Travel Guides & Tips

9 Popular Travel Destinations With E-Gates For Singaporeans To Clear Immigration Quicker

Countries with e-gates for Singaporeans


The worst case scenario one can ever think of when travelling is forgetting your passport or being stuck at immigration and potentially missing your flight. Luckily for us, Singaporeans have one of the strongest passports in the world. This allows us to take advantage of the e-gates or automated lanes to pass through immigration swiftly.

To make your travels smoother, we’ve compiled a list of countries with e-gates that Singaporeans can use.


What are e-gates?


The electronic gate system, or e-gate, are self-service immigration counters that allow eligible biometric passport holders to breeze through border controls. Instead of manually having an immigration officer check your passport and let you through, e-gates use facial recognition to identify you, making the immigration process faster and smoother.

However, most airports will require you to register online before using the e-gates.

And if you’re wondering what a biometric passport is, it’s a passport that comes with a microchip with all of your personal details. All Singapore passports are biometric ones, so hurrah.


Where can Singaporeans use e-gates?


The good news is that there are many countries popular with Singaporean travellers where e-grates can be used. Think of every Singaporean’s favourite getaway travel destination like Bali, Thailand or even countries such as the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands.


1. Malaysia



Image credit: Beatrice Maefina

Driving across the border to our neighbouring country has never been easier with Malaysia’s e-gates. These e-gates can be found at the Johor Bahru Checkpoint and Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminals 1 and 2.


Image credit: Saravana Rao via Facebook

Non-Singaporean travellers will have to submit the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card within 3 calendar days of their departure and verify their passport and the manual counters for first-timers to get a stamp.

For more information, read our guide to applying for e-gates to Malaysia.

Do you need to apply beforehand? Yes.

Where to apply:

Requirements: 

  • Passports should have a minimum of 3 months validity from the date when you’re travelling
  • Kids will have to be at least 1.2m tall. Else, you’d need to accompany them through the manual lanes.

Do you need a visa?

No, Singaporeans can stay in Malaysia for up to 30 days. If you’ve travelled to Malaysia before, you would remember needing to fill up the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) before arrival. Fortunately, from 1 January 2024 onwards, Singaporeans no longer need to complete the MDAC.


2. Bali


With plenty of things to do in Bali, it’s a popular weekend destination for Singaporeans. You’d want to be making the most of your time there, and the last thing you want to do is to queue up for hours at immigration. Recently, Bali launched 30 auto gates at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport that help cut short the time Singaporeans will spend at immigration.

You’ll need to register for the auto gates online, but not to worry as the process is rather simple. All you need to prepare is a picture of your passport, yourself, and personal details such as accommodation.

For more information, read our guide to applying for Bali’s automated gates.

Do you need to apply beforehand? Yes.

Where to apply:

Requirements: None.

Do you need a visa? 

No, Singaporeans are allowed to visit Bali visa-free for 30 days. You’ll need to fill up an e-customs declaration before arriving. On top of that, you’ll also need to pay a tourism tax (IDR150,000, ~SGD$12.61) Bali through the Love Bali website or by downloading their app on Apple or Android.


3. Thailand


Bangkok is one of the most popular travel destinations for Singaporeans and it’s not hard to understand why – considering the abundance of food, affordable prices shopping, and vibrant nightlife. In fact, we even have a guide on the best things to do in Bangkok.

Singaporeans can use the e-gates in Thailand, but only when arriving or departing through Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The immigration process takes approximately 45 seconds for the immigration offices to check your passport and let you through immigration if you were to do it manually. Thailand’s e-gates, on the other hand, cut the process down to 20 seconds.

Do you need to apply beforehand?: No

Where to apply: There’s no need to apply for the e-gates beforehand.

Requirements: None.

Do you need a visa?: 

No, under the Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme (TVES), Singaporeans are allowed to enter Thailand without a visa and stay in the country for 30 days.


4. Hong Kong


At Hong Kong International Airport, the automated lanes are called the e-Channel service.

Since it was implemented for Singaporean travellers in 2014, we’ve been able to go through immigration at the Hong Kong airport even faster. Plus, departing travellers can also leave via the Smart Departure system.

However, this e-Channel service can only be used if you haven’t visited Hong Kong more than 2 times over the past 2 years. The only exceptions would be if you have a HKSAR Travel Pass, APEC Business Travel Card, or Frequent Flyer Programme membership card from an airline that is registered under the Frequent Visitor Scheme.

Do you need to apply beforehand? Yes, unless you’ve registered for the e-Channel Service for Frequent Visitors before.

Where to apply: 

  • In person at e-Channel Enrolment Offices at the Immigration Headquarters
  • In person at Hong Kong International Airport
  • In person at Macau Ferry Terminal

Requirements: 

  • Own a Singapore passport with at least 6 months validity
  • Above 11 years of age
  • No adverse records in Hong Kong

Do you need a visa? 

No, Singaporeans are allowed to stay in Hong Kong for a duration of 90 days without a visa provided their passport has a 6-month validity. Additionally, you’ll be required to fill up an arrival card for immigration. This arrival card is usually distributed by the cabin crew before landing.


5. Taiwan



Image credit: 桃園國際機場 Taoyuan International Airport via Facebook

Before you are eligible to use the e-gates in Taiwan, you’ll be required to register at the immigration counters where they’ll collect your passport information, fingerprint, and picture. Additionally, an electronic application form and online Arrival card have to be completed as well.

Frequent travellers to Taiwan will soon have more options. From 2024 to 2025, Taiwan will be replacing and installing new e-gates in the following airports and harbours:

  • Songshan International Airport
  • Taoyuan International Airport
  • Kaohsiung International Airport
  • Taichung International Airport
  • Keelung Harbor
  • Kaohsiung Harbor
  • Kinmen Shuitou Harbor

Do you need to apply beforehand? Yes, but visitors who have previously registered for e-gates won’t need to register again.

Where to apply:

  • In-person at the immigration counter at the various airports in Taiwan

Requirements: 

  • Own a Singapore passport with a minimum of 6 months’ validity
  • Do not have any negative track record in Taiwan
  • Kids should be at least 12 years old

Do you need a visa?

No, Singaporeans are allowed to stay in Taiwan visa-free for 30 days. A completed Online Arrival Card will be expected as well.


6. Australia


Whether you’re looking for an adventure, nature, or cultural experience, Australia has much to offer. Popular destinations for Singaporeans include Melbourne and Sydney, but states such as New South Wales are gaining traction too.

Passing through the Arrivals SmartGates in Australia is a relatively easy and seamless process. All you have to do is go through a kiosk and a gate. There’ll be some questions to answer while you’re at the kiosk and if all goes well, it’ll issue you a ticket that you’d need to insert at the gate.

At the time of writing, the airports in Australia where you can find the Arrivals SmartGates are as follows:

  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Darwin
  • Gold Coast
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney

Do you need to apply beforehand? No

Where to apply: Travellers with Singapore passports need not apply for Arrival SmartGates.

Requirements: 

  • Own a passport from one of the following countries: Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Macau, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
  • The intent of travel should be for tourism or business purposes only
  • The visit should not be more than 90 days
  • Be at least 16 years of age

Do you need a visa?

Yes, Singaporeans have to apply for a visa when travelling to Australia and can opt for Electronic Travel Authority (visa subclass 601) through the ETA App available on both Apple and Android. The ETA visa is meant for short-term tourism or business-related travels and will be valid for a year and repeated visits of 90 days per trip.


7. United Arab Emirates



Image credit: Dubai Airports via Facebook

Dubai International Airport is often pitted against our very own Changi International Airport for being one of the most futuristic airports in the world. Singaporeans can go through the Smart Gates at terminals 1, 2, and 3 of the airport.

To use the ePassport gates, you’ll first need to be registered with Smart Gates, which you can do at either the Dubai International Airport or Emirates Terminal 3. Upon successful registration, you’ll no longer have to chop your passport during immigration.

Registering for Smart Gates is a breeze; all you have to do is look into the green light at the Smart Gates and it’ll do the rest of the work.

Do you need to apply beforehand? Yes

Where to apply:

  • In-person at the Smart Gates at the Dubai International Airport

Requirements: 

  • Own a biometric passport
  • Be at least 1.2m in height
  • Above the age of 15 years old

Do you need a visa?

Yes, Singaporeans will be expected to apply for a free visa which will allow them to stay for 30 days. However, know that the application for the visa should be made at least 2 weeks before your date of travel.


8. New Zealand



Queenstown Airport.
Image credit: Ryan W via Google Maps

If you’re looking for a chill place to have a nature-fuelled holiday, New Zealand is probably one of the countries on your list. At the time of writing, there are 4 airports which have e-gates – Auckland Airport, Wellington International Airport, Christchurch International Airport, and Queenstown Airport. You can use the e-gates in these airports for both arrival and departure.

Do you need to apply beforehand? No

Where to apply: There’s no need to apply for the e-gates beforehand.

Requirements: 

  • Own a biometric passport
  • Be at least 12 years of age

Do you need a visa?

No, Singaporeans can visit New Zealnad for a maximum of 90 days visa-free. However, passports need to have a minimum of 3 months validity before departure. Travellers will need to complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD) before reaching passport control.


9. Netherlands



Image credit: MJ Netjes via Google Maps

The Netherlands is known for its windmills, cheese, wooden clogs, and tulips. Unfortunately, the e-gates in the Netherlands are only available for departure and not arrival – but at least you get to spend more time relaxing before flying back home.

If you’re only dropping by the Netherlands for transit, you can still refer to their official website to check if the country you’ve come from or will be travelling to is on the approved list to use the e-gates.

Do you need to apply beforehand? No

Where to apply: There’s no need to apply for the e-gates beforehand.

Requirements:

  • Hold a passport that is on the approved list
  • At least 14 years of age

Do you need a visa?

No, Singaporeans are allowed to be visa-free in the Netherlands for a maximum of 90 days – provided that their passport is valid for at least 6 months.


What do I need to do when I’m at the E-gates?


There isn’t much you need to worry about or prepare when getting ready to pass through the e-gates. Remember, they’re installed to make your life much easier.

Remember to remove any eyewear, headphones, scarves, or anything that might obstruct the e-gate from taking a clear photo of you. instructions are clear and straightforward – but don’t panic if you find yourself stuck, as the airport staff will be around to help you out. You also need to remove any passport covers before reaching your e-gate to avoid holding up the entire queue.

Bonus tip: Aside from using the e-gates, applying for your visas in advance and completing any required declaration or arrival card before boarding the plane also helps ensure a swift transit through immigration upon arrival.


Save time at immigration by using the e-gates for Singaporeans


Immigration has always been the most sian part about any trip. With these e-gates Singaporeans can use, the process at the airport will be so much faster, which means you get to enjoy more fun under the sun or get to your next destination faster.

Read our other articles for lesser-known travel hacks, or check out our guide on Singapore-Johor buses if you’re planning to cross the Causeway.


Cover image adapted from: Dubai Airports via Facebook

Gracelyn Lim

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