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Inclusion of Parents’ Dialect in the Digital Birth Certificate

            The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has received several queries about the non-inclusion of the parents’ dialect in the digital birth certificate of a child.

2.          Several fields of information which are not necessary for policy and other administrative needs, including the parents’ dialect, were not included in the digital birth certificate, to simplify the registration process, and to reduce the number of fields. Information about the parents’ dialect continues to be registered by ICA, and is available in Singpass.

3.          However, we acknowledge the feelings that have been expressed on the matter. We have therefore decided to include parents’ dialect[1] in digital birth certificates issued from 1 September 2022.

Dialect Information in the Birth Certificate

4.          Prior to the introduction of the digital birth certificate, the physical birth certificate of a child carried the registered dialect of the parents. It did not carry the dialect of the child. 

5.          With the introduction of online birth registration and the digital birth certificate to replace the physical birth certificate, the registration process was simplified. The number of fields in the digital birth certificate was also reduced. In addition to parents’ dialect, the following information was excluded - the parents’ country of birth, the mother’s address, the child’s place of birth registration, and a section called “Informant’s Particulars”. Only information which is required for policy or other public administration needs, was retained in the digital birth certificate.

6.          The information relating to a person’s dialect is still available in Singpass. Singaporeans who are 15 years and older and provisioned with a Singpass account can access their dialect information via Singpass under the Personal tab. For those below the age of 21, their dialect information can also be found in their parents’ Singpass profile, under the Family tab.

Background Information

7.          Upon birth, in the national registration database, ICA ascribes to a child the dialect of the father. Individuals, including the child, the father or the mother, can subsequently change his/her dialect registered with the Government via a written declaration to ICA. This means that an individual can have a different registered dialect from his/her father, or even both parents. 

8.          This has been the practice since the 70s. In consideration of the fact that there were races in Singapore that did not have dialect groups, individuals were allowed to also register the language/dialect that they spoke, instead of their dialect by lineage.  Hence, dialect registration changed to the current practice, where individuals can change their registered dialect via a written declaration to ICA.

9.          Those who wish to check the latest registered dialect of an individual can do so via the individual’s Singpass, which is the authoritative source of the latest registered dialect information. The dialect information of the parents in the child’s birth certificate, may not be their latest registered dialect.

Inclusion of Parents’ Dialect in the Digital Birth Certificate

10.         We should have made clear the reasons for not including the information on the parents’ dialect in the digital birth certificate, and that the information was still available in Singpass.

11.         Taking into account the feedback, however, ICA will include the parents’ dialect in the digital birth certificate of a child, from 1 September 2022. For digital birth certificates issued between 29 May and 31 August 2022, parents may re-download their child’s digital birth certificate from 1 September 2022 onwards, with the inclusion of the parents’ dialect, at no additional cost. More details will be shared on the ICA website ( in due course.

12 AUGUST 2022


[1] Both father’s dialect and mother’s dialect will be reflected in the digital birth certificate.