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ICA to issue digital birth and death certificates from May 29, replacing physical copies

SINGAPORE — From May 29, parents will no longer need to physically register and collect their child's birth certificate as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) does away with physical birth certificates.

Physical birth and death certificates issued before May 29, 2022 will remain valid and will not be digitalised.

Physical birth and death certificates issued before May 29, 2022 will remain valid and will not be digitalised.

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  • From May 29, ICA will issue digital birth and death certificates and do away with physical copies
  • It will also be digitalising and simplifying the registration process
  • All parents will be able to register their child's birth online
  • Once a medical practitioner certifies a death online, the death will be automatically registered
  • The certificates will feature a QR code linked to an ICA system for verification purposes

SINGAPORE — From May 29, parents will no longer need to physically register and collect their child's birth certificate as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) does away with physical birth certificates.

Registration for births will also be fully digitalised, saving parents the hassle of physically registering their child's birth.

Similarly, physical death certificates will be replaced with a digital copy, which next-of-kins can download from the My Legacy portal.

The death registration process will also be simplified, only requiring a registered medical practitioner to certify the death for a digital death certificate to be issued.

Physical birth and death certificates issued before May 29 will remain valid and will not be digitalised, said an ICA spokesperson.

ICA's Head of Births and Deaths Zaleha Ali said: "The new digital birth and death registration processes are part of the Government's ongoing efforts to serve our citizens better.

"It will provide greater convenience for parents of newborns and reduce the administrative hassle for families when a loved one has passed on."

REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS

Since the LifeSG application was launched in June 2018, 80 per cent of eligible births in Singapore have been registered digitally. Currently, the application is only optimised for Singaporean couples who registered their marriage in Singapore and have Singpass accounts.

Parents ineligible to register their child's birth using the application would have to physically register at a hospital or at the ICA Building.

However, all parents are still required to collect the birth certificates at either a hospital or the ICA Building. 

But come May 29, all parents have to use LifeSG to register their child's birth within 42 days — as required under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act.

The issuance of a digital birth certificate will cost S$18 and "covers the cost of the birth registration process, including IT system development and maintenance costs associated with it", said ICA.

Following the registration, they will be able to download their child's birth certificate through ICA's e-Service — called the electronic Retrieval of Certificates and Instant Verification  at ICA's website or the MyICA Mobile application for 90 days.

After 90 days, should parents lose their child's digital birth certificate, they can email ICA_Birth_RBD [at] ica.gov.sg for assistance.

DIGITAL DEATH CERTIFICATES

The current death registration process requires a medical practitioner to issue a Certificate of the Cause of Death (CCOD) — which contains the death particulars of the deceased — to the next-of-kin.

The next-of-kin would have to register the death at either the public hospitals, neighbourhood police posts or centres, or the ICA Building with the CCOD and the deceased's identity documents.

Upon successful registration, they would be issued a physical death certificate and the permit to bury or cremate, which can be used for post-death matters.

But from May 29, next-of-kin need not register the death, or go down to collect any physical documents.

After the death is certified by a registered medical practitioner online, it will be automatically registered in ICA's system and a digital death certificate will be immediately generated.

"The medical practitioner or hospital staff will provide the next-of-kin with the required information, such as the digital death certificate number, to allow the next-of-kin to download the digital death certificate," said ICA.

Next-of-kin can download the digital death certificates from the My Legacy portal for up to 30 days.

There is no limit on the number of next-of-kin who can download the certificate, or the number of times the certificate can be downloaded, within 30 days.

The application for a permit to bury or cremate will also be digitalised, said the National Environment Agency (NEA).

With the digital death certificate, the applicant may authorise a person (such as a funeral director), or directly apply for a permit to bury or cremate online via NEA’s ePortal, the agency said.

ICA said that the My Legacy portal will provide step-by-step instructions on what to do when death occurs, such as how to register a death, arrange for funeral services and seek emotional support.

SAFEGUARDS FOR DIGITAL CERTIFICATES

To ensure digital authenticity and prevent fraud, the digital birth and death certificates feature a QR code that can be used 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," said ICA.

Its spokesperson added that all information on LifeSG, My Legacy and ICA's systems are stored and secured in the government database.

The authority said that there are plans to launch a digital document repository — which would allow people to access official documents anytime and anywhere — and will release more information when ready.

Should people require assistance with the new registration processes, they may contact ICA's dedicated 24-hour hotline at 6589 8707 from May 8 to June 30. They can also visit the ICA Building or ServiceSG centres.

Noting that foreign authorities may have different practices in accepting digital certificates, ICA said those facing difficulties should contact their nearest Singapore Overseas Mission for assistance.

Related topics

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority death certificate birth certificate NEA

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