SINGAPORE – From 2024 onwards, passengers departing from Changi Airport in Singapore will undergo automated immigration procedures using biometric data, eliminating the need for passports.
This announcement comes after the Singaporean Parliament passed an Immigration Law amendment on September 18th. The new law paves the way for biometric-based immigration clearance, no longer requiring passports for flights departing from Changi Airport starting in early 2024. All procedures will be conducted through biometric methods, from luggage check-in to boarding.
Biometric technology involves the identification and verification of individuals based on biological characteristics such as fingerprints, iris patterns, voice recognition, and facial images. This technology is considered to minimize the risk of forgery and offers the highest level of security available today.
Under the new regulations, passengers won’t need to present passports, tickets, or boarding passes multiple times during the process. Instead, each passenger will receive a unique authentication QR code. Passengers can use this code for clearance at automated declaration points, according to Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo.
Minister Teo stated that the government has the authority to collect advance information about passengers and crew members through all modes of entry, issue flight bans to airlines and other transport operators, and prevent suspicious individuals from boarding flights at Changi. Singapore will also allow airlines to disclose passenger information and flight details to airport operators in case of the need to locate passengers or luggage.
This policy aims to better address situations like pandemics, enhance border control, rationalize the management of foreign nationals’ cards and permits, and streamline procedures for foreign residents, making them faster and more secure.
Minister Teo noted that the number of tourists continues to increase at all of Singapore’s checkpoints. It is expected that in 2024, the country will receive international travelers at pre-pandemic levels and see further growth. Even with the addition of new facilities like Terminal 5 at Changi Airport, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority will face challenges if manpower is not increased. Therefore, the new policy contributes to addressing the issue of staffing shortages.