Tue, Nov 07, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Australian SmartGate access open for Taiwanese

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed Australia’s permanent inclusion of Taiwan in its Arrivals SmartGate program, which allows eligible travelers to clear passport control faster.

Effective immediately, Taiwanese aged 16 or older with a valid Republic of China passport are able to use the “smart” gates to self-process through immigration at Australia’s eight major international airports, the ministry said in a news release, adding that no advance registration is required as long as the traveler holds a valid Australian visa.

The measure does not include visa-waiver privileges, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said, reminding the public to apply for an Australian e-visa before leaving Taiwan.

“The government welcomes the Australian authority’s listing of Taiwan as one of the permanent eligible countries for its Arrivals SmartGate program. This measure will greatly increase the level of convenience enjoyed by Taiwanese when entering Australia for business or travel,” the ministry said.

The move is also expected to further exchanges and cooperation between the two nations, it added.

Taiwanese have been able to use Australia’s electronic entry channels for two years as part of a trial run, but now the measure is permanent, Lee said.

Tourism Bureau statistics showed the number of visits by Taiwanese to Australia has more than doubled over the past five years, from 49,986 in 2012 to 139,501 last year, while 82,361 Australians visited Taiwan last year, up from 63,597 in 2012.

The Australian Office Taipei said that SmartGate access makes entry to Australia much smoother.

“Given rising visitor numbers, the signing of a near-open-skies air services agreement in December last year and increased direct flights to major Australian cities, SmartGate access is a logical next step,” the office said.

Australia has issued more than 155,000 visas to Taiwanese since last year, while the number of Australian tourists to Taiwan is also climbing thanks to a 90 day visa-free trial which started in January 2015 and is to conclude at the end of this year, the office said.

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