Both residents and international visitors will be able to depart Singapore via the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints without having to use their passports as soon as next year. This was announced by the country’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) during a seminar held last week, adding that the move is part of its New Clearance Concept initiative that was unveiled back in 2019.
According to the authority, this new approach will have car users rely on the new Automated Passenger In-Car Clearance System (APICS) which uses QR codes to clear immigration at these checkpoints, while those travelling via buses use the new contactless Automated Border Control System (ABCS) at the passenger halls. Of course, this only applies when exiting Singapore, so all travellers are still required to present their documents when entering Malaysia.
For car drivers and passengers, ICA explained that they are first required to create a profile and generate a QR code via the MyICA mobile app. These codes will be scanned at the manual immigration counters at the Tuas or Woodlands checkpoints, where officers will also conduct facial image checks for further verification.
The authority noted that live trials of this new QR code-based clearance done at Old Woodlands Checkpoint last year showed that about 94% of travellers were able to self-clear without assistance from its officers. It added that the majority found the approach to be intuitive and faster when compared to the manual process.
As for the ABCS system, ICA said that it aims to progressively replace manual counters at all passenger halls at checkpoints with about 800 automated lanes starting from the first quarter of 2024. These lanes will use the traveller’s biometrics, which are registered upon entry to Singapore, for clearance and unlike the APICS system, this approach does not require them to generate QR codes for verification.
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