Taiwan, South Korea launch reciprocal e-gate clearance program

Taiwan and South Korea on Wednesday launched a reciprocal program for automated immigration clearance, amid growing tourism between the two countries. (Photo courtesy of CNA)

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) Taiwan and South Korea on Wednesday launched a reciprocal program for automated immigration clearance, amid growing tourism between the two countries.

The implementation of the program with South Korea is an indication that Taiwan’s border management and e-Gate system are in line with international standards, Interior Minister Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) said at the launch ceremony at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

South Korea is the second country with which Taiwan has established a reciprocal automated immigration program, following a similar arrangement with the United States last November.

Taiwan became the third country in East Asia to be admitted into the U.S.’ Global Entry program and it reciprocated by including of U.S. passport holders in its e-Gate service.

According to the National Immigration Agency (NIA), visitors who register as a user of Taiwan’s Trusted Traveler Program can usually clear immigration at the e-Gates in three minutes during peak periods, compared with 10 to 25 minutes in the queue at the manned immigration desks.

The NIA said it has set up a temporary desk at Incheon International Airport in Seoul for South Koreans who wish to register for Taiwan’s e-Gate service.

The desk will be open until July 4, the NIA said, adding that South Koreans in Taiwan can register at any of its 27 service counters at airports throughout the country.

Meanwhile, Taiwan nationals aged 17 years and over are now eligible to enroll in South Korea’s automated immigration clearance system (SES) at its service centers, according to the country’s immigration website.

Last year, visitor arrivals from South Korea totaled 1.05 million, while arrivals from Taiwan to South Korea were about 890,000, according to the NIA.

It said South Korea is Taiwan’s fourth largest source of visitors, after China, Japan and Hong Kong.

(By Chiu Chun-chin and Shih Hsiu-chuan)