the bottom of the front cover under the word "PASSPORT".

Passport note

The passport contains a note from the President of Singapore addressing the authorities of all territories:

Information page

Singaporean passports include the following data on the plastic information page:

  • (left) Photo of the passport bearer
  • Type (PA - biometric passport)
  • Code of issuing state (SGP)
  • Passport number
  • Name
  • Sex (Gender)
  • Nationality (Singapore Citizen)
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Date of issue
  • Date of expiry
  • Modifications
  • Authority
  • National ID number

The information page ends with the Machine Readable Zone.

Visa requirements

Visa requirements for Singaporean citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states which are placed on citizens of Singapore. As of 1 August 2018, Singaporean citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 189 countries and territories, ranking the Singapore passport first in the world in terms of travel freedom (tied with the Japanese passport) according to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index.[17] Additionally, Arton Capital's Passport Index ranked the Singaporean passport first in the world in terms of travel freedom, with a visa-free score of 166, as of 1 August 2018.[18]

As of August 2018, the passports of Singapore, Brunei, Japan and San Marino are the only ones to allow either visa-free entry or electronic travel authorisation to the world's four largest economies, namely China, India, the European Union and the United States.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is strictly prohibited by the Singapore government. A dual citizen may have acquired citizenship by birth in a foreign country, by descent from a foreign citizen parent, or by registration. Singapore citizens who voluntarily and intentionally acquire citizenship of a foreign country after the age of 18 may be deprived of their Singapore citizenship by the Government.[19] Foreigners who naturalise as Singaporean citizens are required to renounce all foreign citizenships.[20] Persons who are born outside of Singapore and have at least one parent who is a Singapore citizen may register with a Singapore consulate within a year to acquire Singapore citizenship by descent. However, such persons who acquire foreign citizenship (by birth in a jus soli country or naturalization in another country at an early age) must choose one citizenship before reaching 22 years of age.

National Service issues

All male citizens are required to be conscripted for two years as National Service (NS). Previously, the Singapore government had a policy of limiting the validity of the passport for boys aged 11 and above. Before travel, they had to apply for a 9-month extension of their passports. Such extensions were added with a rubber stamp. The Singapore government has stated that the objective of such exit control measures is to deter NS-evasion, and that these measures serve as a "psychological reminder" of the citizen's NS obligations.

Since the new biometric passport does not permit such modifications, a decision was made by the Ministry of Defence to do away with limited-validity passports. Exit permits are still required for overseas trips which last longer than three months.[21]

See also


  1. "ICA - History of Travel Documents & Passes". Archived from the original on 2014-06-25.
  4. "ICA - Apply for / Renew Singapore Passport".
  5. "Global Passport Power Rank | The Passport Index 2018". Passport Index - All the world's passports in one place.
  6. Diebel, Matthew (27 October 2017). "New country takes top spot for world's most powerful passport". Traveller.
  7. Zaihan Mohd Yusof, Serangoon Rd man asks undercover reporter: Psst, want to buy a passport?, The New Paper, 9 Jun 2004. Accessed 11 Nov 2006.
  11. Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Application for Singapore Passport Archived 2006-10-01 at the Wayback Machine., accessed 17 Dec 2006
  12. U.S. State Department, Visa Waiver Program (VWP), accessed 10 Nov 2006.
  13. 1 2 Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, Biopass FAQ, accessed 11 Nov 2006.
  14. Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, Deletion of Child's Particulars Archived 2006-10-01 at the Wayback Machine., accessed 11 Nov 2006.
  15. Channel NewsAsia, Singapore's biometric passport project to cost S$9.7 million, accessed 3 Dec 2006.
  17. "Global Ranking - Visa Restriction Index 2018" (PDF). Henley & Partners. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  19. Article 134(1)(a) Constitution of the Republic of Singapore
  20. Article 126(1) Constitution of the Republic of Singapore
  21. MINDEF, Introduction of the Singapore Biometric Passport - Revisions To Exit Control Measures, 25 July 2006. Accessed 14 Nov 2006.

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