Taiwan drafting rules to charge foreign nationals for e-Gate use

e-Gate service, Taiwan's automated immigration clearance system.

e-Gate service, Taiwan's automated immigration clearance system. (CNA photo)

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is drafting new regulations that will impose a fee on foreign nationals registering for the e-Gate service, Taiwan's automated immigration clearance system.

According to the draft regulations, the application fee for foreign passport holders will be NT$3,000 (US$100.5) and access to the e-Gate service will be granted for a five-year period each time, the ministry said.

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.

Since then, more than 20,000 foreign nationals have registered free of cost for e-Gates access, according to the MOI. It said, however, that it was planning to introduce the NT$3,000 fee to help maintain and expand the e-Gate facility and to put Taiwan in line with other countries.

Eligible foreign nationals from countries that do not charge Taiwan citizens for such a service will be exempt from the charge, under the principle of reciprocity, according to the draft regulations.

Taiwanese citizens over the age of 14 and foreign nationals who hold Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs) or Diplomatic Identification Cards are eligible to use the automated immigration clearance system. Citizens of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau who hold exit and entry resident permits are also included.

In July 2016, two e-Gates were designated at Kaohsiung International Airport, Taiwan's second largest airport, for exclusive use by short-term foreign visitors over the age of 14.

Such visitors do not have to apply for the e-Gates service but are fingerprinted on arrival in Taiwan so that they can use the automated immigration clearance system on departure.