More eligible foreign visitors to Singapore can use automated lanes for immigration clearance: ICA
Under ICA's Automated Clearance Initiative (ACI), eligibility has been extended to passport holders of 51 jurisdictions.
SINGAPORE: More eligible foreign visitors to Singapore, including those visiting for the first time, will be allowed to use automated lanes for immigration clearance without the need for prior enrolment, said the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a news release on Tuesday (Apr 25).
Under the Automated Clearance Initiative (ACI), eligibility has been extended to passport holders of 51 jurisdictions, an increase from 16 when it was first introduced in May 2022, said ICA.
Some of the eligible jurisdictions include Australia, the United States, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and the United Kingdom. Holders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (ABTC) Business Travel Card are also allowed to use the automated lanes.
ICA has increased the number of automated lanes to 130 at Changi Airport and 40 at both Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints since May 2022.
In February, ICA also said it was looking to install 61 more automated lanes at checkpoints in 2023, on top of the 125 put in place last year, expanding "clearance capacity" for travellers.
More than 4 million foreign visitors have cleared immigration through the automated lanes to date, the authority said.
PROCESS FOR AUTOMATED LANES
Eligible foreign visitors can submit their SG Arrival Card through the MyICA mobile app or on ICA's website within three days prior to arrival in Singapore. Submission is free.
They will be directed to the automated lanes, where their biometrics - iris, facial and fingerprint images - are automatically enrolled during the clearance process.
Information on their enrolment is included in the electronic visit pass, which will be sent via email after immigration clearance.
Foreign visitors who are enrolled will then be able to use the automated lanes during departure and on future visits to Singapore.
"ACI is a critical component of ICA’s New Clearance Concept, which aims to make automated immigration clearance the norm at the checkpoints," said ICA, adding that automated lanes leverage multi-modal biometric scanning technology to provide travellers with a "more secure, efficient, and seamless immigration clearance experience".
The authority added that it expects 95 per cent of all arrivals at Changi Airport to be cleared through the automated lanes by the first quarter of 2024.
With the automated lanes taking up less physical space and requiring less manpower, ICA will be able to increase its clearance volume and meet the growing traveller volume, which is expected to reach 300 million travellers per year by 2025.
"Correspondingly, the job roles of ICA officers will be enhanced, as ICA moves away from manual clearance," it added.
“Prior to the ACI, most foreign visitors would have to queue at the manual counters upon arrival for immigration clearance. With the ACI, those eligible can now proceed directly to the automated lanes for immigration clearance, even if it is their first time visiting Singapore," said ICA’s Assistant Commissioner Phua Chiew Hua, who is deputy director for operations.
"We have made the enrolment process as seamless as possible, so that travellers can perform self-enrolment at the automated lanes while clearing immigration. If required, our officers deployed at the automated lanes will assist them.”