Singapore's Changi Airport is moving to passport-free mode in 2024, but you'll still need a passport

Artificial waterfall at the airport

The changes are aimed at creating a "more harmonious" system at the Asian hub, which handled more than 5 million passengers last month. Soon you won't need a passport to travel through Singapore's Changi Airport.

From early 2024, the busy transportation hub is expected to replace passport controls with automated immigration and boarding processes. This will involve the use of biometric technology and facial recognition, allowing passengers to fly without passports or boarding passes. However, passengers will still need to carry documents to board and disembark in other countries.

How is technology evolving at Singapore Airport?

Changi is always one step ahead among other airports. With the world's tallest waterfall inside, a sprawling butterfly garden and a rock climbing wall, it is consistently ranked as one of the top airports in the world. Biometric technology is already part of the airport of the future. It is used in automatic passageways at passport control. But the move to full biometrics puts Singapore Airport ahead of the rest. "Biometrics will be used to create a single authentication token that will be used at various automatic checkpoints, from baggage drop-off to passport control and boarding," says the country's communications minister Josephine Teo. "This will ensure that passengers do not have to present their documents multiple times when passing through these checkpoints, ensuring seamless and convenient processing." Teo adds that Singapore will be "one of the first countries in the world" to implement such changes - they are due to be launched in the first half of 2024.

Singapore also has the world's most powerful passport

Singaporeans can be particularly proud of their passports, even as physical documents start to lose their importance back home. Their country took the top spot in this year's Henley Passport Index, displacing Japan from the top. That's because people from Singapore have visa-free access to 192 tourist destinations out of 227 worldwide. The country climbs up the rankings, gaining visa-free access to an additional 25 countries over the past 10 years.