Physical birth, death certificates no longer issued from May 29

Parents can register the birth of their newborns via the LifeSG app or website and receive the digital certificate instantly. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Physical birth and death certificates will no longer be issued from May 29, in a move to make the registration processes easier, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Sunday (May 8).

Digital certificates will be issued instead and in-person birth and death registrations will no longer be done.

From May 29, parents can register the birth of their newborns via the LifeSG app or website, and receive an instant notification to download the digital certificate.

They will be given up to 90 days to download the document, which can be stored and saved on their devices.

Currently, parents can register their child's birth at the hospital where the baby is born or ICA's Registry of Births and Deaths.

There is currently also the option to register their child's birth online, but parents still need to collect the physical certificate at the hospital or ICA Building.

Since the launch of the LifeSG app in June 2018, ICA said 80 per cent of all eligible births in Singapore have been registered digitally.

Following full digitalisation of the process on May 29, parents will still be given 42 days to register their child's birth and will still need to pay $18 to receive the digital certificate.

It is mandatory for all births, deaths and stillbirths here to be reported to the authorities.

ICA is also streamlining the death registration process to ease the administrative burden of post-death matters on the next of kin.

Currently, a medical practitioner will issue a certificate of the cause of death (CCOD) to the next of kin, who will then have to register the death at public hospitals, neighbourhood police posts or the ICA Building by producing the CCOD and the deceased's identity documents.

A physical death certificate will then be issued.

The process will be simplified from May 29.

A medical practitioner will certify the death online, which will be automatically registered in ICA's system.

After receiving the death certificate number from the medical practitioner, the next of kin can download the digital certificate from the My Legacy website.

There is no fee for registering a death.

ICA said government agencies and private entities can use QR codes included on all digital certificates to verify their authenticity. The QR code will be linked to an ICA system, where details on the digital certificate can be verified against ICA's database.

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Physical birth and death certificates will no longer be issued from May 29 as birth and death registration processes are made simpler, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority on Sunday (May 8).

Data protection and privacy measures are also in place to prevent data loss or theft, unauthorised access, as well as undue disclosure, said ICA.

A spokesman told The Straits Times that all information in LifeSG, My Legacy and ICA's systems will be stored and secured in the government database.

"The Government recognises the importance of data protection. We are committed to safeguard citizens' personal data by complying with the Public Sector Governance Act (PSGA). The PSGA governs data-sharing and protection within the public sector," the spokesman added.

ICA said all current physical certificates are still valid and that there are no plans to convert them into digital ones.

Ms Cora Chen, ICA's deputy commissioner of policy and transformation, said: "The digitalisation of the birth and death registration processes, and issuance of digital certificates will provide greater convenience for parents of newborns, and reduce administrative hassle for next of kin of the deceased so that they may focus on other immediate tasks on hand, such as funeral arrangements."

She added that there are also plans to launch a one-stop digital document repository for Singaporeans to access their official documents easily, in anticipation of the growing number of digital documents.

Those unable to register online or need help can call 6589-8707, which is a temporary hotline to assist citizens with the new birth and death registration processes.

Singapore's preliminary resident birth numbers were around 34,200 last year, while 24,220 deaths were recorded last year.

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