Saturday, May 17, 2008

Long Queue at Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Building

Long Queue at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore Building
Last week, I had to visit the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore. It was a Saturday. So, I got up early so that I can reach the ICA building by 8:00 a.m. I took the MRT train and alighted at the Lavender MRT station. When I came out of the station, it was about 5 minutes to 8:00 a.m.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is conveniently located just outside the door of the Lavender MRT station. So, I walked slowly to join the queue that normally forms up before the operations begin in the morning. It seemed like a never-ending walk as the queue meandered along the ICA building. It took me almost five minutes to reach the tail of the queue that stretched outside the ICA building and running along the canal.

I estimated the queue to be as long as one kilometre. This was the first time I encounter such a long queue outside the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building. As the queue started to move slowly, I came to the entrance and took the lift to the Permanent Resident Services section. Once again, there was a big queue outside the reception counter to get the tokens.

An immigration officer came along and announced that no more applications for permanent residency would be accepted. A small notice board appeared at the reception counter indicating that the quota for that day has been closed at 8:16 a.m. That’s very quick. All the slots were gone within 16 minutes. Fortunately, I went there to get my passport endorsed and not for permanent resident application. I could see lot of disappointed faces returning back with murmurs.

I have always enjoyed my visits to the ICA building. They have a very good system and the immigration officers used to be very kind and helpful. Even the waiting time would be happy moments with those Mr. Bean cartoons. I still think that ICA is very efficient in handling such a huge turnout everyday. But, should they look at extending their operating hours to cope with the increase in immigrants? I have the confidence that my next visit to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority would bring along a better experience.


  1. Anonymous9:35 PM

    I had the same experience just last Sat (17 Jan 200(). I arrived there to join the queue at 6:45am. After almost 2 hours of waiting, rushing and stopping ppl to jump the queue, all the tickets for PR application for the day were gone, by 8:08am. It was just a joke!

    I expressed to an officer about the fact that the online e-appointment only has two available days in late April through out 2009. What are other means to get a ticket? She acknowledged the issue about the e-appointment system and then from there explained I could make an appointment in person.

    I then rejoined the queue and got offered an appointment in Mid Feb. It like 9am when I received my ticket.

    In a nutshell, the 2+ hours of wait allowed me to advance my booking from April to Feb.

    As I want the PR status asap, I think I will go back to join the queue again to try my luck.

    In general, the female officer I spoke with either has very limited English or poor customer service skills.

    The whole experience only validate my impression about singapore. World class infrastructure but 2nd class skill set. I witness it everyday since I arrived here.

  2. I think you had a bad experience. Seems like ICA is not catching up with the immigrants flow to Singapore. Hope you get your PR soon.

    I am generally OK with the customer service in Singapore, as we had been brought up in a country where it had been much worse. Thanks for your comments.