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The Singapore Passport Is Ranked First In The World: 6 Things You May Not Know About Our Passport

Singapore’s passport is #1 again


Travelling is something that Singaporeans take for granted. Perhaps it is the fact that Singapore is geographically a “little red dot”, but Singaporeans do love travelling overseas (even if it is across the causeway to JB). Thankfully, we as holders of the red Singapore passport have access to many destinations in the world. In fact, we can go to 194 destinations without applying for a visa in advance. Update: In 2024 Singapore’s passport retook the top spot, sharing it with France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain.

Here are some facts that you may not know about our red Singapore passport.

#1 We Can Visit 194 Destinations Without Applying For A Traditional Travel Visa

Most Singaporeans are fortunate enough not to know the inconveniences of applying for a traditional travel visa until they need to apply for a visa for non-leisure purposes.

The Singapore passport is the second most powerful passport in the world. According to the Henly Passport Index, the Singapore passport grants visa-free access to 194 destinations, just one destination lesser than Japan which has the top-ranked passport. We are also tied with South Korea with the same number of visa-free destinations. These include destinations that issue visas on arrival or via electronic travel authority.

The index covers 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations with data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). Based on these figures, Singapore passport holders can access about 85% of the travel destinations in the world.

Interestingly, the Singapore passport is one of the few in the world that grants visa-free entry into Cuba.

Read Also: Guide To Overseas Data Roaming Plans

#2 It Is Illegal To Not Report The Loss Of Your Singapore Passport

With such great worldwide access, our Singapore passport is a highly valuable asset. That’s why losing our Singapore passport is a big deal. This is because under the Passports Act (Chapter 220), a lost passport must be reported within 14 days of losing it.

Even if we don’t plan on replacing our passport, the loss must still be report within 14 days. If we misplaced our passport and reported it as lost, our lost passport cannot be used later even if we find or recovered it. Recovered passports should be surrendered to ICA within 14 days. Failure to surrender a recovered passport is an offence and could incur a fine and/or imprisonment.

Read Also: What To Do When You Lose Your Passport In Singapore Or Overseas

#3 The More Times We Lose Our Passport, The More Fees We Pay

Losing our passport isn’t just an inconvenience, it is a loss of document with many security and biometric features.

The first time we lose our Singapore passport, we would need to pay a $50 fee, on top of the prevailing passport fee* of S$70 or $80 to replace it. The second and subsequent time we lose our passport losses, this fee increases to $100, bringing the total cost to replace our passport to $170 or $180.

*the prevailing passport fee is $70 (for applications submitted online, by post, or deposit box) or $80 (for applications submitted over the counter at ICA Building or at the Singapore Overseas Mission).

#4 We Can Collect Our Passport Outside Of ICA

Our Singapore passports are issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and for most of us, it is the default place where we collect our new or replacement passports. Uncollected passports will be cancelled after three months, and the passport fee will not be refunded.

We can also choose to collect at our nearby post office if we are eligible. There is no additional fee for passport collection at the selected post offices. For the post office, there is a 4-day window for collection. If we don’t collect within the 4 days from our appointment date, our passport will be returned to ICA Building and we will have to collect at ICA Building.

If we are residing overseas and have applied for a replacement passport through the Singapore Overseas Missions, we can coordinate our overseas passport collection with the Overseas Mission.

#5 Biometric Security Features Since 2006

Singapore has been an early adopter of biometric passport since 2006. The latest design for the Singapore passports issued from 2017 incorporates new visa page designs and additional security features including (1) window lock, (2) surface transformation, (3) multiple laser image, (4) diffractive optically variable image device (DOVID) and (5) embossed tactile design.

Source: ICA

  1. The window lock shows an image of the passport holder which can be viewed as a positive or negative portrait when tilted and viewed in transmitted light.
  2. The surface transformation design is in the shape of Singapore’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim, that displays light reflective and animation effects when viewed from different angles.
  3. The Multiple Laser Image (MLI) creates a morphing image in the shape of the Singapore map when viewed at different angles.
  4. An improved Diffractive Optically Variable Image Device (DOVID) design, including the shape of the lion head, has an achromatic effect when tilted at different angles.
  5. An embossed tactile design featuring the five stars

#6 There Was A Blue Singapore Passport

Source: Singaporememory.sg

The first Singapore passport was issued on 17 August 1965 and had no mention of the “Republic of Singapore”. This was the Singapore Provisional Passport Subsequently, after 18 June 1966, passports were issued by the “The President of the Republic of Singapore”.

Between 1967 to 1996, Singapore had a separate blue passport that allowed travel to just West Malaysia. This was the Singapore Restricted Passport which was introduced to facilitate the high number of commuters between Singapore and West Malaysia. This was discontinued on 1 June 1999 due to a dwindling number of commuters over the years.

Singapore Citizens Are Eligible For Fast Track Immigration Processes Under Various Schemes

For Singapore Citizens holding Singapore passports can also apply for fast track immigration clearances via various schemes.

One reason Singapore become an early adopter of biometric passports was to comply with the requirements for the US Visa Waiver Program. Today, Singapore Citizens can apply for Global Entry which allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers arriving in the US. After enrolment into Global Entry, we will also be eligible to participate in TSA Precheck. This expedites traveller screening through participating TSA security checkpoints, which will eliminate the need to remove shoes, belts, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, or light jackets.

Within the Asia Pacific region, business travellers can also apply for the APEC Business Travel Card that allows for pre-clearances within the participating APEC member economies. This also enables Singapore Citizens who are business travellers to use the fast track immigration lanes at participating international airports.

Read Also: What To Do When You Lose Your Singapore National Registration Identity Card (NRIC)

Travel Tips

As more countries move towards a cashless society, we can now visit countries with less physical cash required. Cashless transactions are not only safer and more convenient, but would allow us to enjoy more competitive exchange rates as compared to traditional moneychangers.

If you do not have a multi-currency account or wallet, you can register for YouTrip, and receive a S$5 welcome credit when you use the DollarsAndSense promo code “DNS5”). In addition to making payments in over 150 foreign currencies, YouTrip allows you to exchange and store up to 10 currencies in your wallet.

Another great option is the Revolut Card, where you can receive a bonus S$15 top-up to your account when you sign up using the DollarsAndSense link. It offers a choice of three tiers of its card, with the free standard tier allowing you to hold and send money in more than 30 currencies.

This article was first published on 25 Jan 2023 and has been updated with the latest information.

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