Want to speed your way through any queues at Changi Airport passport control? Then sign up for Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme and you’ll be treated like a true Singaporean when you visit the Lion City.
It’s free to apply, and once enrolled, you’ll generally enjoy fast-track airport privileges for the next five years. Once that lapses, you can simply sign up again to keep experiencing the VIP treatment.
Here’s how Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme can make your journeys through Singapore even smoother.
Compared to other ‘trusted traveller’ arrangements overseas, Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme isn’t too difficult to qualify for.
You’re eligible to apply if you meet just one of the following criteria:
- Hold an APEC Business Travel Card endorsed with ‘SGP’ on the back.
- Hold an APEC Business Travel Card from Canada or the United States, even without the ‘SGP’ endorsement.
- Have an Australian passport still valid for at least six months. You must also have visited Singapore at least twice in the last 24 months, and be aged six or above.
- Hold another eligible foreign passport, subject to any country-specific requirements.
Just note, one ‘visit’ counts as one entry plus one exit. This means you won’t have fulfilled the ‘two visits’ requirement to enrol until after your departure. For most travellers, this would mean signing up on their third visit within 24 months.
Benefits of Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme
By enrolling in Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme, you’ll be treated like a local when you cross the Singaporean border. That sure beats the general queue at passport control – especially if several international flights all arrive around the same time.
Here’s what you can expect:
- At passport control, get access to the automated immigration lanes marked ‘Singapore citizens’.
- Alternatively, visit a staffed immigration counter marked ‘Singapore citizens’.
- When paper arrivals cards were in use, Frequent Traveller Programme members were exempt from completing them. But now, all travellers must complete a digital SG Arrival Card before travel. This includes Frequent Traveller Programme members.
As a member myself, it certainly is a treat to breeze past everybody else in line. While the passport queues at Changi Airport aren’t often lengthy, being able to zip from your flight straight through to baggage claim is still a great timesaver.
How to apply for Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme
Once you meet the requirements, signing up for Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme is relatively straightforward. Sure, there’s a little bit of hassle at first. But once that’s done, it’s more than outweighed by the convenience of passing through Singapore like a local.
Here’s what you need to to:
- Make sure you qualify, as above.
- Print and complete this application form. Save time by doing this before you apply, not on the day you do so.
- Lodge your application at one of the available enrolment centres. Make sure to bring your passport with you.
- Be prepared for your fingerprints to be scanned and your photo taken when your application is processed.
Once you’re enrolled, you’ll get a large stamp in your passport. This confirms your enrolment, but also, its expiry date.
Generally, Frequent Traveller Programme memberships last for five years at a time or until your passport expires (whichever comes first). But this is at the discretion of the immigration officer who processes your application, so double-check the expiration date that’s stamped in your passport.
Also note, prior to COVID, Singapore offered an enrolment centre at Changi Airport – just beyond departures immigration in Terminal 3. This allowed travellers to enrol when they’d just completed their second visit, ready to use the benefits of Frequent Traveller when they arrive for their third.
At the time of writing, this office is not listed online as an eligible enrolment centre. You can certainly try – as the office may be open for other types of immigration services – but plan that you may not be able to sign up until you’re in town on your third visit to Singapore.
Singapore Frequent Traveller Programme tips
Planning to put Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme to good use? Here are a few handy hints to help you tick the boxes.
- For the ‘two visits within 24 months’ rule, mere transits through Changi Airport don’t count. Unless of course, you clear immigration by entering Singapore and then depart again.
- You can enter Singapore and then depart again once per day. On a long transit, you might do a quick loop to count as one visit – you just can’t do a second loop on the same day for that all-important ‘second visit’.
- One ‘visit’ means one entry plus one exit. You can’t visit Singapore once, and then sign up during your second trip. You have to complete that trip first before you can apply.
- Once you’re enrolled, you don’t need to keep visiting Singapore at least twice every 24 months. Your Frequent Traveller membership is simply valid until the expiry date noted in your passport.
- Again, you’ll save time on application day by printing and completing your application form ahead of time.
- You can’t bring ‘guests’ through the fast lanes by way of your own membership. Those who aren’t enrolled will have to use the normal immigration lanes available to their passport type. If you’re travelling together, you can still go through the general queue with your companion(s). That is, you don’t have to use the ‘Singapore citizens’ lanes just because you’re enrolled.
Singapore’s passport queues are usually quite short, if there’s even a line at all. But on occasion, there can be quite a wait. That’s exactly when you’ll be glad to have enrolled in Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme.
Signing up is a short-term inconvenience, sure. But the more you travel to Singapore, the more you’ll appreciate the ‘Singapore citizen’ treatment. There’s no cost to enrol, either. And once it’s your turn to sign up, the whole process only takes about 15 minutes.
While Singapore’s automated immigration lanes were suspended during the Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane period, they’re back in service once again. I made use of them on my most recent visit to Singapore. Having submitted my SG Arrival Card online, I was quickly through to baggage claim.
All in all, it doesn’t matter which airline you regularly fly, or which class you travel. By being savvy and signing up for Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme, you can skip the queues at immigration every time.
Also read: The Point Hacker’s Pocket Guide to Singapore
Feature image courtesy of shawnanggg/Unsplash.
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