Minnesota, USA – December 27, 2011 – South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Tuesday –Korea time – that it will start taking ‘inkless fingerprints’ of both index fingers of travelers in order to ensure the best security for the local people and legitimate travelers; the change will come into effect on January 1st. It should deter travelers from committing crimes since they would not be able to flee the country; S Korea did not have a database of prints prior to this. The security measures will not be in effect for those who are 16 years old and younger or those who are members of an international organization, hold diplomatic passports, and/or considered national guests. But could this also prevent travelers with legitimate and legal reasons for traveling to this nation
However, the experience is probably different for those traveling to the U.S. who do not have a U.S. passport. Perhaps security is heightened dramatically whenever someone travels to another country. As normal, ICN checked my passport for documentation on my visa and asked me questions as they checked it. Shortly it will almost be normal for travelers to be ‘fingerprinted’ –some may be confused about not being able to see that print themselves.
Fingerprinting would not deter me from visiting this fabulous country, S Korea, but it could play with my patience –even though I consider myself to be a patient person. Quickly, the hour and a half I used to spend at customs could change into 2 or 3 hours; if I was only traveling for a short stay, it could stop me from planning a trip there. After all, time is not an issue if I know that I am staying there for weeks or months – every place and activity can be accomplished and I’m not racing against the clock.
Yet, as a traveler, it gives me comfort to know that S Korea is taking an extra step to ensure my safety against others –not only foreign travelers but also the locals who travel a lot; eventually there should be an extensive database so that Korea is able to target and stop the criminals from fleeing from their awful doings.