Automated clearance to be the norm for all travellers to Singapore from 2023: ICA

The automated lanes reduce contact between ICA officers and travellers, making for a "more hygienic, convenient and efficient immigration clearance". ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - From next year, all travellers will be able to use automated lanes upon arrival in Singapore for faster immigration clearance, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Tuesday (Feb 15).

Foreign visitors will no longer have to proceed to manual counters each time they visit Singapore to have their iris and facial biometrics cleared.

Instead, they can do so at the automated lanes that Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders already use to enter the country.

ICA, which was releasing its annual statistics report on Tuesday, said: "The use of iris patterns and facial features as primary identifiers for immigration clearance not only provides more robust and reliable identity authentication of travellers, but (also) more hygienic, convenient and efficient immigration clearance."

Last October, ICA introduced the electronic visit pass at Changi Airport, which will be implemented at all checkpoints soon.

The pass, which is issued to foreign visitors, replaces the inked endorsement stamps in passports.

ICA said these measures will reduce contact between its officers and travellers.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, ICA implemented several initiatives in support of Singapore's reopening. These included redesigning the manual counters at checkpoints so travellers can self-scan their passports, making immigration clearance safer for everyone.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, ICA had implemented several initiatives in support of Singapore’s reopening. PHOTO: ICA

ICA also took steps to digitalise and automate its cargo clearance to move goods securely and efficiently and bolster Singapore's position as a global port.

Last October, it implemented an On-the-Fly clearance concept at Tuas Port with the cargo cleared while the vehicle is still moving. 

Cargo permits are cleared automatically after ICA image analysts assess there are no anomalies in the scanned images of the cargo consignment.

To minimise the time needed to clear cargo flagged for secondary checks, ICA has been using mobile tablets to clear permits on the spot at the checking bays since last October.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.