THE Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will consider allowing citizens and permanent residents to update and replace their identity card for a second time when they are older.
This is especially relevant as life expectancy rises, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday.
Mr Masagos was responding to a suggestion by Mr Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC) to make NRIC replacement mandatory every 20 years.
Now, citizens and PRs must register for an NRIC (National Registration Identity Card) at 15 and re-register with an updated photograph when they turn 30.
Mr Baey said replacing NRICs at 50 and 70 would help capture the “visible changes” to facial features as people age.
“It is not possible that a person looks the same at ages 30 and 80,” he added.
Mr Baey, who said the change would improve security, noted that passports remain valid for just five years.
“Who am I to challenge someone who insists that he is the person in the IC photo, just that he has put on weight, lost weight or the photo was taken on a bad hair day?” he asked.
With plastic surgery becoming more common, it is important for people to keep ICA updated on facial feature changes so facial identification stays effective, he said.
The card should also be replaced regularly as it can be subject to wear and tear, particularly if card holders work in jobs that require them to present it frequently, said Mr Baey.
He added that some people could find it hard to foot the $60 fee for replacing a damaged card.
Mr Masagos said the vast majority of cards, since the current type was introduced in 1991, are still in good condition.
However, the ICA will consider waiving replacement fees for people with financial difficulties or whose cards were damaged due to situations beyond their control, such as in accidents or fires.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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