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Singapore expands automated immigration clearance to eligible visitors from 35 additional jurisdictions 

Singapore expands automated immigration clearance to eligible visitors from 35 additional jurisdictions 

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The list has been expanded from the initial 16, and includes passport holders from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Australia, and Macao.

Singapore's Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has expanded the use of its Automated Clearance Initiative (ACI) to eligible passport holders from 35 additional jurisdictions. 

This would bring the total number of jurisdictions covered to 51, up from 16.

When rolled out in May 2022, the ACI initially allowed eligible foreign visitors from 16 jurisdictions, including those visiting Singapore for the first time, to use automated lanes for immigration clearance without the need for prior enrolment. Since then, ICA has also expanded the deployment of the ACI to 130 automated lanes at Singapore Changi Airport and 40 automated lanes at the land checkpoints.

Along with the extended eligibility, holders of the APEC Business Travel Card can now also use the automated lanes under ACI.

The full list of eligible jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Australia, and Macao can be found here.

What the ACI entails for eligible travellers

Under the ACI, eligible foreign visitors who arrive in Singapore are directed to the automated lanes for immigration clearance. There, their biometrics (iris, facial and fingerprint images) will automatically be enrolled during the arrival clearance process (if they were not already enrolled during a previous trip to Singapore).

Upon clearing immigration, travellers will have their electronic visit pass (e-Pass) emailed to them, which will include information on their enrolment.

Enrolled foreign visitors will then be able to use any automated lane during departure and on subsequent visits to Singapore.

It should be noted that under prevailing rules, travellers must continue to submit the SG Arrival Card up to three days prior to arrival, either through the MyICA Mobile app or the ICA website. 

The ICA noted that the ACI is a critical component of its New Clearance Concept (NCC), which aims to make automated immigration clearance the norm at the checkpoints, leveraging multi-modal biometric scanning technology to provide travellers with a more secure and seamless immigration clearance experience. 

To date, more than 4mn foreign visitors have cleared immigration through the ACI, and been enrolled in the process. By the first quarter of 2024, ICA expects 95% of all arrivals at Changi Airport to be cleared through the automated lanes.

With the increased use of automated lanes requiring less manpower compared to manual counters, the authority added that it would be able to increase its clearance throughput and meet the growing traveller volume, which is expected to reach 300mn travellers per year by 2025.  

Correspondingly, the job roles of ICA officers will also be enhanced. As part of the NCC training in the move away from manual clearance, ICA officers are being upskilled to perform profiling, assessment, and investigative work, beyond immigration counter duties.

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Lead image / Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority

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