Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is trialling an electronic arrival card for foreign visitors to the country, a system that will eventually replace the paper-based disembarkation/embarkation card.
The trial will be conducted for three months from October 4, 2018 at most of the country’s air, land and sea checkpoints. The checkpoints are Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, Changi Airport, and the four cruise/ferry terminals – Singapore Cruise Centre, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Changi Point Ferry Terminal and Changi Ferry Terminal.
Travellers can submit their personal information and trip details through the ICA website or via a mobile application before arriving in Singapore. With this done, they will only need to produce their passports for immigration clearance upon arrival.
In the trial phase, it is not mandatory for foreign visitors who arrive at these checkpoints to have completed the paper-based card beforehand. ICA said in a statement that those that have not may be approached by ICA officers to participate in the trial, and to provide feedback.
Foreign visitors travelling with their families or in small groups will have the option of making a one-time group submission. Trip information such as flight details, last port of embarkation, expected date of arrival and departure, as well as address in Singapore will be automatically replicated for all persons in the group.
The trial will not affect Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders (e.g. students and workers) who are returning to Singapore, groups currently not required to produce a disembarkation/embarkation card when entering the country.
The electronic arrival card is a significant step towards ICA’s vision of paperless immigration clearance, and could save up to 48 million paper-based disembarkation/embarkation cards a year. More details of the implementation of the electronic arrival card will be announced at a later date, after completion of the trial.