Starting in 2024, Singapore’s Changi Airport will introduce automated immigration clearance, which will allow passengers to depart the city-state without passports, using only biometric data, say officials.
Biometric technology, along with facial recognition software, is already in use to some extent at the famous airport’s automated lanes at immigration checkpoints. The upcoming changes will “reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at touch points and allow for more seamless and convenient processing,” Communications Minister Josephine Teo said a parliament session on September 18, during which several changes to the country’s Immigration Act were passed.
Biometrics will be used to create a “single token of authentication” to be employed at many automated touch points, such as bag drops to immigration clearance and boarding. This will eliminate the need for physical travel documents, including boarding passes and passports. However, passports will still be required for many countries outside of Singapore that do not offer passport-free clearance, the minister stressed.
Changi Airport serves more than 100 airlines that fly to 400 cities in about 100 countries and territories globally. It handled 5.12 million passenger movements in June, surpassing the 5 million mark for the first time since January 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.