How the lack of an app may have delayed a passport and a journey
A 53-year-old Sinngaporean planned an overseas holiday with his wife in June, and says he submitted an application in April to get their passports renewed. Now, after several weeks - and probably too late - he has found out that the photo he submitted had been rejected.
And it seems one reason for this situation is that he did not have the Singpass app on his phone.
The man, identified only as Zhuang by Shin Min Daily News, which reported his story, said they were planning to travel on June 24.
The passport application was made about two months ahead of that, before they booked any tickets.
Mr Zhuang said he had his passport photo taken at a shop in Bedok central. He then went to a community club for help to submit his application online.
When he did not hear anything more about his application for so long, he went to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building to make enquiries.
And that is when he found out that his photo did not meet the requirements.
It seems that if he had installed the Singpass app on his phone he would have got a notification that the photo had been rejected.
"I didn't download the app, so I missed the message," he told Shin Min.
According to him, it will take another month for his passport application to be processed with a new photo.
So they have had to put off their travel plans.
ICA revealed recently that on average, more than 7,000 people were applying for passports every day, compared with 2,000 a day before the pandemic.
So, what could have been wrong with Mr Zhuang's photo?
ICA said Singapore’s passport photo requirements are based on the standards of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
This is to ensure that the Singapore passport conforms to specifications set out internationally, and that it can be processed by other countries.
A passport photo can be rejected if it fails to meet the requirements, for instance if it has a non-white background, if it is reversed to show a mirror image, or if it is not a recent one. There should also not be uneven brightness on the face, shadows or reflections.
And remember, if you think you can live without apps on a smartphone, it’s not going to be easy.