Biometric screening for more travellers at Woodlands

Biometric screening for more travellers at Woodlands

All Singaporeans passing through Woodlands Checkpoint by bus or on foot are now required to scan their thumbprints in a move to enhance security.

Until recently, only those opting for automated clearance were required to scan thumbprints using biometric technology.

But machines were recently added to staffed immigration lanes, so that Singaporeans must now give a thumbprint. Vehicle lanes are not affected.

The Straits Times understands a similar system is in place at the Tuas Checkpoint, although a spokesman for the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) declined to confirm this. She did not comment either on whether the enhanced screening also affects permanent residents and foreigners.

The ICA said only that its BioScreen system, currently deployed at the automated lanes at the various checkpoints, is being progressively rolled out to the manned counters.

The aim is to "facilitate the smooth immigration clearance of travellers while ensuring the continued high security of our borders against unauthorised and undesirable elements", added the spokesman.

The ICA did not say when the roll-out started, nor when the system will be extended to other checkpoints.

Currently, only travellers with biometric passports, which contain a computer chip embedded with the passport holder's thumbprint and unique facial features, can opt for automated clearance. Machine-readable passports are being phased out.

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