Shanghai, China’ biggest city and one of the most vibrant, plans to extend its electronic immigration channels to residents of Taiwan by end of this year. There are more than 500,000 Taiwan residents who live and work in Shanghai and nearby cities. Every year, more than one million journeys are made by Taiwanese residences through Shanghai’s immigration checkpoints. The auto-clearance system is currently only available to Hong Kong and Macau residents who possess Chinese nationality.
The Pudong Exit-Entry Frontier Inspection Station (PEEFIS) started installing the electronic gates in December 2008 in order to launch auto clearance services for Hong Kong and Macau residents during Shanghai Expo. The 10 electronic channels allowed Hong Kong and Macau residents who hold “Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macau Residents” to pass immigration within six seconds.
Hong Kong and Macau continued to have separate immigration systems after British and Portuguese governments handed the sovereignty of the two territories to China in 1997 and 1999 respectively. Residents of Hong Kong and Macau who have Chinese nationality are issued with the travel permit, allowing them to enter Mainland China easily.
The auto-clearance system was tested to be ready in July 2009, and officially launched on 1 Jan 2012, when Shanghai Expo opened its doors. In addition, PEEFIS is also undertaking a major overhaul of its hardware infrastructure, in particular IT hardware and the surveillance system. The upgrade is expected to complete by the end of February.