No passport required as departures from Singapore airport set for 'seamless' travel from 2024

Travellers departing from one of the world's busiest airports will soon be able to do so without needing a passport.

An automated immigration clearance system is to be introduced at Changi Airport in Singapore from 2024, ministers have announced.

The changes will allow people to depart the airport without needing to "repeatedly present their travel documents".

Biometric data, taken from fingerprint scans and facial recognition technology, will replace travel documents and other physical items, such as passports.

Automated immigration lanes at Changi already use the technology, but the new measures will allow people to enjoy a more "seamless" experience when passing through the airport.

Communications minister Josephine Teo said Singapore will become "one of the first few countries in the world" to introduce such changes.

The opening phase of the scheme is expected to be available in the early part of next year through the introduction of QR code scanning points.

The upcoming changes follow an amendment to Singapore's immigration laws on Monday, which makes it easier for biometric clearance to be used at airports and other checkpoints.

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Some MPs in the country raised concerns about cybersecurity but ministers said the measures will allow Singapore to be more prepared for future pandemics and to pave the way for adjustments to border controls.

More than 100 airlines operate at Changi, with over five million people passing through the airport in June as passenger numbers continue to recover following the COVID pandemic.

Biometric gates are already in use at a number of airports across the world, including Heathrow in London and Charles de Gaulle in Paris.