Credit by ST Photo/Ong Wee Jin | Contactless immigration trials at Changi Airport Terminal 4
Singaporeans Try Contactless Immigration with Iris and Face Scanning at Changi Airport, Here's What Happens
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Singaporeans Try Contactless Immigration with Iris and Face Scanning at Changi Airport, Here's What Happens

Singaporeans are soon to experience a much quicker process for clearing the immigration at Changi Terminal 4 (T4).

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced today of a new face and iris scanning system at a designated automated lane in the terminal.

With this new feature, passport and thumb print scans will not be required. This allows for a “contactless” and seamless process for clearing immigration.

This reduces obstacles faced in the traditional method of fingerprint scanning such as verification issues as a result of faded fingerprints due to ageing, dryness or scarring said the authority.

A trial in the immigration hall at Tuas Checkpoint that uses iris and facial images to clear immigration. Image: ST FILE
A trial in the immigration hall at Tuas Checkpoint that uses iris and facial images to clear immigration. Image: ST FILE

Singaporeans who are six years of age and above and are holding a passport issued after Jan 1, 2018, with IDs beginning with the letter K, are eligible to use this new system.

This is because these citizens have their biometric information already saved onto the national database and hence no prior sign-up is needed.

This new immigration clearance procedure is undergoing a six-month trial, which started on November 25.

As reported on The Straits Times, The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), which is running the trial, said travellers using the contactless immigration clearance lane should remove sunglasses, caps or other headgear that could obstruct their eyes or face when passing through the lanes.

At Changi T4, ICA will dedicate one lane each to test two methods of clearance.

Image: Straits Times Graphics/Singapore'sImmigration and Checkpoints Authority
Image: Straits Times Graphics/Singapore'sImmigration and Checkpoints Authority

Ms Margaret Lau, who was returning from a trip, said she preferred using facial recognition, as her dry fingers sometimes caused problems with the older system.

While she did not like taking off her glasses for the scan, the 63-year-old said she found the process quicker than the passport-and-thumbprint system.

Student Muhammad Raif said the new system was smooth and fast.

"All I had to do was look at the camera," said the 18-year-old.

The trial is aimed at improving handling of the growing volume of travellers passing through Singapore's checkpoints.

Changi Airport handled 65.6 million passengers in 2018, a 5.5 per cent increase from 2017.

ICA said the automated border control system (ABCS), involving next-generation automated lanes like the ones in the Tuas and T4 trials, will gradually be opened to foreign visitors too, eventually supplanting the current paper-based system.

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