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Unbelievable Facts About NRIC Check Digit Algorithm

nric check digit algorithm
The National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) check digit algorithm is the compulsory identity document issued to citizens and permanent residents of Singapore. 

Unbelievable Facts About NRIC Check Digit Algorithm

What’s a NRIC check digit algorithm?

The National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) check digit algorithm is the compulsory identity document issued to citizens and permanent residents of Singapore. People must register for an NRIC within one year of attaining the age of 15, or upon becoming a citizen or permanent resident. Re-registrations are required for persons attaining the ages of 30 and 55, unless the person has been issued with an NRIC within ten years prior to the re-registration ages.

The National Registration Act of 1965 (last amendment in 2016) legislates the establishment of a national registry, as well as the issuance and usage of NRICs. The government agency responsible for the national registry and issuance of NRICs is the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), a department under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The government agency responsible for the national registry and issuance of NRICs is the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), a department under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

What are NRIC check digit algorithm used for?

Many online voting, contests, giveaways, lucky draws, and account registrations on Singaporean websites require a NRIC check digit algorithm to participate. For example, game account registrations like AsiaSoft MapleStory, Audition; Online club memberships like NikonClub, ActiveSG, Shaw, Golden Village, etc. Do note that if you create an online account, you have to remember the NRIC number that you use, in case you need to reset the password or claim a prize.

How is the number generated?

The number is randomly generated. However to make it valid, the random numbers are used to calculate the checksum (last character) using an algorithm described in the Wikipedia page. If special rules like the starting letter or DOB is selected, the algorithm changes accordingly.

Is this legal?

The validation of the NRIC check digit algorithm itself is legal, as the algorithm is made public. This page serves to demonstrate that it is possible to do so. However, you should not use the NRIC check digit algorithm to impersonate anyone as it is an offense. By using this page to generate/copy NRIC/FIN numbers, you hereby agree to be responsible for your actions for use of the numbers and waive all your rights to hold me liable to any problems arising from your actions.

Types of NRIC

  • Pink for Singaporean citizens;
  • Blue for permanent residents.

Each card is identified by an NRIC number (“Identity Card Number”), which is a unique set of nine alpha-numerics given to each citizen or PR. Biometric data are collected during card registration which includes the person’s left and right thumbprints as well as iris images.

Any change or error in the information on the card (apart from the change of address) must be reported within 28 days to ICA for a replacement card. A change of address does not require a replacement card, but must be reported within 28 days to ICA or a neighborhood police center. A sticker showing the new address would be printed and pasted over the old address on the card.

What is Long Term Pass cards?

Since 2008, foreigners residing in Singapore on long-term passes are issued green-colored poly-carbonate Long Term Pass cards, replacing the formerly issued green paper-laminated cards and stamp endorsement on travel documents. Unlike the NRIC, all pass holders regardless of age must register for a Long Term Pass card, although fingerprinting is optional for persons ages 6 to 14 and not applicable for children age 5 and below. Employment-related passes and passes for family members of work pass holders are issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), while student’s passes and other long-term visit passes are issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

In addition to its use as identification and proof of immigration status in Singapore, the Long Term Pass card also serves to facilitate travel to Singapore and acts as a visa for visa nationals. The Long Term Pass card is issued with a date of expiry, conditional on the card holder holding a valid passport.

Also read: Top 9 Proper Guidelines on How to Make Data Transfer Agreement Template

Holders of an NRIC are responsible for the card’s custody but are not required to carry the card on their person.

The structure of NRIC check digit algorithm

The structure of the NRIC number/FIN is @xxxxxxx#, where:@ is a letter that can be “S”, “T”, “F” or “G” depending on the status of the holder.

  • Singapore citizens and permanent residents born before 1 January 2000 are assigned the letter “S”.
  • Singapore citizens and permanent residents born on or after 1 January 2000 are assigned the letter “T”.
  • Foreigners issued with long-term passes before 1 January 2000 are assigned the letter “F”.
  • Foreigners issued with long-term passes on or after 1 January 2000 are assigned the letter “G”.

What are the offenses and penalties of NRIC?

There are a variety of offences listed in the National Registration Act and its implementing legislation. These include:

  • failure to register when required;
  • giving a false address or failure to report a change of residence;
  • possession of one or more identity cards without lawful authority or reasonable excuse;
  • unlawfully depriving any person of an identity card;
  • defacing, mutilation, or destruction of an identity card.

These offences on conviction could result in a fine of up to $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both.

The Act also provides for a second category of offences which carry more significant penalties of a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to 10 years or both. These relate to offences involving forgery or fraud in respect of an identity card.

Failure to comply with the NRIC regulations is an offence and if convicted, could result in imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or to both.

What is the use of NRIC?

Holders of an NRIC are responsible for the card’s custody but are not required to carry the card on their person. Areas that will require NRICs to be verified include passports (immigration officers), polling stations (police officers) and those who undergo National Service in Singapore’s Armed Forces, police force and civil defence force. Notwithstanding this, if no identification can be produced the police may detain suspicious individuals until such identification can be produced either in person or by proxy.

Production of an NRIC is also required for any person seeking accommodation at any hotel, boarding house, hostel or similar dwelling place and for any person offering to pawn an article at a pawnbroker. In the case of hotels, boarding houses, etc., if a person is not in possession of, or fails to produce, an NRIC, the owner, manager or other person in charge of such business must notify the nearest police station of the fact immediately.

The NRIC is also sometimes a required document for certain government procedures or in commercial transactions such as the opening of a bank account. In addition, many businesses and other organisations in Singapore habitually request sight of an NRIC to verify identity or to allow a person entry to premises by surrendering or exchanging it for an entry pass.

There is no legal requirement to produce the NRIC in these situations and often either providing any other form of identification (such as credit card, work or office pass, card with a photo on it) or simply providing an NRIC number (without producing the card itself) will suffice. From 1 September 2019, organisations can no longer request and store NRIC numbers for such purposes, unless mandated by various laws.

Privacy issues

For years, the NRIC number has been used by both government and commercial organisations as an unambiguous and “tidy” identifier for Singaporeans. Full NRIC numbers have been listed to identify winners of lucky draws. It is possible to borrow books from the National Library Board simply by scanning the barcode on a borrower’s NRIC card at self-service kiosks, without requiring further authentication. Such instances have led to questions of possible fraud and identity theft.

In response to such concerns, only the last three or four digits and the letters are publicly displayed or published as the first three digits can easily give away a person’s age. Tighter privacy advice to stop indiscriminate collection and storage of NRIC numbers was issued in September 2018 by the Personal Data Protection Commission. It also encouraged organisations to develop alternative methods to identify and verify individuals.

Also read:7 Useful Tools On How To Find Company Contact Information

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