Soon, Singapore will begin enforcing new immigration rules that will allow residents and visitors to enter and exit the country without a passport.
Instead, QR code scanners will be used for those traveling by car, or Automated Border Control System (ABCS) scanners will be used in the passenger lounge to pass through immigration.
According to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA), about 800 automated lanes using ABCS will replace manual counters in all passenger halls at the checkpoints. The change will be phased in and is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024. This was announced at a work plan seminar held at the Singapore Expo (5/5).
The ABCS lanes, to be introduced in the first quarter of 2024, will use biometric technology for screening. It is part of the ICA's New Clearance Concept (NCC), announced in 2019, which aims to improve the security and speed of immigration and customs processes.
The NCC itself has been tested at Changi Airport's Tuas Checkpoint and Terminal 4 in 2019. In addition, ICA also tested the Automated Passenger In-Car Clearance System (Apics) in 2022 for travelers travelling by car. More than 94 percent of travelers were able to use Apics without the assistance of an attendant.
To further refine and develop Apics, ICA will work with the National Team Science and Technology Agency before rolling it out in phases at land checkpoints.
In the first phase, scheduled for early 2024, QR code scanning will replace passport scanning at land checkpoints.
Those traveling by car can use the MyICA mobile app to create a profile and generate a QR code. This QR code can be scanned at a manual immigration counter, where an ICA officer will perform a facial image verification based on the QR code data.
If the traveler's passport information does not need to be updated, the same QR code can be used for subsequent trips.
Starting in 2026, Apics lanes will be introduced at Tuas Checkpoint, where travelers can scan the QR code and present their biometrics for identity verification, eliminating the need for an officer at each car lane.
Then, in 2028, full implementation of APICS will take place at Woodlands Checkpoint.
ICA has a vision for SCNG (Singapore's Checkpoint of the Future) that aims to provide a 'No Fuss; No Visit; No Waiting' experience for customers. This will be achieved through the implementation of advanced digital, robotic, biometric and automation technologies.
Source: The Strait Times | ica.gov.sg