Prior to independenceEdit

1938 Registration of Births and Death OrdinanceEdit

Since 1872, birth registration was used as a health and statistical measure. However, records were hardly accurate, as registration was voluntary. It was only in 1938 that births and death registration became compulsory.

1948 National Registration OrdinanceEdit


The National Registration Office (NRO) of the colonial government located at Empress Place began issuing paper ICs in 1948. The purpose was to identify individuals born in the State of Singapore.

1958 State of Singapore ActEdit

When Singapore gained internal self-government, a new Constitution of Singapore was introduced and Singapore citizenship gained international status and significance.

After independenceEdit

1966 National Registration ActEdit


Singapore's independence on 9 August 1965 gave birth to the National Registration Act.

The NRO and Registry of Births and Death (RBD) were part of Ministry of Labour while the Registry of Societies (ROS) and the Martial Arts Control Unit (MACU) was under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). With the reorganisation of MHA in July 1981, MACU and ROS were placed under the charge of the Registry of Citizens.

On 16 October 1981, the National Registration Department became part of MHA. The department comprised the NRO, RBD, ROC, MACU and ROS and dealt with the identification of individuals and groups in Singapore.

In April 1992, MACU was subsequently transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department CID for better efficiency and control.

See alsoEdit



This article was written by Roy Tan.

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