New thumbprint scanning at entry/exit may cause travel delays

26 Apr 16

SINGAPORE

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? All foreign visitors to Singapore will be required to scan their thumbprints under a new BioScreen system every time they arrive and depart the country.

What does the change mean? Travelers should expect longer lines at manned airport counters. However, eligible travelers who enroll in the enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS) will be able to bypass the BioScreen process.

  • Implementation time frame: The thumbprint scans took effect April 20 at land and sea checkpoints, to be followed at airports, and will be fully implemented at all other checkpoint in coming months.
  • Who is affected: Foreign visitors to Singapore.
  • Impact on processing times: Theadditional step at entry and exit points may delay immigration clearance for travelers.
  • Business impact: Business travelers should be aware that they will have to electronically scan their thumbprints upon each arrival and exit.
  • Next steps: Foreign residents and other nationalities eligible for eIACS should enroll at their earliest convenience to avoid longer lines and take advantage of automated immigration clearance. Those eligible to apply for eIACS include citizens of Australia, mainland China, Malaysia, and Hong Kong SAR passport holders, as well as Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.

Background: BioScreen was piloted at select locations last year and is now being rolled out at all entry and exit points. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said it is introducing the thumbprint scans to strengthen its verification of travelers’ identities.

BAL Analysis: Foreign visitors should expect travel delays at borders as the new system is introduced.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Singapore. For additional information, please contact singapore@balglobal.com.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com.