No more flimsy white disembarkation/embarkation cards for Singapore
THERE will be no more filling out of flimsy white disembarkation or embarkation cards for Singapore as the island city-state will be launching an electronic arrival card.
The move is part of a series of recent high-tech measures by Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
Currently, foreign travelers are required to fill up the paper card upon arrival with information pertinent to the travelers, such as their flight to Singapore and where they are staying in Singapore.
The details are useful for border control and part of ICA’s suite of safety and security measures. For example, the information could be used to trace a fellow passenger who has been diagnosed with a communicable disease.
According to the authority’s statement, with the new electronic arrival card, travelers can submit their personal information and trip details through the ICA website or via a mobile application before arriving in Singapore.
Travelers will then only need to produce their passports for immigration clearance upon arrival.
The mobile application will allow returning travelers to save the information submitted from previous trips for use for their next trip to Singapore.
To ensure the smooth implementation of the new electronic arrival card, a trial will be conducted by the ICA for foreign visitors for three months from Oct 4, 2018.
The trial will be conducted at most of the air, land and sea checkpoints, namely Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, Changi Airport, and the four cruise/ferry terminals (i.e., Singapore Cruise Centre, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Changi Point Ferry Terminal, and Changi Ferry Terminal).
During the trial period, foreign visitors who arrive at these checkpoints but have not completed the paper card may be approached by ICA officers to participate in the trial and provide feedback.
The electronic arrival card will be available in various languages. Those traveling in families or small groups can choose to make a one-time group submission.
Aside from enhancing operational efficiency, the authority expects to save up to 48 million paper-based cards a year with the digitization.
More details of the implementation of the electronic arrival card will be announced at a later date, after completion of the trial.
This year alone, Singapore has unleashed a series of high-tech initiatives.
In April, its government announced plans to turn on facial recognition technology for over 100,000 lampposts to help authorities pick out and recognize faces in crowds across the country.
In the same month, the ICA installed X-ray imaging scanners at Tuas Checkpoint to better detect components on buses and vans.
Then, in August, Singapore stepped up security at its land borders by trialing scanning travelers’ eyes at Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
The eye scans, involving Singaporeans and permanent residents, could one day replace fingerprint verification.