ICA introduces new automated lane for wheelchair users and families in Changi Airport

The Special Assistance Lane will allow family groups to perform self-immigration clearance with their primary biometric identifiers.

Farhana Subuhan

Published: 16 December 2022, 6:51 PM

In a bid to make automated immigration clearance a norm at checkpoints, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has introduced a new Special Assistance Lane (SAL) at selected passenger halls in Changi Airport.

The new lane will serve wheelchair users and family groups of up to four persons with young children.

Currently, travellers using wheelchairs and family groups will need to proceed to manual counters for immigration clearance.

The self-immigration clearance can be performed with travellers’ primary identifiers such as iris and facial biometrics.

ICA officers will also be stationed to assist travellers who require assistance while using the SAL. The lane is currently available to Singapore residents: Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders.

It will be extended to foreign visitors from March 2023.

Singapore is the first country in the world to introduce an automated lane that allows multiple travellers to perform self-immigration clearance as a group.

ICA shared that it worked closely with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) to ensure that the SAL is well designed to meet the increasing needs of travellers.

Design-thinking workshops, virtual reality simulations and physical sessions with persons of reduced mobility were also conducted to identify potential challenges travellers may face when using the SAL.

This included the width of the lane as well as the placement and angles of the passport and biometric scanners. In addition, ICA revealed that it factored in feedback from the session for the final design of the SAL to ensure it is user-friendly and intuitive for travellers.

ICA said it will continue to refine the SAL and user experience based on travellers’ feedback.

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