Singapore announces plans to offer passport-free options for some travelers

Singapore is a busy travel location and the move to offer a passport-free option is expected to help out a specific section of travelers.
Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore Flyer, Singapore, 2012 Singapore Grand Prix
Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore Flyer, Singapore, 2012 Singapore Grand Prix / Darren Heath Photographer/GettyImages

Improving the ease and efficiency of travel are initiatives that companies and countries are undertaking, looking to make things simpler, at least for a certain segment of travelers. Singapore is pushing the movement forward, making big changes to how passports are used for those looking to travel in the country. 

It was recently announced that the Singapore government made the decision that “biometric processing” would replace physical passports at the Changi Airport in early 2024. To go along with that, the land border with Malaysia has become a “passport free” zone for some travelers. Monica Pitrelli of CNBC Travel reported on the news that travelers moving through Singapore and Malaysia by car can opt to show a QR code instead of their travel documents at two checkpoints. The Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority noted that this change should expedite processing without “compromising on security,” as mentioned in the report. 

Singapore residents and foreign travelers are eligible to use this new processing option. The code can be used for up to 10 people moving through the location at once. Travelers may also be subject to face-to-face check-ins as well. There are some groups that are ineligible from using this travel option. Those who are visiting Singapore for the first time and individuals who used a different passport in other visits must continue to show their physical documents. The new processing option is expected to say time by up to 30 percent. 

Singapore is a popular travel destination and a lot of traffic occurs across the border between the two countries. According to Pitrelli’s report, 1.8 million travelers moved between the two countries from March 7 to March 10. This is an effort to further modernize travel between the two countries with the intention of speeding processing to serve more travelers. The official launch date has not been announced.