01 August 2013

Discrepancy in Procedure for Surrendering Long-Term Visit Pass

My wife left for Thailand today to follow-up on her pregnancy, I read a clause in the Terms and Condition for Long-Term Visit Pass that states the following,

Under regulation 8(5)(f) of the Immigration Regulations, should you intend to leave Singapore and return only after the expiry of the Pass issued to you, you are required to surrender this Card to the Immigration Officer at the Checkpoint at the time of your departure.

The "you" in the clause refers to the holder of the LTVP i.e. my wife. Her pass is expiring on 31 Dec 2013, and she will return after that date because her expected period of delivery is around Feb 2014, so that means she will have to surrender her pass.

But when my wife tried to surrender her pass at the immigration counter, the officer told her to provide a cancellation form, my wife then called me and I rushed back to the departure area, I tripped and fell at the escalator, how clumsy of me. I was panicky because her flight was at 10.55am, by the time she called, it was already 10.01am and I was in the bus on my way back home.

So when I reached the departure area, my wife was waiting outside, the problem is that I cannot enter the departure area to speak with that immigration officer, so I spoke to a guy in black jacket, I assumed he is from ICA, but after telling him our problem, and him providing unhelpful answers, I noticed a Jetstar logo on his jacket and realized he is not from ICA, what the hell man, why the heck did he even bother with me, don't know just say don't know, not from ICA just say not from ICA, #%^&%*.

Anyway I spoke to the security staff who checks boarding pass, I thought he is from ICA so I told him my problem, his face tells me he can't help because it seems like he doesn't have any answer for me, so he directed me to the information counter (after that I realized he is from Certis Cisco because he is wearing the same kind of uniform as the guys checking public buses travelling in between airport terminals). Well at least he was quick to direct.

At the information counter, I was met with two ladies, I told them about our problem, it took a while for them to realize what was going on and finally, one of them asked me to go to Lavender (obviously ICA Building) to cancel my wife's LTVP. At this time, I lost my temper, it was already 10.20am, my wife's flight was 10.55am, how the heck would we be able to make it. Then another lady with the word "Customs" on her jacket came to the counter, I thought help has arrived but unfortunately, she can't help much, but at least she tried to understand the situation and I appreciate that. I left the counter with no answer, again.

I didn't think we would find any help in the short amount of time left, so I told my wife to board the plane without surrendering her pass and I'll go home and find out what we should do next rather than waste our time asking around.

After I reached home, I read the Terms and Condition again and again, it clearly states that my wife has to surrender her pass to the immigration officer at the checkpoint at the time of departure, the checkpoint obviously refers to the immigration counter, if not, where else could that be? ICA building? Then why the hell did they put "at the time of your departure"? How in the world would anyone be able to surrender the LTVP at ICA building and then rush to the airport to board the plane?

What is clear to me now is a screw up from ICA, obviously the requirements in the clause does not match with their actual procedure, the question now is, are we supposed to be present at ICA building to cancel our pass and obtain a cancellation form before we proceed to the airport or are we supposed to follow the clause in the T&C?

I called ICA, nobody pick up, I called their Quality Service Manager (QSM), line busy, finally I emailed them and their auto-mailer says they will get back within 5 working days, awesome, luckily I kept REACH in the loop and asked them to help bring my case forward. I must add ICA to my T5GATLTPPO list.


Currently HDB is number 1, followed by ICA, congratulations, well done. *Applauds*

Update: A lady from ICA replied to my mail within 2 hours, she said that they are looking into my case, I am impressed, I thought it would take them at least 5 days to respond, seems like keeping REACH in the loop is a good idea.

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