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Aussie travellers jetting to Taiwan or stopping over in Taipei on journeys with China Airlines and EVA Air can now expedite their crossing at Taiwanese passport control by registering for access to the country’s automated e-Gates.
As Taiwan has no priority line or ‘express path’ system for business class passengers or top-tier frequent flyers, making use of the e-Gates can be a big timesaver during the airport’s peak periods, where waits of up to one hour for manual passport processing aren’t uncommon.
To use the e-Gates, Australian travellers will need a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of registration, and to visit the dedicated e-Gate Enrolment Counters at the airport, found next to the e-Gate lanes at passport control (before crossing the border).
Here, your photo will be taken and your index fingerprints scanned, and you’ll then have access to the e-Gates immediately and for the next five years on both arrival and departure at a range of Taiwanese airports.
That roster includes Taoyuan Airport – the main international airport for Taipei which serves all flights to and from Australia – along with Taipei's Songshan Airport, primarily catering to shorter flights across Asia, plus Taichung International Airport, Kaohsiung International Airport and Kinmen Shueitou Airport.
Using the e-Gates to enter and exit Taiwan
As you won't be manually processed by an immigration official at the border, you'll need to complete and submit a digital copy of the Taiwanese passenger card prior to your arrival, rather than completing a written form on your flight or at the airport.
This needs to be done every time you travel via Taiwan's National Immigration Agency website, so if you're a regular visitor to the country, be sure to bookmark that link.
You don't need to print your completed digital form, as the contents are submitted electronically and attached to your passport in advance of your intended border crossing.
Assuming you've completed that form online and are registered for the e-Gates, when you arrive in Taiwan, you'll begin by scanning your Australian passport's photo page at the e-Gate barrier.
There, you'll also have your photograph taken and a fingerprint scanned for verification, and assuming you're good to go, you'll be through to baggage claim in about 10 seconds – and the same procedure applies when departing Taiwan, although there's no departure card you need to complete.
Registering for the e-Gate program also means you’ll no longer receive entry and exit stamps in your passport when coming and going from Taiwan: a win for frequent travellers who are short on blank space within their passport, as Taiwan otherwise stamps for every crossing.
Previously, the only fast-track option for Taiwan available to Australian passport holders was the Speedy Immigration line, requiring pre-registration after visiting Taiwan a minimum of three times in the last 12 months: for which a printed access certificate also had to be carried, and border crossings were still processed manually.
The e-Gate system, on the other hand, does not require a minimum number of previous visits for registration, being part of a reciprocal deal with Australia that saw Taiwanese passport holders gain access to Australia’s inbound SmartGates.