Congratulations, you just gave birth! But in addition to swaddling, burping, never-ending sleep deprivation, and, of course, plenty of precious cuddles, there is also critical paperwork to complete. Foreigners living in Singapore have 42 days to obtain a Dependent Pass (‘DP’) or another valid immigration status for their newborn. Otherwise, your little one could face financial penalties and/or deportation.
I remember leaving the hospital the day after giving birth and feeling overwhelmed. How was I going to keep this precious boy alive let alone run around doing paperwork? I told my husband that he better sort it out!
Fortunately, Singapore is number one when it comes to organisation and efficiency. Obtaining a DP was as easy as pie! I only needed to leave the house with bubba once to complete the requirements.
- Collect Birth Certificate and ICA Advisory Note
- Get Baby a Passport
- Apply for a Special Pass
- Lodge the DP Application
- The EPSC Appointment
- Know the Next Steps
Collect Birth Certificate and ICA Advisory Note
The first thing to do after your baby is born is to obtain their official birth certificate and the accompanying Advisory Note issued by the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (‘ICA’). It must be done within 14 days of your child being born. This is a great job for dads to do as the baby does not need to be present. You don’t need an appointment either.
Simply go to the ICA, located on Kallang Road near Lavender MRT, and bring the following documents with you:
- Notification of Live Birth issued by the hospital
- Parents identity cards, such as EP/DP/SP/LTVP
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Parents passports
The average wait time there is 15-20 minutes. Submit the documents at the counter and you will receive the birth certificate and advisory note instantly. Too easy!
More information can be found on the ICA website here.
Get Baby a Passport
Don’t waste any time in obtaining a passport for your little one. They must have a valid passport in order to get their DP. Contact your national embassy before you give birth to find out the process because trust me, you will be too foggy-brained to figure it out later! Typically, you need to apply for the citizenship certificate first, after which you can then get baby a passport. This can take anywhere from 3-10 weeks in total depending on the efficiency of your country as well as postal services. Sometimes, translations are also required.
For my little one, I applied for both an Australian as well a Japanese passport. Guess which one was ready first? Surprise, surprise: his Japanese passport! Although, to be fair, it was only because the Australian passport he initially received contained a typo. We had to wait a further 2 weeks for a second Australian passport to arrive with the typo corrected.
Keep in mind that when you are completing the DP formalities you will need to declare your baby’s nationality as well as religion and race. You may only declare one nationality, even if your baby is eligible for multiple passports. You can change your choice later on however this will incur a cost.
Apply for a Special Pass
A Special Pass is basically like an extension. Foreigners born in Singapore are given 42 days to secure valid immigration status in Singapore. Realistically speaking, it’s near impossible to get a DP for your baby within 42 days. Your baby needs a valid passport in order to apply for a DP. And before that, your baby will need a citizenship certificate to apply for a passport. That all takes time. So, the key thing you want to do is obtain an extension by applying for Special Pass.
You can only apply for this within 7-days of the 42-day duration. So, if your baby was born on 6 November then you would apply for a Special Pass between 7 and 14 December. Apply for the Special Pass via this online form.
A Special Pass lasts 42-days and can be extended if there are special circumstances. To do so, complete the online formalities here.
If you are an EP Holder you can also ask your HR or Mobility department at work to assist with the application and extension of a Special Pass.
Lodge the DP Application
Your baby’s DP application must be lodged by your employer. They will need the following document to do so:
- Birth certificate, and
- Passport, or
- Letter from the embassy showing that you have applied for a passport for your baby
Electronic copies of the above are sufficient. The processing time is around 3 weeks. Once the DP is approved you will receive an In-Principle Approval (‘IPA’) Letter. The letter should be signed by the Employment Pass (‘EP’) holder as well as the sponsoring employer. The signed letter is then issued to the Ministry of Manpower after which you can make an appointment to complete card registration at the Employment Pass Service Centre (‘EPSC’).
The EPSC Appointment
This is kinda the fun part, and the only time you need to leave the house with bubba for the DP process. The EPSC centre is located at 20 Upper Circular Rd, #04-01/02 The Riverwalk, Singapore 058416. The nearest MRT station is Clark Quay and we used public transport to get to our appointment.
While the EPSC is easy to find, access is not pram-friendly! There are a big set of steps to enter the building and the wheelchair lift is defunct. I needed one of the security guards to help me carry baby and pram down the stairs. But, once you are inside the building, there is a lift to take you to the fourth floor where the office is located.
As part of card registration, your little one will have their photo taken. Have you ever tried taking a baby’s headshot? It is not easy. Fortunately, staff are quite experienced in the matter. They have a special photo station where you can lie your baby down. They use a special toy to use to direct the baby’s eyes towards the camera. But even with all this expertise, my little boy’s headshot was still a tad wonky… he kept looking up at the ceiling lights. Oh well. Fortunately, they are not sticklers when it comes to baby headshots.
The EPSC centre runs like clockwork. We waited less than 8 minutes in the queue and completed all the formalities in under 30 minutes. Afterwards we walked to Clark Quay for a coffee (and baby nap) at the big Starbucks.
DP Mission Accomplished
And that is pretty much all it takes to apply for your baby’s DP. Easy right? After your EPSC appointment, you and your preciousness can wait at home for the DP card to arrive by registered mail. How exciting it is to open that special yellow envelope from the Singapore government!
For more information about the DP process, visit the MOM website.
Know the Next Steps
A DP is a very important ID document. It offers proof of your baby’s eligibility to reside in Singapore. Take care never to lose it. You will need this card for a variety of things such as enrolling your child in daycare/school or visiting the paediatrician.
Once you have your baby’s DP, don’t forget to:
- Always carry it on your person when you leave the house with baby
- Make an electronic copy for your personal records
- Register baby on the Trace Together app
- Ensure your baby is vaccinated for diphtheria and measles by 18 months of age as required under the Infectious Diseases Act (chapter 137)
- Notify MOM if you enrol your baby into any educational institution