Entry route for boyfriends or girlfriends of S'pore citizens and PRs removed in March: ICA

The Familial Ties Lane facilitates entry for immediate family members of Singaporeans and permanent residents. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The option for unmarried partners of Singaporeans or permanent residents to enter the Republic through familial ties was removed in March, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Friday (July 16).

It was through this option that the first known case in a growing cluster linked to KTV lounges, a short-term visit pass holder from Vietnam, was allowed entry into Singapore.

She was sponsored by her Singaporean boyfriend.

In October last year, ICA allowed boyfriends or girlfriends of Singapore citizens or permanent residents as a profile category under the Familial Ties Lane.

This facilitates entry for immediate family members of Singaporeans and permanent residents.

ICA said it had received many appeals from Singaporeans to allow a category for unmarried partners, as travel restrictions during the pandemic had led to long periods of separation between them.

However, the category was removed in March, said ICA, "in view of the evolving border control measures, and as part of ICA's regular reviews on the requirements and application processes for travellers seeking entry into Singapore".

"Similar to pre-Covid-19 days, foreigners are also assessed at the point of entry, and dubious travellers will be refused entry even if they have prior entry approvals," the statement said.

ICA added that during this pandemic, it assesses applications to extend short-term visit passes on a case-by-case basis, "taking into consideration extenuating reasons, such as international travel restrictions and flight availability, and whether the applicants have family ties in Singapore".

It said: "We would like to remind members of the public to submit truthful and accurate information.

"ICA will not hesitate to take firm enforcement action against those found to have made false declarations."

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