What is the change? The Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has announced that it will conduct a trial on use of an electronic disembarkation/embarkation card for international visitors entering by air, land and sea.

What does the change mean? Passengers will eventually be able to submit their personal information and trip details through the ICA’s website or via a mobile app before their arrival. This will replace the disembarkation/embarkation card that is currently manually filled out.

  • Implementation time frame: The trial period started Oct. 4 and will continue for three months at most air, land, and sea ports of entry.
  • Visas/permits affected: During the trial period, international visitors entering Singapore who have not completed the disembarkation/embarkation card will be directed to the online system in the arrival hall to obtain their short-term visit pass.
  • Business impact: The paperless procedure could speed up immigration clearance for international visitors to Singapore, as they will only need to show their passport to border officers who will be able to access their electronic forms.
  • Next steps: Full details of the implementation will be announced after the trial period.

Background: Border authorities are moving to a paperless system to streamline processes, reduce paper forms and retain passenger information within their databases. Passengers will fill out their disembarkation/embarkation card online via the ICA website or a mobile app. The card requires information such as the traveler’s name, local address, and travel document number. Information submitted electronically can be retrieved for future trips.

The change does not affect Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders (e.g., students and workers) who are returning to Singapore, who do not need to submit any disembarkation/embarkation card.

Analysis & Comments: The move toward a paperless immigration clearance system is good news for travelers because it streamlines the process and reduces the need to carry and present the disembarkation/embarkation card to border officers. International visitors to Singapore may be approached by ICA officers during the trial period to participate in the trial and provide feedback that will be used to assess and help improve the system for full implementation.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.