Passengers on international flights required to fill in departure cards need a valid boarding pass and Passport to proceed through immigration checkpoints. The traveller is usually required to retain the latter in his passport and use that same card to exit the country. Hong Kong and Macau have the departure portion as a carbon copy of the landing card but the flight number, next destination and signature are left blank while the latter six have a shorter portion for departure cards which require less information, but they are joined together as with other to enable immigration officers to tear off one portion as with most ASEAN nations. For a short time between and , the Philippines also had a card with portions pertaining to arrival and departure. All passengers, regardless of nationality, are required to fill out the arrival portion and immigrants were required to retain the departure portion. Filipino citizens on the other hand would fill out a separate departure card on their next flight leaving the Philippines.
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To ensure smooth implementation of the new electronic arrival card, a trial will be conducted by the ICA for foreign visitors for three months from Thursday.
More details of the implementation of the system will be announced at a later date, after the trial is completed. When the electronic arrival card is fully implemented, travellers can submit their personal information and trip details through the ICA website or via a mobile application before arriving in Singapore. The travellers will then need to produce only their passports for immigration clearance upon arrival. These details will still be required under the new electronic card.
The electronic arrival card will be available in various languages, and those travelling in families or small groups can choose to make a one-time group submission. The mobile app will also save information from previous trips for use during the next trip to Singapore. Mr Duong Dat, 23, a software engineer from Vietnam who visits Singapore once or twice a year to meet friends, said an electronic arrival card would be great, as it will reduce the waiting time at arrival.
He added that it will also remove the last-minute scramble for him to fill up the information. She also noted that the data-saving feature will be handy as she would not have to fill the form every time. Earlier this year, X-ray imaging scanners were introduced at the Tuas Checkpoint to better detect components on buses and vans that have been modified or contain explosives. A new Web portal called MyICA was also launched by the authority in June to make renewing and applying for a new Singapore passport easier.
In August this year, eye-scan trials were rolled out for Singaporeans and permanent residents at Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
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