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Taiwan extends visa-free treatment for Thailand, Brunei, Philippines, Russia

Though tourists still barred in Taiwan for now, program will last until July 2021

Travelers at an airport (Pixabay photo)

Travelers at an airport (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan will extend visa-free treatment for nationals from Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines, and Russia even though travel bans on those countries remain in place due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The visa-waiver treatment given to the four countries will last through July 31, 2021, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) via a statement issued on Thursday (July 23). It noted that due to the global pandemic, the travel restrictions on those countries will remain effective until the Central Epidemic Command Center has further announcements.

In order to facilitate business activities and boost tourism, in recent years the country has launched visa-waiver programs on a trial basis for a number of countries. Currently, passport holders of Thailand, Brunei, and the Philippines are granted a 14-day visa-free treatment, while Russian nationals can stay in Taiwan for 21 days without the need for a visa.

The result has been impressive in terms of attracting foreign tourists, stated the MOFA. The number of visitors from the Philippines and Russia in 2019 alone grew by 100.37 percent and 407.55 percent, respectively, according to data provided by the National Immigration Agency.