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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Re-register my I.C.

ICA I.C. registration hall
At the prime age of 30, every Singapore citizen is obligated to re-register his/her identity card. If the card is not re-registered by the citizen's 31st birthday, then that person is liable to be fined.

As I did not intend to receive a black mark on my record, and because I'd already received the first reminder, I decided to do my citizen-ly duty today. I could've registered online but didn't have a photo available. Besides, I'd still have to collect it personally, so might as well go down and get it over with.

I arrived at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Building at 11am. From what I'd heard, I expected the whole process to take two hours to complete, so I was half-expecting to come back another day to collect my I.C. Nonetheless, I went ahead as planned.

On this Saturday morning, there were people rushing in and out of the building. Security guards were there to maintain order and also direct people to the correct floors. I don't know what exactly was on the first floor, because I proceeded directly to the escalator.

Upon arriving at the second floor, I had a weird feeling, like I'd been thrown back into the past. The eighties, to be more exact. There were people everywhere! Long queues to take photos. People waiting patiently in the halls. Families with small children milling about. It was very surreal, like nothing had changed since the first time I'd applied for a passport... more than 10 years ago!

The third floor was more calm (perhaps as testament to the popularity of the Singapore passport). I wanted to get a queue ticket for the I.C. re-registration, but saw that the estimated waiting time was only five minutes! Meanwhile, the queue for taking a photo seemed longer. So I went to join that queue instead.

It took about 20 minutes to clear the queue (there were about 20 people in front). The process was very smooth: pay $5.25 for four headshots, enter the booth, stare towards the digital camera in front, snap!, come out and watch the attendant digitally manipulate the photo (adjust saturation, clean out blemishes), print and collect the four photos. And all that took less than five minutes! Fast!

I then proceeded to the actual re-registration. The waiting time was indeed about five minutes. But I didn't have a very good experience at the counter. The woman was obviously very used to the process, so her actions came across as very rough. I felt manhandled by her when she pressed my thumbs against the scanner. Also, it was fortunate that I was able to catch every word she said (in spite of the background noise), otherwise I wouldn't have known what to do next, like paying $10 for the new card.

Next step was to collect the card itself. I didn't realise that I had to drop my collection slip in a box, something that the counter lady didn't inform me. But I saw others doing it, and when I went up to check, a kind middle-aged lady asked me if I was collecting my I.C. I said yes, she asked for my slip, then told me to have a seat. The waiting time was supposed to be at least half an hour, but I received my brand spankin' new I.C. in less than 10 minutes.

Total time spent at ICA Building: about an hour. Most of the time was spent queuing for the photo. The rest of the time was spent figuring out what to do next. The process might be smooth, but unless you're a seasoned veteran at such things (and I don't know many people who apply for I.C.'s regularly), it can be very easy to get lost.



Carolyn said...

u so fast kena already meh? tot 1 more year to go?

Yuhui said...

Not according to the form. You have until before your 31st birthday to re-register.

Anonymous said...

I got someone to take my photo using a digital camera against a white wall. Use Photoshop to select the background and adjust to make it as white as possible. Paid online. At Kallang, the collection took about 10 minutes from pushing the button to get the queue slip till getting the IC. Fortunately the lady was less rough with my finger, but I didn't expect to have it inked as well - bring some moist tissue. However, you will have to wait 5 days from the online submission till collecting the IC ... instead of on the spot, but you do save some time waiting there.

Yuhui said...

I wanted to do it online too, but sian lah... :P

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