Singapore passports now welcome at Australian airport SmartGates

By David Flynn, July 22 2014

Singapore passports can now be used at the automated SmartGate scanners at Australia's eight major international airports.

Singaporeans with the appropriate smartchipped electronic passports will be able to use any of the inbound SmartGate lanes following the success of a trial program launched in February.

Over 385,000 Singaporeans visited Australia in 2013 – an increase of 12.1% compared to 2012 – and Singapore is the first Asian country approved for the SmartGate system.

New Zealand, US and UK citizens already enjoy SmartGate access on a permanent basis, while Swiss electronic passports are currently being accepted under trial arrangements. 

Australia's Customs and Border Protection agency plans to trial additional nationalities this year, with priority being given to countries that have the most regular visitors to Australia.

It's expected that by 2018 more than 80% of all travellers into and out of Australia will hold a SmartGate-friendly ePassport.

SmartGates are available for inbound travellers at Darwin, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Gold Coast international airports.

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

JBH
JBH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2012

Total posts 118

David, any future plans for a reciprocal arrangement for Aust passport holders at Changi?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

OH GOD YES

Having expressed my embrace of this idea, I will also note that it's not normally as valuable at SIN, since they actually have enough immigration officers who can process arrivals at a decent speed.

SIN immigration makes you feel welcome. SYD immigration makes you want to stab yourself in the jugular.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 15

It's still too long a wait at SIN.

For any airport, if the person entering is entitled to a visa waiver scheme, why is there any need to be seen by a human when something like Smart Gate can churn people through with barely a pause in their step?

The other question is why there isn't Smart Gate for people leaving the country?  Apparently, the US doesn't bother with the annoying hoops to which we subject our citizens who have the audactity to depart.  I'm sick of the queues:  why can't I just check in and head to the lounge or gate, like in SIN?  Not since East Germany has a nation taken such an interest in the movement of its citizens as does Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

I agree, but I must confess that I also like having my passports stamped at SIN. There's nothing like counting all my two decades' worth of SIN arrivals and departures...

But seriously? Unless there's a damn good reason to prevent SmartGate departure immigration, I'm with you all the way.

One is processed by immigration when one departs SIN.

Fair point about Smart Gate for AU passport holders. Not so practical for non-AU passport holders. How do you detect if someone has over stayed their visa?

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 15

I would imagine detection would be quite easy.  If they are logged as entering, the count starts on the computer system and if they aren't recorded as leaving, then the system raises an alert. 

The thing about leaving Australia that irks me is the departure card nonsense.  I'm sure it keeps a small army of bureaucrats employed, but it's a pain inflicted needlessly.

I can't remember the details, but doesn't Garuda do some of the immigration stuff onboard?  Sure, a few passport stampers might be in need of something else to do, but think of the benefits if the majority of people can just be waved through, maybe pausing to pop their passport into a smart gate.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

the 'departure card' does actually serve a purpose...if you read the questions it is asking, there are a few clues...gathering extra info on who/what/where/why, which is passed on to various non customs/immigration depts, to enable them to construct statistics on who/what/wher/why people enter/exit Australia :-)

 

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

forgot to add..same thing applies to the 'arrival card'

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 124

Who cares if someone overstayed?  They're leaving anyway! 

If need be it could be logged to raise a flag in the system if and when they apply for another visa, but until then...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 26

Smart gate is a must for departures. I still think some kind of control is useful. Youd be surprised how many subpeonas  DFAT gets.

We need US Global Entry for AU passport holders!

05 Jun 2012

Total posts 31

Re: SIN enrty/exit: I've been in and out of SIN a couple of times in the last six months and four times out of four not only has it taken less than 60 seconds but there hasn't even been a queue. Watson374 is dead right, SIN actually staffs their immigration counters properly. It's certainly a different world compared to MEL, where in the immigration exit section of the airport there are 10+ officer stations that I've never seen in use. For this, among other reasons, I would like SmartGate be available for departures post haste.

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 124

I usually go through mid-afternoon which is when the peak bank of flights connecting to Europe leave - always seems fine to me (and I've got a stack of unused express path vouchers for departures to prove it...)

Arrivals is generally a disaster.  Not a pleasant welcome for a visitor to find yourself in a queue that takes 30+ minutes...

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

Arriving at Changi sometimes feels like a domestic flight. 

On another note, I arrived at BNE Intl at 7.30pm the other night, no queues, no fuss and straight out. It's a much different story at 7am with inbounds from Asia + North America.

I think SYD has to take the cake though, coming in early morning and transferring to DOM. Tough going... Don't really care though as you get to take the best bus ride in Australia!

S
S

13 Sep 2013

Total posts 105

I reckon arrival at Changi always feels like domestic!

Especially when coming in from another SE Asian hub. A couple of times last year I had flights arrive 15-20 early, which saw me arriving by taxi in the city at exactly the time I was originally supposed to land.

Don't see why there's need for a Smartgate in Singapore. The longest wait I've ever had was about 60 seconds

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

It usually feels quite domestic on arrival - the other day I landed at T1 during the big AirAsia arrival bank, so with no checked bags I jumped on the Skytrain to T2 to clear immigration there, and there was nobody in line. Like, literally nobody - immigration officers were standing around chatting.

Outbound is a bit more variable.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 264

I wish the Australian SmartGate worked for my Australian Passport. I have no problems in using SG in NZ but rest assured here in Australia I get rejected. Immigration staff have no idea, can anyone make any suggestions?

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

Same with me Adam. 

First time I used SmartGate it worked perfectly however the second time it rejected me, and has done so ever since (about 5 times now). Customs just said 'yeah sometimes it will just never work'. Great support response.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

19 Apr 2014

Total posts 46

makes no difference in SYD. As most of the smart gates are conveniently out of order whenever I'm at the airport, waiting in line is as almost as long as passing through normal immigration.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 26

Although SIN passport control is great it should be reciprical. Not fair otherwise.


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