Singapore’s New Law Aims for a Passport-Free Airport Departure

In the near future, some travelers will be able to depart from Singapore’s Changi Airport without the need for a passport, as part of amendments to the city-state’s immigration policies which allow for end-to-end biometric clearance.

Starting from the first half of 2024, biometric technology will be used for verification at multiple automated stages of the departure procedure, ranging from baggage drop-off to immigration and boarding, stated Communications Minister Josephine Teo during a parliamentary session on Monday.

“This will reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at these touchpoints, allowing for more seamless and convenient processing”, Teo stated.

This development comes at a pivotal moment, as the influx of visitors to this economic epicentre is anticipated to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the upcoming year, with a forecast of continuous growth in the years to follow.

Currently, Singapore is engrossed in the construction of its fifth aviation terminal. Furthermore, an expedited railway network connecting it with the southern territory of Johor in Malaysia is projected to commence operations in the near future.

“Our immigration systems must be able to manage this high and growing volume of travellers efficiently, and provide a positive clearance experience, while ensuring our security”, emphasized Teo.

Recognized as the premier airport worldwide, Changi surpassed expectations by facilitating the travel of over 5.12 million individuals in June, crossing the five million threshold for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020.

These numbers, representing a substantial 88% of the passenger traffic recorded in June 2019, indicate that the sovereign city-state is steadfastly advancing towards rejuvenating its international connections.