By: Jackie Rai
A lot of travelers think that it is not important to take their NRIC (local identification document) with them when they travel overseas. They think that it is not necessary as the NRIC is not recognised in a foreign country and that only their passports will serve as an identification document overseas. I had that notion too – until I lost my passport at the Stuttgart airport in Germany recently.
I really don’t know how I lost it, but when I opened my bag, I could not find it anywhere. Of course I panicked, for without the passport I could not prove my identity to fly out of the airport.
But thank goodness that I had my Singapore NRIC with me. No, the immigration officers did not allow me to board my plane because I had the NRIC. But it helped me gain an emergency travel document from the Singapore consulate in Stuttgart.
The airport officials were quite helpful and provided me the numbers to the Singapore consulate in the Stuttgart. And all I had to do was take 2 passport sized photos and present my NRIC to the consulate officers to get my emergency travel document to fly out of the country.
I had to miss my flight and had to pay a little bit more to get on the next available flight out of the country, but my predicament would have been much worse if I had not had my NRIC with me. It would have been a real hassle to prove that I am a Singaporean to the consulate in the country.
So, here is my helpful advise to the many travelers who fly out of Singapore – bring your NRIC with you when you go overseas. You will never know when you will need it.
And here are some other tips from the Singapore Consular office for travelers:
What can our Consular Officer assist in?
- Provide you with information, advice and consular assistance.
- Issue you with an emergency travel document if you have lost your Singapore passport overseas.
Note: It is an Immigration requirement that you report the loss of your passport to the local police and furnish our Mission with a copy of this report.
- Contact your relatives or friends to request them to send you emergency funds for your repatriation or other necessary emergency expenses.
- Notify your next-of-kin in the event you are injured abroad.
- Notify your next-of-kin in the event you are arrested or detained abroad.
- Visit a Singapore citizen who has been arrested or imprisoned abroad and monitor that due process under the judicial system of that country is accorded to him or her.
- Help to obtain a list of officially registered local lawyers and translation services, where this is available.
- Help in arranging for the remains and personal belongings of a deceased Singaporean to be returned to Singapore.
- Help you during emergencies such as natural disasters or civil disorder in the foreign country.
What can our Consular Officer not assist in?
- Pay your medical, hospital, legal, accommodation, travel or other bills.
- Provide loans or cash your cheques.
- Post bails or pay fines on your behalf.
- Intervene in the judicial process of a foreign country or ignore local laws.
- Intervene in or act as an intermediary in disputes which are of a civil or commercial nature.
- Provide legal advice or initiate court proceedings on your behalf.
- Act as your guarantor or sponsor.
- Arrange for your accommodation or for your employment.
- Provide translation, mail-forwarding, telephone, fax/telex or other personal services.