You May Soon Be Able To Enter Singapore With Facial Recognition Instead Of Passports

The new 'breeze-through immigration clearance' system will identify you via iris and facial images.

Cover image via The Straits Times

Using passports and fingerprints to go through immigration will soon be a thing of the past for people travelling to Singapore via Tuas Checkpoint

Singapore's Immigration And Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is conducting a six-month trial for a new contactless immigration clearance system at the checkpoint's bus hall's automated arrival lanes.

The trial, which commenced on 8 April, is part of ICA's vision for an efficient and hassle-free immigration clearance experience, Mothership reported.

The new 'breeze-through immigration clearance' system will identify you via iris and facial images

Since 2017, travellers have been cleared using a dual facial and thumbprint recognition system.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via BBC

According to an ICA news release published on 15 April, the new system will capture the facial and iris images of travellers in the automated lane, verify their identity, and confirm that they have a valid passport.

Here's how the system works:

Image via ICA

The process reportedly takes under 60 seconds.

The trial is eligible to citizens above the age of six who hold passports which were issued after 1 January 2018 and begin with the letter K

No prior sign-up is required, and participants need to ensure that they do not wear sunglasses, caps, or other headgear that will obstruct their full facial image when using the contactless immigration clearance lane.

"Singaporeans who wish to participate in this trial should not wear any coloured, patterned contact lenses or have any wearables that will block their facial and iris images, as these will affect the trial results," Soong says.

The ICA will study the results of the trial and assess the feasibility to extend this initiative to more automated clearance lanes and other checkpoints.

While the facial and iris scanning technology is not new, having been used in Australia and Hong Kong, Singapore is among the first countries to test this contactless immigration clearance system

In November, ICA announced that biometric data taken at checkpoints could also be used to identify people of interest in the event of a "security accident".

"A robust biometrics database of travellers, comprising facial images, fingerprint, and iris, will be useful for post-incident investigation and data analytics purposes in the event of a security incident," the statement read, according to Coconuts Singapore.

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