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Taiwanese citizens to enjoy expedited entry to South Korea by June

A reciprocal agreement on electronic customs clearance services between Taiwan and South Korea will soon take effect, says a Korean official

The e-Gate system at Taiwan's airports

The e-Gate system at Taiwan's airports (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The reciprocal agreement between Taiwan and South Korea on electronic customs clearance services at airports will take effect by the end of June, which will allow expedited entry for Taiwanese and Korean citizens traveling to one another’s country.

Park Kijun, deputy representative of the Korean Mission in Taipei, said the electronic customs clearance systems implemented in Taiwan and South Korea would be available for South Korean and Taiwanese passport holders at the end of the month, reported the Central News Agency.

The deputy representative was confident that the reciprocal measure would boost mutual visits between Taiwan and South Korea. He predicted that the number of tourists traveling between the two countries could surpass two million this year.

According to the Tourism Bureau, the number of Korean tourists visiting Taiwan outnumbered one million in 2017, increasing by 170,000 compared to the previous year.

On the other hand, the total of Taiwanese tourists traveling to South Korea also increased by almost 10 percent, reaching roughly 880,000 in 2017.

After the agreement takes effect, South Korea will be the second country eligible for Taiwan’s electronic customs clearance system, which is known as the e-Gate, following the U.S. last November.

As Taiwan entered the U.S.’s Global Entry program in 2017, Taiwanese passport holders, verified and approved by the American customs and border authorities, will enjoy expedited entry at major airports in the U.S. On a reciprocal basis, U.S. passport holders who are members of the Global Entry can apply to use the e-Gate services at Taiwan’s airports and harbors, thus reducing custom clearance time.

The e-Gate system, which uses the iris recognition scanner and fingerprint scanner to verify the identification of passport holders, was in place in Taiwan starting 2012. Similar applications can be found in Japan and Australia.