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Passport photos cause problems at Taiwan airport e-Gates

BOCA warns against overzealous editing of pictures

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Travelers lining up for the e-Gates at Taoyuan International Airport. 

Travelers lining up for the e-Gates at Taoyuan International Airport.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Travelers should not alter their passport photos too much or they will be refused passage by electronic e-Gates at airports, the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) said Friday (Feb. 9).

The Feb. 8-14 Lunar New Year holiday is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, with an estimated 120,000 travelers a day passing through Taoyuan International Airport. While the e-Gates were installed to improve the flow of travelers through immigration, criticism has been voiced about the system’s effectiveness.

Passengers reported that the e-Gates rejected their passport, forcing them to move over to the regular immigration line where staff would check their documents, per Radio Taiwan International (RTI). According to BOCA, the problem was not a technical malfunction nor issues with the chip inside the passport.

Instead, the travelers had edited their passport photos to the extent that the e-Gate system failed to recognize them, BOCA said. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) department called on passport applicants to submit realistic pictures in order to avoid complications at the airport.