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Singapore’s Self-Clearing Kiosks Streamline Immigration

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Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has installed new bi-directional self-clearing immigration kiosks at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) to increase automated clearance capacity and give passengers faster passage. Ten of these kiosks have been gradually operationalised at the WTCP since March 2023, catering to both leaving and incoming train passengers.

The WTCP handles many train trips each day, clearing about 31 departures and arrivals with a maximum capacity of over 10,000 people. The installation of these ten kiosks enhances clearing throughput dramatically, minimising overcrowding on railway platforms and allowing for faster turnaround times for approaching trains.

It was difficult to innovate within the WTCP’s space limits, as there were only a few automated lanes accessible. To address this, the ICA chose to conduct passport scanning and biometric capture at kiosks rather than standard automated lines. The kiosks were deliberately organised in clusters to maximise the limited area, and this was the first time such kiosks were used for immigration processing at Singapore checkpoints.

Self-clearance kiosks are available to Singapore citizens, long-term pass holders, and short-term tourists who have participated in the Automated Clearance Initiative (ACI). Short-term visitors who have not enlisted in the ACI, as well as families with children under the age of six, will continue to use manual counters for clearance. Eligible first-time visitors will also be able to enlist in the ACI at the WTCP by the end of 2023.

The immigration clearance procedure at the kiosks is identical to that utilised in the automated channels. When their turn arrives, passengers enter the cluster and proceed to any available kiosk. They insert their passport and exhibit their biometrics (iris and facial) for verification.

Passengers proceed to the exit barrier for identity verification before continuing their journey once the clearance procedure is complete. For proper identification, it is essential that travellers adhere to guidelines such as removing passport covers, avoiding obstructive headgear, coloured or patterned contact lenses, and removing facial masks.

The introduction of these self-clearance kiosks has considerably enhanced the clearance experience for travellers, decreasing the processing time to about 24 seconds compared to 45 seconds at manual counters.

This efficacy has not only benefited passengers but has also allowed the ICA to redeploy officers to areas that require additional manpower support. ICA remains committed to further adaptations and innovations to enhance the clearance experience and manage congestion at land checkpoints.

In addition, the installation of automated terminals at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint demonstrates Singapore’s dedication to utilising automation to streamline immigration processes, improve efficiency, and provide travellers with a seamless experience.

The automation of the immigration clearance procedure reduces the duration of each transaction. With the self-clearance terminals at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint, the clearance time is reduced from 45 seconds at manual counters to approximately 24 seconds. This increased efficiency facilitates faster clearance for travellers, thereby reducing congestion and lines.

Automation provides travellers with a more seamless and user-friendly experience. The self-clearance kiosks offer a straightforward procedure, allowing passengers to independently complete the required clearance steps. This reduces reliance on manual assistance and enables travellers to efficiently complete the clearance procedure.

Automation lays the groundwork for future scalability and flexibility. As technology evolves, automated systems can be upgraded and expanded to accommodate increasing traveller volumes and changing clearance requirements. This scalability ensures that immigration processes can keep up with rising demand and shifting travel landscapes.

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