Option to allow boyfriend, girlfriend of citizens & PRs to enter S'pore no longer available: ICA

This category was introduced in October 2020.

Sulaiman Daud | July 16, 2021, 10:29 PM

The Vietnamese woman, who was first identified as part of the KTV Covid-19 cluster, was in Singapore on a short-term visit pass, sponsored by her boyfriend, under the Familial Ties Lane (FTL).

Now you may wonder how such a pass could be sponsored by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

According to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), this is a relatively new scheme introduced on compassionate grounds, to allow Singaporeans to reunite with foreign partners after being separated for a long time because of the pandemic.

But the category of "Boyfriend or Girlfriend of Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident" was removed in March 2021.

ICA clarified the details of the FTL in a press statement released on Friday, July 16.

Category expanded for inbound air travel

The Vietnamese woman was sponsored by a Singaporean citizen, who indicated in the application that he was her boyfriend.

The application was made under the category of "Boyfriend or Girlfriend" category. This was an archetype available "back then", according to ICA.

She entered Singapore in February 2021, a month before the category was removed.

This category was one of the expanded categories of profile allowed for inbound air travel, introduced in October 2020.

It was intended to allow Singaporeans or Permanent Residents who are in relationships with foreign partners, to be reunited after being separated for long periods due to the pandemic.

ICA said it had received many appeals from Singaporeans in this regard.

Removed in March 2021

In light of the changing border control measures, and as part of ICA's regular reviews, this category was removed in March 2021.

During the pandemic, ICA assesses applications to extend Short-Term Visit Passes on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration extenuating reasons, such as international travel restrictions and flight availability, and whether the applicants have family ties in Singapore.

In particular, Vietnamese nationals can only return to Vietnam via relief flights arranged by the Vietnamese authorities at the present moment.

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Top image by Nguyen Tan via Unsplash.