Australia permanently extends self-service counter use to Singapore e-passport holders

SINGAPORE - Singapore visitors in Australia can now use SmartGate self-service counters at any of the country's eight major airports on a permanent basis.

Australia's assistant minister for immigration and border protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, announced on Monday that following a successful trial, SmartGate use will be permanently expanded to eligible Singapore nationals holding e-passports.

SmartGate is already available to Australian, New Zealand, US and UK citizens on a permanent basis and to Swiss electronic passport holders under trial arrangements.

'As part of Border Protection reform and the creation of the Australian Border Force, we are working towards providing a traveller experience where self-processing is an option available to the majority of travellers,' Minister Cash said.

In response to media queries on the permanent extension of SmartGate to Singapore by the Australian Government, a spokesman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said:

"Singapore welcomes the Australian Government's announcement today that SmartGate has been permanently extended to eligible Singapore passport holders.

"SmartGate, which offers self-service passport processing options in Australia's major airports, will facilitate travels by Singaporeans to Australia. This move reflects the close bilateral ties shared by Singapore and Australia and will further enhance the already-close people-to-people links between the two countries."