By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Travelers from Taiwan can look forward to easier entry into the United States after the country officially becomes the seventh member of the U.S. Global Entry Program, following a joint statement signed by representatives of both sides in the U.S. on Monday. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement on Tuesday that Taiwan has been included in the Global Entry Program, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.
Taiwan is the seventh country in the world and the second in Asia to join the U.S. program, following the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea and Mexico, according to MOFA.
MOFA said that more than 4.1 million people around the world have participated in the Global Entry Program. The program will officially take effect after both Taiwanese and U.S. authorities complete the necessary integration, it added. After it officially kicks off, MOFA said qualified Taiwanese passport holders will no longer need to wait in a long line when visiting the U.S in the future.
Taiwan passport holders need only to create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account, complete the required application before their trip, and pay a US$100 non-refundable fee. After an application is completed and approved by authorities from both sides following an interview, an applicant will become a member of the program, MOFA said. The membership will be valid for five years. At selected U.S. airports, program members may proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration, it noted. Taiwan became a member of the program after both sides signed a joint statement in Washington, D.C. on Monday. The joint statement regarding cooperation on an International Expedited Traveler Initiative was signed by American Institute in Taiwan Managing Director Joseph R. Donovan Jr. and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States’ (TECRO) Representative Shen Lyushun. As part of the agreement, eligible travelers from the United States can also apply to enter Taiwan with the local E-gate program.
Strong People-To-People Ties Meanwhile, AIT Taipei said in a separate statement that the latest announcement reflects the strong people-to-people ties between both sides.
“Since the announcement of Taiwan’s participation in the Visa Waiver Program in 2012, travel from Taiwan to the United States increased by more than 50 percent,” it noted.
“More Americans are traveling to Taiwan as well; the United States now ranks as the fifth highest source of tourists to Taiwan, the only country in the top 10 outside of Asia,” it said.
Taiwan and U.S. have cooperated to encourage more interaction between our two societies, and the joint statement is the latest reflection of these efforts, it added. For more details on the U.S. Global Entry Program, check the FAQs at the following website http://photos.state.gov/libraries/ait-taiwan/171414/niv/201604-global-entry-faq.pdf