Singapore just passed a series of amendments to the country’s Immigration Act to allow immigration clearance at Changi Airport to be done purely via biometrics – without the need to take out the passport for immigration.
Starting in 2024, passengers departing from the popular airport can go through the automated gates without the need to scan their passports.
This is the beginning of end-to-end biometric clearance adoption for Singapore, where the passenger does not need to produce important documents (passport, ticket and boarding pass) multiple times during the boarding process. The biometrics will be the ‘single token of authentication’ for passengers instead.
“This will reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at these touchpoints, allowing for more seamless and convenient processing,” communications minister Josephine Teo said.
One key provision for the amendments is for the Minister for Home Affairs to authorise the disclosure of passenger and crew information to the airport operator, for specific uses such as bag drops and passenger tracing within the airport.
Malaysia already has a biometric authentication system – via AirAsia’s FACES system introduced in 2022. The system is integrated with the Malaysia Airport EZPaz facial recognition system. The EZPaz system is currently still under trial at KLIA Terminal 1.
The new Singaporean biometric system will be available for both foreigners and citizens, including PR by the first half of next year. There is no news if Seletar Airport, Singapore’s second airport, will be adopt the new biometrics system.