Why and how to update your address on NRIC

The address on the NRIC is used by government agencies to contact Singapore residents for official purposes.
The address on the NRIC is used by government agencies to contact Singapore residents for official purposes.PHOTO: ST FILE

A Singaporean man aged 28 has been charged with failing to change the residential address on his NRIC. The National Registration Identity Card is the compulsory identity document issued to Singapore citizens and permanent residents. People must register for an NRIC within a year of turning 15, or on becoming a citizen or permanent resident.

The Straits Times looks at why the residential address on the NRIC must be updated and how to do it.

Q: Why is it necessary to update the address on your NRIC?

A: The address on the NRIC is used by government agencies to contact Singapore residents for official purposes. For example, SingPass transactions such as the resetting of one's password and the national health survey by the Ministry of Health are administrated through mail using the residential address found on NRICs.

Under the National Registration Act, all NRIC holders need to report a change of address within 28 days of moving to a new residence, whether in or out of Singapore. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said it is people's responsibility to update their residential addresses.

Q: How does one get it done?

A: Applications to change an address is mostly done online with no charge, either personally or through a proxy. The proxies must provide the applicant's NRIC number and its date of issue to access the e-Service. Since Oct 1, the three-step process has been done through the ICA's website:

1 Residents can go to the change of address e-Service on the website (https://go.gov.sg/ic-address) and log in using their SingPass.

2 Applicants will get a personal identification number (PIN) sent by mail to their new address. Applicants then enter the PIN via the e-Service to verify the new address, and will receive an instant acknowledgement that their change of address is successful.

3 Applicants will be sent a sticker with their new address, and must then fix the sticker on the back of their NRIC.

Q: Is it not handled at neighbourhood police centres?

A: From Dec 1, the police will no longer process change of address requests. Singapore residents who are unable to make transactions online and have no proxies to assist them can visit the ICA for help.

Q: Why are some people not updating their addresses?

A: Some do it to exploit their original addresses - for instance, they keep their parents' addresses on their NRICs in order to register their children at preferred schools which may be located nearby. Others who are renting for short periods may believe it is troublesome to do so. ST understands that some people may be keeping old addresses on their NRIC for undesirable purposes such as avoiding loan sharks.

Q: What are the penalties?

A: The penalty for failing to report a change of address is a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

Q: What if I am living somewhere else temporarily for legitimate reasons such as while renovating my home?

A: As the law does not specifically define a "place of residence", what constitutes an offence is judged on a case-by-case basis. If a person intends to go back to the registered address, he or she is unlikely to be viewed as an offender.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2020, with the headline 'Why and how to update your address on NRIC'. Print Edition | Subscribe