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June 24, 2017

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Taoyuan airport to install several new e-Gates

TAIPEI -- Several new e-Gates will be installed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport this year to meet growing demand for the automated immigration clearance system, an official said yesterday.

"There has been increasing use of the system," Lin Hung-chieh of the National Immigration Agency's (NIA's) Border Affairs Corps. told CNA.

He said another eight e-Gates will be installed at the Taoyuan airport, which has recorded 80 percent of all e-Gate usage in Taiwan.

In 2013, over 5.7 million entries and exits were made through the e-Gates by citizens and foreign residents of Taiwan, a 96-percent increase from the 2.9 million in 2012, according to NIA statistics.

As of Jan. 7, over 9.2 million entries and exits by Taiwan citizens had been recorded through the e-Gates and over 123,000 by foreign residents, according to the statistics.

The automated immigration clearance service was opened to Taiwanese nationals in March 2011 and to foreign residents in September 2012.

Registration is 1.3 million so far by Taiwanese nationals and close to 20,000 by foreign residents, according to Lin.

Currently, there are 45 e-Gates installed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport, Taichung Airport, Kaohsiung International Airport and Shuitou Harbor on the outlying Kinmen Island.

Equipped with infrared sensors, facial recognition cameras and passport readers, the system can complete immigration checks in 12 seconds. It was set up to enhance Taiwan's border security and speed up the immigration clearance process.

Foreign residents, including Chinese spouses and travelers from Hong Kong and Macau, who maintain residency in Taiwan, are eligible to register for e-Gate usage.

To encourage the use of e-Gates, Lin said his agency launched a computer system in 2013 that alerts immigration officials to frequent flyers, so that the officials can remind such travelers to apply for speedy clearance.

Currently, 70 percent of frequent flyers — those who enter or exit Taiwan over 10 times a year — are already registered, Lin said.

Foreign residents applying for use of the system are fingerprinted and photographed when they present the required documents — passport and valid Alien Permanent Resident Certificate or Alien Resident Certificate.

Travelers must be at least 14 years old and 140 centimeters tall to qualify for registration, which can be done at the four airports and one seaport as well as at the NIA's main offices.

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