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ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore by the ICA

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Holicamika
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ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore by the ICA

Postby Holicamika » Wed, 18 Nov 2015 7:53 pm

Hi this is my first time posting a topic here, so please be patient if ever there's a mistake in the way I post. *newbie* :o

Anyways I am here to share a story about my recent experience with the ICA in Changi Airport in Terminal 2.

I departed from Jakarta,Indonesia on a Monday afternoon on 16 November 2015. I arrived in Changi at approximately 6 pm and proceeded as usual to the ICA with my passport and immigration card ready in hand.

I have been visiting Singapore back and forth from my resident country Jakarta frequently since June 30 2015 (during semester break). I would travel to Singapore as much as 3 times per month. My usual stay in Singapore is 11 days or less every visit - maximum was 18 and that was once for my best friends wedding. I spend most of my time in Singapore. I calculated that I am in Singapore 96 days over 140 days since June 30.

I have heard from my friends that my frequent visit would seem suspicious to the ICA and that I may be banned from coming to Singapore for 6 months up to 7 years. But naturally, I didn't put much thought into that considering that I am not doing anything illegal. I am still a student in Jakarta so I can't possibly be in Singapore to seek employment. In short, I am in Singapore just for fun during my self proclaimed semester break (taking a gap year before my last semester) *weird I know * #yolo

Anyways back to the main event. I reached the ICA and queued at the shortest line (in my opinion). I didn't look around much cos I'm usually just busy with myself and my phone. During the queing I realized that my line was not moving as fast as usual. Each person was checked around 2-4 minutes by the ICA officer in my line. Maybe it was due to the terrorist attacks in Paris that now they are more meticulous with their security. I'm not sure, just my opinion. Anyhow I waited patiently even though there was a trio of teenagers next to me who were being loud and childish with each other :evil:

Finally it was my turn to get checked. I gave the ICA officer my passport and white immigration card and turned my attention to the candies provided as per usual (mint flavor ftw! ) Then I was taken aback when the officer called my name. I know it is standard procedure but the ICA officers have never muttered a single word to me ever. I still in a little shock with candy in hand nodded to the name stated. Then she started looking at my passport from the very first page...

ICA : Why are you in Singapore?

Me: Shopping
*ICA moved her head side to side displeased*

ICA: You keep coming back and forth to Singapore. It couldn't be just shopping.
*ICA still checking my passport*

Me: I'm on my semester break. I come here for frequent vacations.

ICA: Semester breaks are not this long. You've been coming here since June. You spend more time here than your own country.
*ICA proceeded to scan my passport*

Me: I failed my thesis okay. I gave my self a break till next year.

*silence*

Here I thought okay she will let me pass in peace now. But nope, I was wrong. She called this guy , gave him my passport and told me to follow him.

While I was walking with the ICA guy dressed in a brown uniform I asked him if there was a problem. And he merely smiled and said ' I don't know anything miss. I'm just here to escort you.' --at that point I just tried not to lose my cool.

I arrived at the ICA office? and was told to sit down on one of the sofas. The guy gave my passport to another female officer and left. 30 seconds later my name was called and I followed the female officer to a room at the end of the hall. She asked me the same questions the first female officer asked me. I gave her the exact same answers . She then told me to scan my thumbs on a big white machine. Afterwards she told me to take a seat.

The ICA officer sat down across me with a table separating us in the middle. She proceeded to ask questions. She repeated the questions she asked before scanning my thumb prints. I answered it again... And I told her I don't see why I'm being checked when I'm not doing anything wrong and illegal. She looked at my passport and began to read the dates I've been going back and forth aloud. I remained silent during that ordeal. Then she asked if I was a student. I said yes and she asked for my student card. I showed it to her. Then she asked how much money I was carrying with me. I replied 'more or less $1000'. She told me to show it to her, and I did. I was nervous at that time cos I only brought a little cash with me and thought she wouldn't believe I was here for shopping.( But I did have my american express credit card and still had the shopping receipts of a total more than $3000 spent in ION orchard and 313Somerset just the last week. ) In addition , she also asked if I had a return ticket which I don't have at the time. I told her if she wants I can buy the return ticket at that moment.

Then the officer saw that I wrote I was going to stay in Mandarin Orchard in the immigration card and asked if I had proof of that. Which I didn't. It was a staycation idea that me and my best friend had but we haven't booked a room yet. But we do frequently staycation in a lot of hotels including MBS, Pan Pacific, Mandarin Orchard and Grand Park to name a few. I proceeded to tell the officer that its a staycation and the remaining days I would be staying at my friends condo. After that she told me to take my money and student card back and left me alone in the room.

At this point I thought I was going to get deported and banned from coming back to Singapore.

Then another different lady officer told me to go out. And on my way out, to my right I saw a room with a big glass and saw one women seated inside. As I reached the outside I was told to sit down again on the sofa. I saw several people sitting down on the sofas as well. A few minute later I was called and they gave me me my passport back and told me to go to lane 15 on the ICA checkpoints. I did as I was told and the officer at counter 15 (a male) just opened my passport, glanced at it and let me go. I was very confused and hurriedly check my passport for the stamp. I was given the usual social pass of 30 days and that was it.

My question is:
1) Am I still allowed to go to Singapore in the near future? Or its better not to do so? How long should I wait till I can go back to beautiful Singapore ?
2) What was the fingerprints scan for ?
3) Was I just lucky not to get deported or thoroughly physically checked ?

Additional Information :
Female, 21 years old
Philippines Passport
Indonesian Resident
Last edited by Holicamika on Thu, 19 Nov 2015 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gunrock
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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby gunrock » Wed, 18 Nov 2015 10:54 pm

Dunno, but i wish I had your sort of cash or access to credit when I was a student!

(actually, access to credit would probably have been a bad idea...)

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ecureilx
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Re: RE: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby ecureilx » Wed, 18 Nov 2015 11:05 pm

My question is:
1) Am I still allowed to go to Singapore in the near future? Or its better not to do so? How long should I wait till I can go back to beautiful Singapore ?
2) What was the fingerprints scan for ?
3) Was I just lucky not to get deported or thoroughly physically checked ?

Additional Information :
Female, 21 years old
Philippines Passport
Indonesian Resident


My question is, rich Filipina kid studying in Jakarta coming very frequently ? How is it possible ?

No hidden meanings there ...

For 1) there is no yes or no. Your travel pattern is raising questions, so until you come aagain you won't know if you will be denied entry. No, you won't be deported because you haven't committed crime but every country reserves the right to deny entry with no reasons given.

So you will be in the next flight to where you came from.

How long to wait ? Well, 3 to 6 months, unless you have some pressing need to be here, like BF or business.

2) you may have been flagged or, possibly somebody resembling you is being watched. So once your finger print is stored you can't come in on a different passport.

3) see my reply 1.

PS, you didn't know that a return ticket is required for visa on arrival countries ? Especially since you hold a PH passport.
Last edited by ecureilx on Wed, 18 Nov 2015 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby JR8 » Wed, 18 Nov 2015 11:06 pm

Holicamika wrote:I have been visiting Singapore back and forth from my resident country Jakarta frequently since June 30 2015 (during semester break). I would travel to Singapore as much as 3 times per month. My usual stay in Singapore is 11 days or less every visit - maximum was 18 and that was once for my best friends wedding. I spend most of my time in Singapore. I calculated that I am in Singapore 96 days over 140 days since June 30.
[my bold]

Female, 21, a student yet travelling with a frequency most students don't. Lot's of money, a declared hotel destination where no booking exists. => They wanted to check you out as you are (IMHO) very far from the typical visitor with such a profile. So I expect they ran some back-ground checks on you and you got a green-flag on them.

You're entering on an SVP? I'd be aware that that's for 'social visits' you know like tourism, but as you suggest you're in SG more time than you're not. I think you got off lucky, as they could have denied you entry, or maybe have given you a restricted-duration SVP +/- a warning that you're at the boundaries of being a tourist.

If it were me I'd take it as something of an early warning, that my travel-pattern is now triggering flags that are getting me sent to 'secondary inspection'. Similar circumstances and patterns occurred years back with me travelling >< the US. Like you I was hauled off to 'secondary', yelled at a lot, given a 1 or 2 week (or so) entry stamp and told unless I went and got a full visa in future from the US embassy that they'd never let me in on the visa-on-arrival scheme again. My advice is don't let it get that far.
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Re: RE: Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby ecureilx » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 12:00 am

JR8 wrote:You're entering on an SVP? I'd be aware that that's for 'social visits' you know like tourism, but as you suggest you're in SG more time than you're not. I think you got off lucky, as they could have denied you entry, or maybe have given you a restricted-duration SVP +/- a warning that you're at the boundaries of being a tourist.


Errr..... I don't recall any instance of somebody having been warned.

It will be ...."A2A" and that's it.

If enquired ICA will tell the person to fill form 14 and wait for approval ... no reasons ever given.

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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby JR8 » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 12:12 am

I bow to your much greater knowledge. And no of course the US is not SG, I'm not suggesting it is. But my travel pattern and the end-result of it was. Hence I see similarities in how my and the OPs frequent travel pattern appears to have been profiled and sent up a flag.

p.s. And yes it should be noted that that visit to US 'Secondary inspection' was closer to an interrogation [in my limited experience]. So they were throwing a lot of suggested scenarios at me to see how I'd react. I've only ever had one other experience at immigration anything like that and that was Israel. I'd like to think SG-ICA wouldn't go as far.
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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby Holicamika » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 12:28 am

Thanks for the response guys. I guess I will explore other countries for now :( And yes maybe I was lucky. But i was just confused that they let me go still giving me the normal SVP duration of 30 days with no other stamps or warnings- written or verbal- as I've only known of instances where people were either deported and/or banned or as with my friends case who were looking for a job back then only given 2 weeks to get out of Singapore . :\

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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 6:05 am

You were profiled but passed. Next time make sure you have a return ticket.
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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 1:18 pm

I'd agree with PNGMK. And other than the lack of a return ticket, I really don't think you have to worry too much as you were give a full 30 day visa, whereas they could have given you 3 days or 14 day in lieu of the normal 30. You apparently didn't come up wanting after their questions and you did have sufficient funds to support yourself and your claims. You might get flagged and you might get questioned in the future but I don't think you will have any real problems (hopefully anyway).

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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 4:05 pm

I might add that I'm surprised the inbound airline let you on their flight without a return ticket... I get asked everytime now for my IC if I'm on an inbound fl to Singapore with no onward ticket.
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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby Holicamika » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 4:05 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:You might get flagged and you might get questioned in the future but I don't think you will have any real problems (hopefully anyway).


If the thumb print scanning mean I was flagged, will it be a problem with the immigration at other countries ? What does it mean to be flagged anyways? Does it mean every time an immigration scan my passport they will see this "flag"? :o

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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 4:24 pm

Only in Singapore. And the flag may be just to make the officer to take a second look or put you through the ringer again. They don't approve of you "living" in Singapore, but they also don't mind you spending your money here. That's the problem. Your age & gender and nationality are all key indicators of a lot of young girls who come here for other reasons. As you yourself mentioned, while you have a student card, you are also taking a break after blowing your thesis. So, in theory, you could be coming here on 'working' holidays, if you know what I mean. I'm not implying anything, but it is just one way the ICA may very well look at it.

The thing that is in your favour is the fact that you don't max out your visa every trip. If you were here for nefarious reasons, you would stay here as long as you can to max your earning potential.

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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby Holicamika » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 4:29 pm

PNGMK wrote:I might add that I'm surprised the inbound airline let you on their flight without a return ticket... I get asked everytime now for my IC if I'm on an inbound fl to Singapore with no onward ticket.


Well sometimes they do ask me if I have a return ticket back when I'm flying to Singapore. I would always honestly say no (better than saying yes and then not having any proof of it). The check in counter would just nod to that and proceed to processing my boarding pass. I know it's kind of careless of me not to have a return ticket in the first place but I usually don't know when I plan to return (never premeditated on overstaying of course). IMO even if I purchased a return ticket , I could just easily not return on that date and buy a new return ticket of a later date or even if I wanted to - overstay my visa.
I never thought that the return ticket policy actually can effectively stop anyone from overstaying. Well this is just my uneducated opinion anyways haha. Plus there are a lot of people who do have return tickets and still denied entry to Singapore.

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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby x9200 » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 4:38 pm

Holicamika wrote:I never thought that the return ticket policy actually can effectively stop anyone from overstaying. Well this is just my uneducated opinion anyways haha. Plus there are a lot of people who do have return tickets and still denied entry to Singapore.

It's less about overstaying and more about having means to go back IMHO. Same goes for the accommodation etc etc.

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Re: ALMOST Denied Entry to Singapore

Postby Holicamika » Thu, 19 Nov 2015 4:49 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:So, in theory, you could be coming here on 'working' holidays, if you know what I mean. I'm not implying anything, but it is just one way the ICA may very well look at it.The thing that is in your favour is the fact that you don't max out your visa every trip. If you were here for nefarious reasons, you would stay here as long as you can to max your earning potential.


True, the ICA might think of it that way- considering that is the stereotype of my passport nationality, age and gender. 8-[ Sigh. Truly gonna miss Singapore and my friends here :(


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