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Biometrics turn Changi Airport passport-free

Passengers at Changi Airport may soon be able to travel passport-free.

Travellers departing from Singapore’s Changi Airport will no longer need to show passports or boarding passes when clearing immigration thanks to biometric technology.

A raft of high-tech iris and facial biometric verification technology is being developed by the airport to enable passport-free travel and it’s hoped it will go live later this year.

Initially, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority had stipulated that only Singapore residents arriving or leaving through Changi would be able to take advantage of the new technology.

However, earlier this month it added that foreign nationals who have enrolled their facial and iris biometrics on a previous visit to Singapore would also be able to enjoy passport- and boarding pass-free clearance. The ICA aims to make automated clearance available to all travellers by 2023.

The Singapore government confirmed the development this week.

“We are working on an initiative where departing passengers at Changi need only present their biometrics for verification at the various departure touch points, without having to present any physical identity or travel documents,” said senior minister Teo Chee Hean.

Since Covid travel restrictions were lifted, passenger traffic at Changi Airport has soared to more than 40% of pre-pandemic levels, on track to meet the airport’s goal of 50% by the end of the year.

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