S'poreans queue at ICA building for hours to expedite passport collection process

Those who need to travel urgently are required to produce supporting documents in-person for case-by-case basis assessment.

Belmont Lay | May 13, 2022, 03:29 AM

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A long queue has been forming outside the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building in Kallang on a daily basis as Singaporeans desperate to pick up their passports have been showing up physically hoping to expedite the process.

A video of the queue situation on May 9 that stretched around the building has been put up online.

CNA popped by on May 12 and spoke to some of those who were in the long queue.

Those who went down personally said they were "desperate" to get their new passports as they needed to travel very soon, with one of those interviewed saying he had to go to Malaysia the next day.

The man applied for a passport on April 2 with an old photo and it was rejected on April 22.

He was told it would take another week for processing.

He said he started panicking when nothing happened one week later.

Go down personally if you need to travel urgently

An ICA spokesperson said Singaporeans who need to travel urgently are required to produce supporting documents in-person at the ICA building for assessment on a case-by-case basis.

The processing of applications could take even longer than the current minimum of six weeks if there is a greater surge in the number of applications, ICA added.

Submitted photographs that do not meet requirements will result in delays as well.

To avoid delays in processing, photographs submitted with applications must meet ICA’s passport photo requirements.

Overwhelming demand

ICA also told CNA that there has been an “overwhelming demand” for passports since the easing of travel measures.

The number of passport applications has "spiked" to more than 7,000 per day since Singapore eased travel restrictions.

At its peak, ICA received 14,000 applications in a day, it added.

Pre-pandemic, there were about 2,000 applications per day.

The average waiting time for passport processing is at least six weeks from the time of application, ICA added.

How much waiting time at ICA?

A woman interviewed told CNA she waited in a queue outside the building for about an hour, and then waited another four hours on two different levels of the building before she was told she could collect her passport at 4pm the same day.

But some were not able to collect their passports despite waiting at ICA personally.

Another woman said she applied for her passport on March 31 and could only collect it on June 2.

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