Are you one of those rushing to get to the Immigration counter as quick as you can upon landing at Incheon International Airport? Like me, you rush to get there first because. If you're unlucky, there could be a lot of foreigners already lining up before you. And lining up to wait for your turn could take up time, especially when there were flights arriving from China loaded with tourists. One time, I had to admonish a Chinese tourist who tried to jump the line; she just cut before me like she was inserting herself in a grade school gym class.
But if you're holding a specific type of visa, you can actually avoid these long lines. How? By registering for the Smart Entry Service (SES).
The SES is "an automatic immigration clearance system which allows pre-approved travelers to process immigration clearance by themselves using biometric information." Yes, you don't need to be face-to-face with an Immigration officer as you leave or come to South Korea. You simply breeze through without having to worry about the long lines.
(Immigration Office at Seoul Station
where you can register for SES)
If you ever noticed upon your arrival, on the left-most side of the Immigration area, next to 'FOREIGNERS' lines, there's a single entry door where you'd see people scanning their passports and putting both index fingers on the biometric scanners. That's the SES line. According to the SES website, it takes only 12 seconds! Yes, you don't need to spend minutes (at times 30!) waiting in line and put up with uncouth tourists.
(The SES registration machine at the
Seoul Station's Immigration Office)
So, if your visa type is one of those qualified for SES, you can register yourself for this very convenient service. Just bring your passport and alien registration card.
Click on the SES link below and check under 'Eligibility'. You can also locate the registration office nearest you.