Biometric verification for travellers in the works

High-tech checkpoint: A traveller using an iris and facial scanner at the arrival hall of Changi Airport Terminal 3. — The Straits Times/ANN

TRAVELLERS flying out of Changi Airport will no longer have to present their passports or boarding passes when clearing immigration, after an initiative to use biometrics for verification is rolled out later this year.

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday said: “We are working on an initiative where departing passengers at Changi need only present their biometrics for verification at the various departure touchpoints without having to present any physical identity or travel documents.”

This would not only enhance user experience but also contribute to the new precautions needed for safe and healthy flying post-pandemic, he said during a closed-door dialogue at the Changi Aviation Summit.

The Straits Times understands that the initiative will be rolled out progressively this year.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had previously said that in future, Singapore residents leaving or arriving at Changi will be able to clear immigration without having to show their passports.

Instead, their identities will be verified using iris and facial biometrics as they walk through clearance gates.

Earlier this month, ICA also said foreign travellers who have enrolled their facial and iris biometrics on their first visit to Singapore will be able to get automated immigration clearance on subsequent trips here, starting from the second half of this year.

This is in line with the agency’s goals to make automated clearance a norm for all travellers from 2023.

Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, on Tuesday said the aviation sector should take the chance to improve its service levels and transform the customer experience.

Cybersecurity must also be strengthened to protect customer data and ensure aviation systems are resilient, especially since these are often interlinked, he said. — The Straits Times/ANN

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