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Just noticed on the Singapore arrival card that there is this question:

Have you ever used a passport under different name to enter Singapore? If yes state name(s) different from current passport.

I travelled to Singapore for a one night stopover several years ago under my former name. I have now changed my name legally in my home country and subsequently I have a new passport with my new name. I am travelling to Singapore early next year with my new name. If I answer yes to this question, what will happen to me? Will I be further interrogated and asked for supporting documentation? What happens if I don’t bring supporting documentation? Obviously I want the start of my trip to be hassle free, so I am asking if someone who was in a similar predicament will tell me what happened to them when they arrived in Singapore.

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    I’m not sure why this is a ‘predicament’, it must happen all the time to 000’s of travellers. If you changed your name legally you must have paperwork to prove it, if you’re worried why not just take that with you and/or your previous passport? – Traveller Sep 29 '18 at 8:48
  • I believe it’s just a way for them to connect the dots. Millions of people change their name every year (think women getting married in many western cultures), this is just a non-event. – jcaron Sep 29 '18 at 12:54
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If you answer yes to that question you will be asked to provide details of your previous name, and almost certainly nothing more.

All countries track visitors to their country, even across trips, so that they know how many times you've visited, how long you've been in the country, if you have been warned/banned by immigration/customs/police in the past for any reason, etc.

If you change names - which is a common practice for many people around the world (the most obvious being women in many countries when they get married) - then immigration may no longer be able to track your previous stays as they may see you as a different person. Answering this question and providing your previous name will allow them to join the records for these two 'different' people into one.

Note that answering this question incorrectly doesn't mean that they won't be able to detect your previous details/visits. Many of the details on your passport will have not changed (eg, date/place of birth, and likely at least some of your name), which when used in conjunction with the bio-metrics that many countries capture when you enter (photo, fingerprints, etc) they still maybe be able to determine your previous name - at which point you would likely experience difficulty due to answering this question incorrectly, which would likely be seen as an attempt to circumvent the immigration procedures in some way.

So in summary, answer it correctly and you'll get an extra question or two. Answer is incorrectly and you could be in for a lot more questions and trouble - which is true of most questions on an immigration form!

  • That field is probably there to catch people who use several passports to try and and cheat Singapore's immigration. They couldn't care less about people who change names. – JonathanReez Sep 29 '18 at 22:36
  • @JonathanReez What if they changed names to cheat Singapore's immigration? – Doc Sep 29 '18 at 22:43
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    Or that too. As long as you're not trying to overstay or evade a ban, nobody cares. – JonathanReez Sep 29 '18 at 23:14

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