You’ve probably heard that Singapore is introducing electronic arrival cards for foreign visitors. This will eventually replace the paper cards that you’re required to fill up when you enter Singapore. A couple of “viral news” sites have “reported” the move with headlines such as “Starting Today, You’ll Need To Apply For An Electronic Arrival Card If You’re Travelling To Singapore” and “You Need To Apply For Electronic Arrival Cards Before Traveling To Singapore Starting October 4.”
You might be wondering… Do you need to fill up your particulars online? or do you need to download an app before entering the country? Despite the numbers of shares you see on Facebook and WhatsApp, you shouldn’t worry about this electronic arrival card feature when you visit our southern neighbour for the time being.
According to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore, they are conducting trials on the new electronic arrival card for foreign visitors that enter the country by air, land and sea checkpoints. This will reduce the use of paper and could potentially save up to 48 million cards each year.
If the system is implemented, visitors to Singapore can submit their personal and trip details online before traveling and all they will need is to produce a passport during immigration clearance. There will be multiple language options and it also caters for family and small groups that are travelling together. The system also saves your previous information which can be retrieved for future trips, which is great.
However, this isn’t mandatory at the moment and they are running this as a trial for 3 months from 4 October 2018. The trial will be conducted at Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, Changi Airport and at cruise or ferry terminals. According to their website, “Foreign visitors who arrive at these checkpoints but have not yet completed the paper-based disembarkation/embarkation card may be approached by ICA officers to participate in the trial, and to provide feedback.”
So in short, the paper arrival cards are still there and you’ll be invited to try out their electronic arrival card system only if you’re approached by one of their officers. Our colleague Vernon Chan had visited Singapore on Thursday and he still needs to fill up the paper card upon arrival.
Don’t believe us? The ICA have even posted on Facebook that the trial is still on going and they have clarified that the website link for the electronic arrival card is NOT AVAILABLE YET. ICA states that more details of the implementation of the electronic arrival card will be announced at a later date, after completion of the trial.
As always, don’t share if you’re not sure. It is always recommended to check with reputable news sites or from the source itself. Know someone who’s convinced that electronic travel cards are mandatory in Singapore? Feel free to send this link to them.
Here’s an infographic from ICA on the new paperless process: