From 1st August, citizens of Brunei and Thailand will be granted visa-free entry to Taiwan for up to 30 days. This concession will be brought in as a trial for an initial period of one year.
From 1st September, citizens of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar can apply for e-visa entry to Taiwan, provided that they have been granted visas to Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the UK, the US or any of the Schengen Area countries within the last 10 years. Taiwan currently allows e-visa entry to citizens of India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam under this caveat.
The e-visa, or Taiwan Travel Authorisation Certificate, is an online visa exemption programme whereby qualifying individuals can apply online here to acquire an authorisation certificate which is valid for 90 days. The individual can then enter Taiwan on this certificate for a maximum 30 day period at any time within the 90 day validity period.
These changes are part of the government”s “Southbound Policy”, which aims to strengthen Taiwan”s relationships with countries across South and Southeast Asia.
The countries that these changes apply to, with the exception of India, are all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The organisation promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic integration amongst its members. Some ASEAN countries are already afforded visa free entry to Taiwan. The table below lists all member countries and their status regarding entry to Taiwan:
The Taiwanese Ministry of Transportation and Communications, estimates that the introduction of these relaxed regulations for citizens of ASEAN countries could generate an additional 280,000 tourists to Taiwan annually, along with an increase of NTD13 billion (USD407 million) for the tourism industry. Taiwan received 1.4 million travellers from Southeast Asia in 2015.
The Taiwanese government plans to utilise NTD200 million (USD6.2 million) of its resources for 2016 to promote Taiwan as a tourist destination in Southeast Asia and India, compared to the NTD80 million (USD2.5 million) earmarked for 2015.
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