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In Singapore, are tourists required to carry their passports at all times? (Or, for that matter, any photo identification? For me, they're the same, since I don't have any other photo ID.)

This was no problem for me when I was travelling in Europe, but, here, my passport slowly is becoming deformed due to the heat and humidity when I carry it, so I'd rather leave it at home if possible.

There's a similar question here, but none of the answers actually says what the legal requirement is: they're all either anecdotes ("I was never asked for a passport") or more general suggestions ("You're usually OK with a photocopy").

  • Singapore is indeed hot and humid, but not so bad as to deform your passport. For example schoolchildren carry around textbooks all year round and they remain in perfectly good condition. The heat and humidity may be surprising to someone from cooler climes, but they are not so bad as to destroy everything. – Kenny LJ Dec 24 '15 at 13:15
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From US Department of State (here): "In Singapore, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you."

There is also a section titles "Surrendering your Passport" that addresses surrendering your passport to police officers, hotels, or employers as a guarantee. It is common for domestic helpers to surrender their passports in Singapore.

If you are required to have you passport on you at all times it is usually explicitly stated. The US DoS page for Malaysia states, "You should carry your U.S. passport and current social visit pass (visa) with you at all times..."

The US DoS page for Thailand states: "We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens carry proper travel documentation at all times. Thai police occasionally stop travelers in popular tourist areas to check their passports. Please carry at a minimum a copy of your U.S. passport identification page and current Thai visa to avoid detention by the Thai immigration police."

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Singapore does not require residents to carry their NRIC with them (National Registration Identification Card), so one can reasonably assume that having your passport on you at all times is also not required. But that said, having at least a copy with you is always advisable.

In other SE Asian countries where residents are required to have their IDs with them (such as Thailand), then travelers are bound by the same rules and the only legal ID for a tourist is their passport.

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