Taiwan-South Korea reciprocal e-gate program to kick off

CNA file photo

Taipei, June 9 (CNA) A reciprocal e-gate entry program between Taiwan and South Korea is scheduled to kick off at the end of June, which is expected to boost the number of visitors between the two countries, an official from the Korea Mission in Taiwan said Saturday.

Speaking with CNA, Park Kijun, deputy representative of the Korean Mission in Taipei, said passport holders of Taiwan and South Korea will be able to benefit from the speedy electronic immigration processing program.

From the end of this month, Park said, Taiwanese travelers will see their waiting time cut significantly when they enter South Korea, while South Korean travelers will be able to enjoy the same preferential status.

Park said the e-gate program is expected to boost tourism exchanges between Taiwan and South Korea, adding that he has faith that the number of visitors between the two countries will top 2 million this year.

According to data compiled by Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, South Korean arrivals in Taiwan topped 1.05 million in 2017, while arrivals in South Korea from Taiwan totaled 888,526.

The reciprocal electronic immigration clearance program will come after the U.S. Global Entry program for Taiwanese passport holders and the Taiwan e-gate program for travelers from the United States went into effect Nov. 1, 2017.

On Nov. 6, 2017, Australia announced an automated arrival border clearance option — the Arrivals SmartGate system — which is now available to eligible Taiwanese ePassport holders. Taiwan is expected to allow such an expedited e-entry mechanism to be available to Australians, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, while an exact timetable will be finalized by the MOI.

(By Elaine Hou and Frances Huang)