SINGAPORE – The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) encouraged returning Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders who have been vaccinated overseas to upload their vaccination certificate onto their electronic health declaration card before arrival.
In a statement on Sunday (Nov 7), ICA said the declaration card is part of the electronic SG Arrival Card and uploading the certificate will enable their vaccination record to be automatically transmitted to and reflected on the HealthHub or TraceTogether apps.
It will also allow them to use the automated lanes upon arrival for faster immigration clearance.
“Singapore residents and long-term pass holders who do not upload their foreign digital vaccination certificate before their arrival will have to clear immigration at the manual counters,” said ICA.
“This will speed up clearance at the arrival immigration counters, as ICA officers will not have to manually check the vaccination certificate of these travellers.”
It added that those vaccinated in Singapore are not required to upload their vaccination certificate in the electronic health declaration card, as their vaccination records would have been automatically transmitted to ICA’s immigration system.
“They can use the automated lanes for immigration clearance upon arrival,” said ICA.
This comes as traveller volume picks up, with the Covid-19 pandemic presenting an opportunity for ICA to accelerate its transformation plans towards further automation of immigration clearance.
The authority noted that by Nov 9, there will be 12 countries or regions on the Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme.
Manual endorsement stamps on passports will also be phased out in line with the progressive launch of the electronic Visit Pass (e-Pass) for foreign visitors, said ICA.
The e-Pass is issued via an e-mail notification to the visitor’s declared e-mail address.
It contains details of the visit pass granted, including the maximum length of stay and the last day of stay allowed in Singapore.
The e-Pass has been implemented at Changi Airport since Oct 10 and will be fully operational at all checkpoints in Singapore by December 2021.
An online enquiry portal accessible via the SG Arrival Card portal will also be launched the same month.
It will allow foreign visitors to retrieve information on their e-Pass digitally.
In the meantime, ICA advised foreign visitors with queries about their e-Pass to contact the dedicated ICA hotline at 6214-8427.
Other measures announced include manual immigration counters that reduce the need for ICA officers to handle travellers’ passports during immigration clearance to mitigate Covid-19 transmission, as well as a shift from fingerprints to iris and facial biometrics .
ICA said the redesigned manual immigration counters at Changi Airport Terminal 4, which serves flights from high-risk countries and regions, will allow travellers to scan their passport themselves before its officers assess the travellers’ eligibility for entry.
It also said iris patterns and facial features have replaced fingerprints as the primary biometric identifiers for immigration clearance.
All automated lanes and manual immigration counters at the passenger halls of Singapore’s air, land and sea checkpoints have been equipped with iris and facial scanners since July.
“Besides being more reliable than fingerprints for identity authentication, the use of iris and facial scanners has enabled a touch-free immigration clearance that is more hygienic, convenient and efficient,” ICA said.