Travelers to U.S. from Korea could have it easierWASHINGTON - Korean travelers became able Tuesday to pass through U.S. airports without in-person interaction with immigration officials.
The U.S. put the Smart Entry Service (SES) into operation for Koreans, making them eligible for automated immigration checks to save time and worries over a language barrier.
The users are allowed to pass the unmanned immigration check points, called Kiosk, at 25 airports in the U.S. Koreans aged 17 or older with domestic identification cards and multiple-use passports can benefit from the system if they register with the SES at www.hikorea.go.kr.
They also need to register fingerprints and face information in advance.
After that, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will check the criminal record of an applicant and then issue a conditional approval within three months.
If visitors register their information through a local immigration center at a U.S. airport, they can use the service without additional registration for the next five years. But they have to pay a $100 membership charge. People with U.S. citizenship, traveling from Korea, can also use a separate immigration check system, dubbed the Global Entry Program (GEP).
The launch of the SES-GEP service came after more than a year of preparations. The two nations signed a deal on the program in April last year.
Almost two million people shuttle between the two nations across the Pacific each year, according to government data.
Korea is the first Asian country and third nation to join the system in the U.S., after the Netherlands and Canada.