Singapore

All government agencies to accept digital ICs from next week

It can be used for patient registration, booking clinic appointments and more

Forgot to take your NRIC for registering at a polyclinic to see the doctor?

Soon, this might no longer be an issue, as people will be able to use the digital identity card in their Singpass mobile app instead.

From next Monday, all government agencies will accept digital ICs when individuals use or apply for public services in person, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Government Technology Agency (GovTech) said yesterday.

Besides patient registration, the digital IC can also be used to book appointments at public clinics, register for entry at government buildings, borrow books from public libraries, collect passports, as well as book Housing Board flats and pick up the keys.

For now, there will be some exceptions, such as when the law requires physical identity documents.

These include marriage registration, checking into hotels and investigations under the Criminal Procedure Code or the National Registration Act.

SNDGO and GovTech said the Government is working on amending laws to formalise the use of digital ICs for these uses as well. Other instances in which physical identity documents are still needed include school examinations where phones are not allowed to be brought in, as well as during national service enlistment when physical ICs are surrendered.

Mr Tan Chee Hau, director of SNDGO's planning and prioritisation directorate, said in a media interview that the Government is in talks with private sector industries on using the digital IC to sign up for new telco plans or open accounts with banks, among other uses.

The use of the digital IC and other Singpass features will negate the need for businesses to photograph people's identity documents for their records.

From next Monday, public agencies will no longer photocopy people's ICs.

However, the digital IC will not replace the physical document completely.

REPORT

If an IC holder loses his plastic card, he must still report the loss to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and apply for a physical replacement.

Still, from a broader smart nation perspective, Mr Tan said the digital IC shows that technology can bring convenience to people and improve their daily lives.

"The fact that you can feel at ease going out and about without your wallet and with just a phone because it supports e-payments and has the Singpass digital IC - that's a big step," he said.

For more details on the digital IC, visit go.gov.sg/singpass-qna

Technology