ICA To Introduce Passport-Free Clearance At Checkpoints From 2024
Recently, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) allowed more foreigners to enter Singapore through automated lanes. Soon, from 2024, they will be introducing about 800 ‘passport-less’ lanes at Singapore’s checkpoints in hopes of facilitating easier customs clearance.
These lanes will eventually replace manual counters.
The ICA announced the changes alongside other exciting initiatives at its annual Workplan Seminar today (5 May).
ICA pushes for passport-less clearance to replace manual counters
In a media release, the ICA shared that it will start to phase out manual counters in the first quarter of 2024.
In place of the manual counters, it will introduce new automated lanes under the next-generation Automated Border Control System (ABCS).
Singapore residents and departing visitors will be able to enjoy contactless clearance using these lanes.
Apparently, there’ll be no need for them to present their passports.
As such, individuals will have an easier time clearing customs.
Furthermore, the new initiative will help to alleviate “rising traveller volumes” and address “limited manpower resources”.
New QR code clearance for car travellers at checkpoints
The Straits Times (ST) reported that the ABCS is a part of ICA’s New Clearance Concept (NCC), first announced in 2019.
Since then, the ICA has also trialled the Automated Passenger-In-Car Clearance System (Apics) at Woodlands Checkpoint.
At this year’s Workplan Seminar, the authority shared that about 94 per cent of travellers at the trial could self-clear without help from officers.
However, APICS lanes will only be introduced from 2026 onwards — first at Tuas Checkpoint, then at the redeveloped Woodlands Checkpoint in 2028.
That said, car travellers can look forward to a new QR code scanning system at manual car counters from early 2024.
This QR code scanning will look to replace passport scanning.
Before embarking on their trip, car travellers need to create a profile and generate a QR code via the MyICA mobile app.
They will then self-scan the QR code at the car counter, allowing the officer to conduct facial image checks based on the data from the QR code.
Travellers can also use the same QR code for future trips.
ICA rolls out new initiatives at 20th Anniversary seminar
Apart from the above initiatives, ICA also announced a new ICA Services Centre (ISC). They expect the centre to be fully operational by 2024.
Located next to the existing ICA building, the ISC will be the “single touchpoint” for any service that customers require.
Additionally, customers can self-collect their passports and identity cards at the new centre.
At the seminar, the ICA also looked back on recent past developments such as the Special Assisted Lanes at checkpoints.
ST quoted an ICA spokesperson as saying, “ICA will press on with our journey to transform border clearance and immigration and registration services, to bring about a fundamental, positive change in how ICA interacts with the public at all our touchpoints.”
With a slew of changes coming, we hope that immigration clearance will be a breeze.
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Featured image adapted from @ChangiAirport on Twitter.
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