Effective September 12, 2022, Taiwan will reinstate visa-exempt travel authorization for nationals of select countries, including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and most of Europe. The move represents one of Taiwan’s most significant steps toward normalizing international travel procedures and reflects a growing trend toward relaxing entry restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-related entry requirements remain relatively strict in East Asia compared to the rest of the world, countries including Singapore, Japan, and South Korea have begun rolling back obstacles to international travel.
Background: Taiwan’s Suspension of Visa-Free Travel
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan has barred most foreign nationals from entering the country. This included a suspension of visa-exempt entry, which had previously been allowed for nationals of more than fifty countries. Under rules issued by Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), only foreign nationals holding an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) were allowed to enter Taiwan. This restriction was loosened in March 2022, when business travelers were allowed to enter Taiwan. However, the visa-free entry program continued to be suspended.
Requirements for Visa-Free Travel to Taiwan
Under the CECC’s most recent announcement, foreign nationals from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, and the Schengen Area may resume visa-free travel to Taiwan as of September 12, 2022. Foreign nationals from select other countries with diplomatic ties to Taiwan – including Eswatini, Honduras, and Belize – are also eligible for visa-free travel. Nationals of other countries – such as Chile, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore – must continue to apply for visas through Taiwanese missions abroad. In making the announcement, the CECC expressly sought to bring Taiwan “in line with international trends” and intended “to balance the needs of disease prevention efforts and promotion of economic and social activities.”
To qualify for the visa exemption program, the foreign national must meet several requirements:
- Passport from a visa-exempt country with remaining validity of at least six months as of the date of entry.
- Confirmed return travel ticket with seat reservation, and visa for the next destination (if applicable).
- Entrants must not be found otherwise ineligible by immigration officers at Taiwan ports of entry.
Nationals of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, and the Schengen Area who enter through the visa exemption program are eligible to remain in Taiwan for up to 90 days. Nationals of select other countries may only be eligible to remain in Taiwan for up to 30 days.
In addition, foreign nationals who enter based on the visa exemption program cannot convert to a visa-based stay, unless one of the following applies:
- Business professionals who have obtained a work permit within their permitted duration of visa-free stay may apply to convert in-country to a work authorized status. A spouse or minor children who entered Taiwan at the same time as the business professional may also convert.
- Visa-free entrants seeking to convert to a visitor visa must demonstrate circumstances that prevent them from leaving Taiwan, such as acute illness or natural disaster.
- Canadian and UK passport holders eligible for the visa exemption program may extend their initial 90-day entry up to 180 days.
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