141 digital birth certificates issued on first day of new registration process: ICA

Baby Mia Qaisarah, who is a week old, was among the first to receive her digital birth certificate. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD FAHMI BIN NURKAMAL

SINGAPORE - The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) issued 141 digital birth certificates on Sunday (May 29), the first day such certificates are given in place of physical hard copies, its spokesman told The Straits Times on Monday night.

The authority added that it issued another 78 digital birth certificates as at 6pm on Monday, bringing the total to 219.

Over the past five years, about 39,100 birth certificates were issued each year, said the ICA. This works out to an average of 107 physical birth certificates issued a day previously. The number of digital certificates issued on Sunday was thus higher than this average.

In a move to make the registration process easier, physical birth and death certificates will no longer be issued from Sunday, the ICA announced earlier this month.

Instead, digital certificates are now issued and all registrations are done online. In-person birth and death registrations will no longer be available.

For some parents like Mr Muhammad Fahmi Nurkamal, the convenience of a digital birth registration was worth waiting for.

The 27-year-old watch technician's daughter was born on May 23, but he and his wife decided to wait a week so that they could register her birth digitally on Sunday.

Baby Mia was among the first to be issued a digital birth certificate here.

"It was a good choice because it ended up being very convenient. I registered her birth a little after midnight on May 29. It was all done in less than 20 minutes. I imagine it would be a hassle to head down to ICA to register and collect the birth certificate," said Mr Fahmi, whose wife, Ms Fadilah Selamat, 33, a financial adviser, gave birth to their firstborn at KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

Before the process was digitalised, parents had to register their child's birth at the hospital where the baby was born or at ICA's Registry of Births and Deaths at the ICA Building in Kallang.

Previously, parents also had the option to register their child's birth online, but they still needed to collect the physical certificate at the hospital or ICA Building.

Parents can now 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.

When asked if he plans to print out his daughter's birth certificate, Mr Fahmi said: "I don't think so. I think it's good enough that my wife and I have it stored in our phones so we will never lose it."

Mr Muhammad Fahmi Bin Nurkamal and wife Fadilah Selamat with their newborn baby Mia on May 30, 2022. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD FAHMI BIN NURKAMAL

Ms Nur Syifaa' Hussin, 34, a secondary school teacher, was also among the first to register the birth of her daughter under the new process.

She said the new process was a lot faster than when her husband, operations executive Muhammad Fazrul Aziz, 39, registered the birth of their son, who turns two in August.

"It was troublesome for him to queue up and fill up all the forms then at the hospital. But now, registration takes only a few minutes. I could retrieve information from Singpass so all I had to do was double-check the information," said Ms Syifaa'.

"I think new parents will welcome this move because it's just so convenient," she added.

An ICA spokesman said it has not received any feedback from parents on any issues encountered during the registration process.

But for first-time parents Nicholas Lai, 32, and Sylvia Ling, 31, a physical birth certificate was something they wanted their son, Ares, to have.

Mr Nicholas Lai and wife Sylvia with baby Ares and his physical birth certificate, on May 28, 2022. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MRS SYLVIA LAI

He was born last Thursday and the couple registered his birth at ICA on Saturday. They collected his physical birth certificate on the same day.

Mr Lai, a property management executive, said: "The new process is definitely convenient, but you miss the opportunity of having something tangible, something you are able to hold on to. For example, when someone graduates from university, they may prefer a physical certificate to a digital degree on their phone. It does make a difference. It's once in a lifetime."

He added: "We knew this would be the last few physical certificates issued in Singapore, so we wanted our baby to be one of those who got it."

Parents are given 42 days to register their child's birth. It is mandatory for all births, deaths and stillbirths here to be reported to the authorities.

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