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     All new Singapore passports to be BioPass by August 2006

Continued from FrontPage of Article

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Picture (iii) ¨C Polycarbonate data page

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Picture (iv) ¨C Visa pages

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ANNEX B

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE BIOPASS

Q1: Who is eligible to apply for a Singapore biometric passport (BioPass) and why?

A1: Certain groups of individuals will be among the first to carry the Singapore biometric passport. These groups, including Government officials and SIA crew, will help ICA to uncover and address any as-yet undetected issues early before the full implementation of the BioPass. We have taken a careful and calibrated approach for the BioPass as this is the first time Singapore is issuing biometrically-enabled passports. An important consideration is that our passport policies should not cause undue inconvenience to Singaporeans travelling overseas.

Q2: Are there any conditions attached to the BioPasses issued to them?

A2: Phase 1 holders of the BioPass would be asked to give regular feedback on their usage experiences with the BioPass to ICA.

Q3: I need to make a trip to the US soon. Can I apply for the BioPass?

A3: Singapore is taking a phased approach for the introduction of our BioPass. Singaporeans cannot apply for the BioPass in Phase 1 of the implementation of the BioPass. In Phase 1, only certain groups, including Government officials and SIA crew, will be issued with BioPasses.

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All Singapore citizens carrying valid machine-readable passports already enjoy visa-free entry to the US. There is no need for Singapore citizens to hold a BioPass for this. It is only after the US-set deadline of 26 Oct 2006 that countries under the Visa Waiver Programme, including Singapore, have to introduce biometric passports.

Q4: Will my existing non-biometric Singapore passport be recognised by foreign authorities, especially by the US? Will I face problems with the US immigration authorities if I don't hold a BioPass?

A4: Singapore citizens carrying valid machine-readable passports will continue to be recognised by foreign authorities including the US. Such passport holders already enjoy visa-free entry to US and thus, there is no need for such passport holders to hold BioPasses. All our passports issued locally from 2 January 1991 are machine-readable.

Nonetheless, we would like to highlight that the grant of entry into a foreign country is the prerogative of the foreign immigration authority concerned, based on the country¡¯s assessment criteria. Hence, possession of a valid passport does not always guarantee entry to the foreign countries.

Q5: When will the public be eligible to apply for BioPass?

A5: After phase 1, ICA will look into the full implementation of BioPass. By August 2006, all new passports will be BioPass. More details will be released then.

Singapore citizens carrying valid machine-readable passports currently enjoy visa-free entry to US. All our passports issued locally from 2 January 1991 are machine-readable.

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Q6: How can BioPass holders take care of their passports?

A6: All passports should be accorded proper respect and care. As the BioPass contains a chip and antenna embedded in the data page, BioPass holders are advised to treat the BioPass like any portable electronic device i.e. by ensuring that it does not become wet, bent or mutilated.

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Source: www.ica.gov.sg News Release 31 Mar 2006

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