The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is responsible for securing Singapore's borders against the entry of undesirable people and cargo through land, air and sea checkpoints.
ICA also administers immigration and registration services, such as issuing passports and identity cards to Singapore citizens, and immigration passes and permits to foreigners. As a security agency, we enforce laws and regulations relating to immigration and registration.
ICA keeps our borders safe and secure against the entry of undesirable persons and cargo through our land, sea and air checkpoints.
ICA also performs national registration functions, oversees the issuance of immigration and travel documents for Singaporeans and foreign visitors, and conducts operations against immigration offenders.
Our laws on immigration, registration and checkpoints include the following:
The Immigration Act (IA) serves to regulate the entry, stay and exit of foreigners. It provides a practical legal framework to facilitate the movement of people, while keeping criminals and undesirable elements
The Act was last amended in 2018 to enhance the Home Team’s operational effectiveness at the checkpoints and strengthen border security. Key amendments included:
The National Registration Act (NRA) regulates the registration of persons in Singapore for the issuance of identity cards and its related purposes.
The NRA was last amended in 2016, to allow the ICA to:
The amendments were aimed at strengthening the operational effectiveness and efficiency of ICA officers, and allows ICA to provide more convenient registration services to the public, while enhancing security in Singapore.
The Registration of Birth and Deaths Act (RBDA) regulates the registration of births and deaths in Singapore.
The Passports Act (PA) provides for the issuance of Singapore passports and other travel documents to be used as evidence of identity and citizenship by citizens of Singapore who are travelling internationally.
It regulates the use of the Singapore passport and its related matters.
The PA was last amended in 2007 to:
We are constantly working to enhance our operational excellence and building capabilities for the future. Our latest initiatives include leveraging technology to improve our checkpoint and services centre capabilities, so that we can provide secure, convenient and hassle-free experiences to travellers and customers.
New Clearance Concept (NCC)
At the checkpoints, ICA’s New Clearance Concept (NCC) aims to have most travellers move through automated lanes when they enter and leave Singapore. This provides both efficient immigration clearance and ensures the security of our borders. Some of the necessary technology (below) has already been put in place.
Today, eligible travellers can use the Multi-Modal Biometric System (MMBS) to clear immigration by scanning their face and iris. This is more secure than fingerprint clearance and is also contactless. Since July 2020, all travellers who have already enrolled their iris and facial biometrics with ICA are eligible for this new mode of clearance.
The traditional paper-based disembarkation and embarkation card has been replaced with the SG Arrival Card e-service and mobile app since 27 March 2020. This enhances the advance screening of passenger information and facilitates smoother immigration clearance.
Services Centre Next Generation (SCNG)
At the services centre, ICA envisions ‘3N’ for customers: “No Fuss; No Visit; No Waiting”. We will leverage a combination of technology, biometrics and customer-friendly processes to enable us to achieve this SCNG vision. Through these initiatives, customers can increasingly transact on-the-go, instead of having to transact face to face, over the counter.
By 2020, ICA had already implemented 15 e-Services that cover 99% of public transactions, reducing the need for members of the public to make physical trips to the ICA Building. One of the more recent initiatives, implemented on 1 October 2020, is the e-Service to allow Identity Card (IC) holders to report online a change of their residential address, rather than having to go down physically to a Police station or ICA Building.
To further encourage online transactions, ICA is progressively introducing push notifications via the SingPass mobile application or SMS to proactively inform or remind our customers of the transactions they may need to undertake. For example, ICA implemented on 1 September 2020, a digital notification service to notify members of the public who need to renew their Identity Card or Passport.
ICA is also working to digitalise ICA-issued documents so that residents will be able to access and retrieve them, as and when needed, via a secure digital platform, for example if they need the documents for identification or verification purposes. The first in line will be birth and death certificates, followed by long-term passes.
The SCNG vision of 'No Waiting' is embodied in the operations concept of the new ICA Services Centre, on which we started construction in October 2020. The new building is expected to be operational by 2023, providing a seamless, one-stop service to members of the public. It will have self-service kiosks for customers to collect ICA-issued documents at their convenience. Using these self-service kiosks, customers can look forward to longer opening hours, shorter transaction times and transact without needing to make prior appointment.