According to a press release by Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Changi Airport Terminal 4 Arrival Hall will undergo a 6-month contactless immigration trial starting 25 Nov.
Meaning, during these 6 months, Singaporeans who arrive back in Changi will no longer have to present their physical passports at the immigration.
This also marks the end of rummaging through your handbag looking for your passport. Yay.
The new contactless immigration method recognises you by scanning your iris and facial features.
This means that if you look relatively the same as your passport photo, you’re good to go.
ICA is rolling out this system by test-running 2 different workflows. The first will be familiar to frequent travellers by now.
Right now, we scan our passports at the first flapper and get our thumbprints at the second. Under this new system, you’ll get your face and iris captured at the first flapper.
The cameras will then confirm your identity as you walk towards the second flapper using the “on-the-move” facial recognition technology.
Presumably, the idea here is that videos will be more accurate than still photos, where cameras could possibly be tricked.
The second flow, which will start being trialled in early 2020, will perform the iris and facial verification only at the second flapper, essentially combining both stages into one.
ICA will be monitoring both workflows and collecting data to see which works better.
Unfortunately, only Singaporeans holding passports issued after 1 Jan 2018 are eligible to participate in this contactless immigration trial.
Also, Singaporeans have to be above 6-years-old and passport numbers have to start with letter K.
Singaporeans using this new immigration feature should also remove your sunglasses, caps, and other head pieces obstructing the scanning process.
You are also advised to refrain from wearing patterned or coloured contact lenses — something the fashion-conscious have to take note of.
This contactless immigration trial will end in May 2020. And if the results are good enough, we might be seeing these machines more in the future.
Anyway judging from the positive response from the Tuas Checkpoint trial, we trust that this wouldn’t be much of a problem.
It’s amazing to see how ICA is coming out with these technological advancements to make our immigration experience smoother.
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