S'porean man waited close to 2 months for passport to be renewed only to find out photo rejected

Make sure you have the Singpass app and that you did not miss notifications.

Belmont Lay | June 01, 2022, 03:55 AM

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A man in Singapore, who wanted to go overseas for a holiday with his wife, submitted an application to get his passport renewed -- but found out close to two months later that his photo had been rejected all along.

The incident involving the 53-year-old man was reported by Shin Min Daily News, after he reached out to the Chinese media to share about his experience.

What happened

According to the man, who is identified as Zhuang, he and his wife were planning on travelling on June 24, but they had to renew their passports first before they could book their air tickets.

Zhuang claimed he submitted his application to renew his passport sometime in April 2022 -- some two months before his trip.

He said he first went to a shop in Bedok central to have his passport photo taken before proceeding to the community club to seek help from a staff to submit his application online.

Went down to ICA building

However, after waiting for close to two months, Zhuang said he still did not receive any updates about his passport renewal process.

In response, he went down to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building personally to find out what happened to his application.

It was then he was told that the photo he submitted had been rejected all along as it was not suitable.

As a result, his passport will not be ready in time for him to travel.

Why no news?

But it appeared that the lack of updates was a technological issue -- on the man's part.

He told Shin Min that he did not download the Singpass mobile application, which was why he missed the notification from the authorities to alert him that his passport photo had been rejected.

He said: "I didn't download the app before, so I missed the message."

Wait another month for new passport application to be processed

As a result, his travel plans have been put on hold.

According to the man, it will take another month for his passport application to be processed with the submission of a new photo.

This was after he went to have another photo taken for his application to be resubmitted.

He also said his upcoming travel plans have been pushed back as a result: "The planned itinerary has to be postponed too."

Why passport photo rejected

ICA revealed that on average, more than 7,000 people apply for passports every day, which is much higher than the 2,000 applications per day before the pandemic.

At its peak, it received some 14,000 applications.

The average waiting time for a passport at this stage is at least six weeks.

It may take longer if the number of applications surge, or if there are problems with the application, such as the passport photo not meeting requirements.

The passport photo requirements are based on the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), ICA said.

This is to ensure that the Singapore passport conforms to the specifications set out internationally and that it can be processed by other countries.

A passport photo can be rejected if it fails to meet the requirements, such as having a non-white background, the photo being reversed to show a mirror image, or if the photo submitted is not a recent one.

Additionally, applicants with uneven brightness on their face, or with shadows or reflections, may also be rejected.

Top photo composite image via Visit Singapore & Wikipedia