Thu, Jul 07, 2016 - Page 3 News List

NIA initiates trial run of e-Gates for foreign travelers

ADDED BONUS:As well as saving travelers time when clearing immigration, the upgrade to the automated system is to help improve the nation’s border security

Staff writer, with CNA

Two new e-Gates have begun a trial run at Kaohsiung International Airport, the second-largest airport in Taiwan, to speed up immigration clearance for foreign travelers, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said yesterday.

The trial run, which started on Friday last week and is expected to last until the end of the year, was created in response to the growing number of foreign visitors to the nation, the agency said.

The new e-Gates are for the exclusive use of short-term overseas visitors aged 14 and older — including those from China, Hong Kong and Macau — enabling them to clear immigration automatically when they leave the nation.

Foreign travelers do not have to apply for the service, but they are required to have their fingerprints taken when they enter Taiwan to be eligible to use it when they depart.

The e-Gate system, which was launched at the nation’s principal airports for use by citizens in 2011 and foreign residents in 2012, is a fully automated immigration system designed to save a significant amount of time for passengers when leaving or arriving, the agency said.

The system processes an average of 30,000 entries and exits per day, the agency said, adding that the e-Gates installed at the Kaohsiung airport are the first to cater to non-resident foreign travelers.

After the trial run in Kaohsiung, the new service is to be expanded to other major airports in Taiwan, including Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the nation’s main international gateway, starting early next year, the agency said.

The new service is expected to be fully established at all major airports in Taiwan by the end of 2018, it added.

In addition to expediting immigration clearance for travelers, the new initiative will also help strengthen border security, the agency said.

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