Australia has extended the use of its Smartgate facilities, which enables e-passport holders to self-process through immigration, to Singapore passport holders on a trial basis.
Singaporeans travelling down under with an e-passport can now skip the long immigration counters at eight major airports and use the automated immigration system. The participating airports are Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin.
“Customs and Border Protection is launching a trial to allow Singaporean e-passport holders aged 16 years and over to use Smartgate self-processing facilities in Australia’s eight major airports,” said Andrew Robb, Australia’s minister for trade and investment.
Australia represents a popular travel destination for visitors from Singapore, who last year accounted for more than 385,000 of the country’s inbound travellers, up 12.1 per cent on 2012. In 2013, there were more visitors from Singapore than any other country within Southeast Asia.
The service is currently open to Australian, New Zealand and UK citizens on a permanent basis while US and Swiss electronic passport holders are also able to use the Smartgate under a trial arrangement.
The Australian Customs and Border Protection intends to extend the trial service to other nationalities over the coming year, as it believes that more than 80 per cent of visitors travelling in and out of the country will hold a valid e-passport by 2018.
For more information, visit www.customs.gov.au