The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has started a six-month trial from April 8 for a new contactless immigration clearance system at one of the checkpoints. As per the authority, the trial included one of the automated arrival lanes in the bus hall at the Tuas Checkpoint.
In a news release, ICA mentioned that the immigration clearance system, which is currently under trial, is capable of providing a quick clearance experience for the travellers by using only their iris and facial images and it won't require any thumbprint or passport of the commuters for the immigration clearance. ICA clarified that the Singapore residents will be the first to benefit from this new system.
In addition, ICA claimed that this no-contact immigration clearance system will enhance operational efficiency while maintaining the required standards of verification and security checking process. They added that it is a "significant step towards ICA's vision of an efficient and hassle-free immigration clearance experience using biometric solutions."
Since the trial process has started already, ICA also gave a clarification on the particular question of who is eligible for the trial of the new immigration clearance system. They said that any Singapore citizens, aged between six and above, the passport holders, "with numbers beginning with the letter K and issued after January 1, 2018, will be eligible for the trial."
To participate in the trial, no prior sign-up is required as all the travellers "have to proceed to clear immigration at the automated lane designated for the trial upon return home at Tuas Checkpoint."
ICA believes that if these eligible travellers participate in the on-going trial project then it will help the authority to improve the new system.
But there are some boundaries for the participants, as the authority suggested not to wear sunglasses, caps or other headgear during the clearance process. However, the ICA officers will assist the commuters, in case of any confusion.
How does this new immigration clearance process work?
- The commuters have to enter the automated arrival lanes.
- Once they are in, the screen will change to a 'look here' screen.
- The screen will capture their iris and facial images and the system will proceed to verify the biometrics. (neither thumbprint nor the passport is required)
- After the clearance, the exit flapper will open and then the immigration clearance process will be completed.
ICA stated that the result of this trial process will be studied by the officers to understand the issues and scope for development. Once they become confident about the system the authority will extend the project to more automated clearance lanes and other checkpoints.
However, ICA will share more details about the immigration clearance process at its Workplan Seminar, which is going to take place in May.