The ease and convenience of the 2012 U.S. visa waiver program offered to Taiwanese visitors to the United States propelled visits by some 50%. In the near future, travel for approved Taiwanese visitors will be even easier and more convenient with the inclusion of Taiwan into the U.S. Global Entry program.
On April 4, Joseph Donovan Jr., managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and Shen Lyushun, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington, signed an agreement that lays the groundwork for Taiwan to enter into the Global Entry program. While the details have not been finalized, the agreement sets Taiwan on a course for being only the eighth country in the world, and the second in Asia, to provide its citizens with the opportunity to use the Global Entry program.
Global Entry allows pre-approved visitors to skip the long lines at immigration by going to a special kiosk that will scan their passports and fingerprints automatically, allowing them speedy entry into the United States. The program is aimed at low-risk, frequent travelers who have undergone extensive background checks and in-person interviews.
The offer of Global Entry is being reciprocated by Taiwan, which will allow pre-approved U.S. visitors to Taiwan the opportunity to use Taiwan’s E-Gate program, likewise enabling them to avoid the long lines at Taiwan immigration.
Both programs reflect flourishing ties between the two countries, with trade, travel, and research cooperation all growing in recent years. U.S. visitors are now the fifth largest cohort to Taiwan, the only non-Asian country in the top-10.