e-Gate service free for foreign residents, agency confirms


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Foreign residents in Taiwan and Taiwanese citizens can register for the e-Gate service for free, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Monday, after local media reported otherwise.

The agency made the clarification after media reports said the Ministry of the Interior is drafting new regulations that will impose a fee on inbound foreign nationals, including people from China, and Hong Kong and Macau residents.

Under the draft regulations, the application fee for them will be NT$3,000 (around US$100) for use of the e-Gate service for a five-year period.

The ministry said it was planning to introduce the NT$3,000 fee to help maintain and expand the e-Gate facility and to align Taiwan with the practices of other countries.

But foreign nationals with resident status in Taiwan will not be affected by the draft regulations, the NIA confirmed.

The agency also said that based on the principal of reciprocity, if other countries do not charge Taiwanese for such services, then Taiwan will not require nationals from that country to pay the fee.

It cited the example of the United States, saying that Taiwan is part of the U.S. Global Entry program, which requires Taiwanese to pay US$100 when using the automated immigration clearance system.

Based on the principle of reciprocity, U.S. passengers applying for e-Gate service will have to pay NT$3,000.

Taiwan’s e-Gate system, which was implemented at airports and harbors in January 2012, uses facial image and fingerprint verification technology to identify travelers leaving and entering the country.

But Taiwan has provided the quick and convenience clearance service for free so far.