A new mode of immigration and customs clearance using iris detection has completed its first phase of testing in Macau, with 500 iris clearance devices now set to be installed at six border control points in Macau. In the second phase, beginning soon, the government will ask Macau residents to test out the technology, and if the trial proves successful, it may be fully rolled out across all entry points.
The Macau Legislative Assembly passed a new immigration control law in August 2021, which allows the government to collect iris data from people entering and exiting the territory.
On Thursday, the Macau government announced the latest progress of iris biometric clearance after the Public Security Police Department (PSP) informed the Community Advisory Committee that the first phase of iris biometrics clearance testing has been completed and the system improved. The second phase will see Macau residents aged 18 and above undergo iris data collection and conduct customs clearance tests, while the third will see the identification linked to the Macao Resident Electronic ID Card.
This will no longer make it necessary for local residents to use physical identity cards when entering or exiting the territory.
Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, introduced iris clearance in March, but emphasized that iris data collection was voluntary. It is also not yet known if or when the technology will be applied to foreign tourists.
Iris technology has already been implemented in some countries, such as Singapore, which began using full facial recognition and iris clearance in 2020. Foreign tourists can use the recognition system for customs clearance after registering their iris data with the Singaporean government. This has significantly reduced clearance time to just 20 seconds, according to reports.