‘I have a backache now’: People wait for hours to collect passports at ICA constructing 

SINGAPORE: The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) constructing on Kallang Road was a hive of exercise on Thursday (May 12) amid a rush for passports, with safety guards “screening” guests and directing them.

Among those that turned up was Mr Ad Maulod, who waited three hours earlier than amassing his new passport, a day earlier than he was due to journey to Malaysia. 

“I have a backache now (from standing in line),” he stated on the scenario contained in the constructing. 

He leaves for a household journey to Kuala Lumpur on Friday, and it was the second time queuing up for his passport in as many days, stated the 38-year-old analysis fellow.

On Wednesday, he waited 4 hours within the hope of getting the method expedited. 

He utilized for a passport on Apr 2, however with an previous picture. When it was rejected on Apr 22, he was informed it could take one other week for processing. 

“One week later, nothing happened so I started panicking,” he stated. It can be his household’s first journey collectively after a very long time. He was glad the hours spent ready paid off ultimately.  

There has been an “overwhelming demand” for passports because the easing of journey measures. 

In response to CNA’s queries, ICA stated that the variety of passport functions has “spiked” to greater than 7,000 per day since Singapore eased journey restrictions. 

At its peak, ICA acquired 14,000 functions in a day, it added. This is in contrast to about 2,000 functions per day pre-COVID. 

Currently, the typical ready time for passport processing is at least six weeks from the time of software, a spokesperson added.

WAITING OUT OF DESPERATION

Those who spoke to CNA at ICA constructing on Thursday had been conscious of the scenario however felt that they had no selection however to go down.

“I was desperate,” stated Mr Ad.

A senior administrative government who wished to be recognized solely as Bhuvana was equally in pressing want of a passport. She arrived at the ICA constructing after 8am, she stated.

After ready in a queue exterior the constructing for about an hour, she waited one other 4 hours on two completely different ranges of the constructing earlier than she was informed she may collect her passport at 4pm the identical day, she stated.

Ms Bhuvana is due to go on pilgrimage to India with 4 different members of the family in about two weeks. 

“I came because I was worried about not getting my passport in time,” stated Ms Bhuvana, who utilized for the doc greater than a month in the past. 

However, she believes that she is going to have to pay greater than her household did for a flight, given the brief runway to the date of departure. 

Ms Joanne Sheu, who like others went to the ICA constructing within the morning, was additionally informed she would have the option to collect her passport later within the day.

The 34-year-old who works within the finance business stated that she is visiting  household in Malaysia over the Vesak Day lengthy weekend. 

Some folks nevertheless, weren’t ready to collect their passports regardless of ready. 

An worker in a dental clinic who didn’t need to be named stated that she arrived at 8.30am and three hours later was given a slip informing her that she may collect her passport on Jun 2. She had utilized for her passport on Mar 31.

“If it’s not ready then, I am not sure what to do,” stated the girl who hopes to journey to Malaysia for her husband’s nephew’s wedding ceremony. 

ADHERING TO PHOTO GUIDELINES

An ICA spokesperson stated on Wednesday that Singaporeans who want to journey urgently are required to produce supporting paperwork in-person at the ICA constructing for evaluation on a case-by-case foundation.

The spokesperson added that processing of functions may take even longer than the present minimal of six weeks if there’s a higher surge within the variety of functions or there are points with the applying such because the {photograph} submitted doesn’t meet the necessities. 

She urged folks to be certain that the {photograph} submitted alongside their software meets ICA’s passport picture necessities to keep away from delays in processing. 

“If the submitted passport photo does not meet the requirements, applicants would have to resubmit a new photo, and additional time would be required to complete the transaction,” stated the spokesperson.

'I have a backache now': People wait for hours to collect passports at ICA building 

Jalelah Abu Baker

Source : channelnewsasia.com

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