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Proposed law amendment seeks new biometric-enabled departure sans passports

The Immigration Act (IA) will be amended to back the new clearance concept.

A bill was filed to introduce provisions to support a new clearance concept, which will allow automated clearance.

“ICA will progressively introduce NCC to the various checkpoints to provide an even more seamless, secure, and efficient immigration clearance experience for all travellers, from 2024 onwards,” read the statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Traveller experience will be seamless at Changi Airport through a proposed new end-to-end biometric-enabled departure journey. 

READ: Singapore allows more foreigners to enter through automated lanes 

Currently, a departing passenger has to use his passport and boarding pass at various touchpoints: during bag-drop, immigration clearance, and boarding. But with the new amendments, it will leverage biometrics for secured identification. 

By doing this, the passenger’s digital identity and flight information will be processed backend to produce a unique token. 

“The information is then retrieved using his biometrics to verify his identity and travel details at various automated touchpoints, from bag-drop, to immigration, and boarding,” read the statement.

To facilitate this, the bill enables the Minister for Home Affairs to authorise the disclosure of passenger/crew information to the airport operator for specific uses. This data will be retained for a short time and purged thereafter, with appropriate safeguards in place to ensure data security. 

The bill will allow for the use of digital versions of permits and passes to verify immigration status. This supports the National Digital Identity initiative and the move for all government processes to accept digital passes issued by the Government for identity verification.

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