Under the current Automated Clearance Initiative introduced in May 2022, passport holders from selected jurisdictions are permitted to use selected automated lanes to clear immigration without prior enrolment. However, they must still present their passports.
Automated immigration clearance is also currently an option for travellers in wheelchairs and family groups of up to four people via the special assistance lanes (SALs), said ICA.
In 2023, eight such lanes were installed at both the arrival and departure bus halls of Woodlands Checkpoint, with another eight at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. A total of 42 special assistance lanes were also introduced at Terminals 1, 2 and 3 of Changi Airport.
ICA also noted that more than two-thirds of travellers arriving in Singapore via Changi Airport can now clear immigration via the automated lanes. This is compared with one-third in the pre-pandemic years.
Automated clearance has also become the default for bus travellers, with the installation of more than 90 automated lanes at the bus halls of Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints.
This has allowed ICA to clear about 8,500 travellers per hour during departure peak periods, as compared with 5,000 pre-pandemic.
As a result of faster clearance, ICA said more travellers are choosing to cross the Causeway by bus, with about 45 per cent of travellers passing through Woodlands Checkpoint in December 2023 doing so.
Woodlands Checkpoint will be redeveloped in several phases over the next 10 to 15 years. Work is scheduled to begin in 2025 and once fully complete, the new checkpoint will be about five times the current size with ICA aiming to cut the average clearance time from one hour to 15 minutes during peak periods.