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Passport-free Travel in Singapore: A Game-Changer for Certain Travelers –

Introducing QR Code Clearance at Land Borders

Singapore has taken a significant step towards streamlining travel procedures at its land borders with Malaysia. As of Tuesday, March 21, 2024, travelers crossing via car at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints can enjoy a “passport-free” experience by presenting self-generated QR codes instead of handing over their physical passports.

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore has implemented this new procedure to expedite immigration clearance without compromising security measures. Authorities estimate that the QR code clearance will reduce immigration processing time by more than 30%, potentially saving up to one minute for cars with 10 passengers.

Who Qualifies for QR Code Clearance?

Both Singapore residents and foreign travelers are eligible to generate QR codes via the government’s MyICA mobile app. Travelers can create group codes for up to 10 individuals traveling together in the same vehicle.

However, the QR code clearance is not available to two specific groups: those entering Singapore for the first time and those using a different passport from previous visits. Face-to-face checks by immigration officers will still be mandatory for all travelers.

Streamlining One of the World’s Busiest Border Crossings

The checkpoint linking Johor Bahru, Malaysia, to Woodlands, Singapore, is one of the busiest international border crossings globally. From March 7 to 10, 2024, over 1.8 million travelers crossed Singapore’s two checkpoints connecting the island with Malaysia, according to the ICA.

On March 8, 2024, a record-breaking 495,000 people crossed the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, surpassing the previous record of 485,000 travelers set in August 2019. These staggering numbers highlight the necessity for efficient border control procedures.

Part of a Larger Modernization Effort

The QR code clearance program is part of Singapore’s broader push to modernize border control and security procedures to manage the increasing traveler volume amid the challenges posed by an aging workforce.

Changi Airport, one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs, is also set to implement a “passport-free” immigration clearance system based on biometric verification. According to a representative from Changi Airport Group, trials for this program are currently underway, although a launch date has not been announced.

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