Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Recording of Western Names with Surnames Listed First in Our National Registration Records, by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 03 November 2020


Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs with regard to national registration records (a) what is the rationale for recording Western names with their surnames (last names) listed first; and (b) whether this can give the misimpression that Singapore is unaware of personal name order conventions around the world.



1. There are different personal name order conventions around the world and there is no universal practice. In view of this, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) does not register names in any particular sequence.


2. Names registered under the National Registration Act (NRA) and printed on National Registration Identity Cards (NRICs) are based on: (i) the names listed on registrants’ birth certificates for Singapore Citizens (SCs), or (ii) the names listed on registrants’ foreign passports for Permanent Residents (PRs). The NRIC does not specify the registrant’s first, middle, or last name.


3. The Singapore birth certificates also do not specify the newborn’s first, middle, or last name. The sequence of the name is determined by the parents during the birth registration process.


Law and order
Immigration and Checkpoints Security