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Taiwan opens visa-free travel to Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea

Taiwan also opens borders to China, Hong Kong, and Macau citizens

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Tourists jump on bales of hay at Kenting Rangeland. (Taiwan Tourism Bureau photo)

Tourists jump on bales of hay at Kenting Rangeland. (Taiwan Tourism Bureau photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As part of the first stage of its eased border restrictions that went into effect on Thursday (Sept. 29), Taiwan resumed visa-free treatment to 11 out of 12 countries that were previously excluded from the restoration of Taiwan's visa exemption policy and opened its borders to four categories of citizens from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

On Sept. 22, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced that the Cabinet approved the first stage of easing Taiwan's border restrictions. This phase will include raising the weekly inbound passenger quota from 50,000 to 60,000, allowing passengers to spend the entire "3+4" period in a residence with others as long as they can follow the "one person per room" principle, and ending the on-arrival saliva test, which will be replaced with four rapid antigen test kits.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), citizens from countries that previously enjoyed visa-exempt status will once again be able to travel to Taiwan visa-free starting on Sept. 29. Visitors from eligible countries can engage in business, exhibitions, fact-finding missions, international exchanges, sightseeing, family visits, and social visits without the need to apply for a permit.

However, if they wish to engage in other activities, it is necessary to obtain official permission from a central governmental agency by applying for a special entry permit (visa) from one of MOFA's foreign missions. All arriving passengers must abide by the "3+4" scheme, which involves three days of quarantine and four days of self-health monitoring, either in a quarantine hotel or a residence that meets the criteria of "one person per room" principle.

On Sept. 12, the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) announced that visa-free entry had been restored for 54 countries, including five diplomatic allies. However, it excluded 12 countries, namely Chile, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Nicaragua, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines, and Russia.

On Sept. 22, MOFA declared that visa-free treatment would resume on Sept. 29 for nearly all of the previously excluded countries, with the notable exception of Russia. The length of the visa exemption varies from 90 days to 14 days.

Nationals from these countries began receiving visa-free privileges valid for 90 days on Sept. 12:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Eswatini*, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras*, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Island*, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia*(effective till March 31, 2025), Norway, Palau, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuvalu*, the United Kingdom, the United States of America*,and Vatican City State.

Nationals from these diplomatic allies of Taiwan became eligible for the visa exemption program with a duration of stay of up to 90 days on Sept. 12:

Belize*, Nauru, St. Kitts and Nevis*, Saint Lucia*, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Nationals from these countries will begin receiving visa-free privileges valid for 90 days on Sept. 29:

Chile, Israel, Japan*, South Korea, Nicaragua.

Nationals of the following countries will be eligible for the visa exemption program valid for 30 days on Sept. 29:

Dominican Republic, Singapore, Malaysia.

Nationals of Thailand will be eligible for the visa exemption program valid for 14 days on Sept. 29.

Nationals of Brunei will be eligible for the visa exemption program valid for 14 days on Sept. 29.

Nationals of the Philippines will be eligible for the visa exemption program valid for 14 days on Sept. 29.

The extension for the visa-free program for Russia, which expired on July 31, 2022, is "under evaluation."

*Please visit BOCA's Visa-Exempt Entry webpage for more information on eligibility.

On Sept. 23, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) announced that taking into consideration humanitarian needs, family reunions, and the operation and management of Chinese-funded enterprises in Taiwan, the entry requirements for Chinese, Hong Kong, and Macau nationals will be relaxed on Sept. 29.

MAC said that in cooperation with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it is scheduled to adjust border control measures beginning on Sept. 29 and will relax entry rules for people from China, Hong Kong, and Macau who are in the following four categories:

1. Chinese nationals who come to Taiwan to visit relatives and attend funerals

2. Personnel of Chinese airlines and shipping companies deployed to work in Taiwan, flight crew members, ship crew members, technicians, and other personnel of Chinese aircraft and ships

3. Personnel from Chinese-funded businesses who have received approval to invest in Taiwan may apply for special entry with the relevant authorities of respective industries

4. People from Hong Kong or Macau who come to Taiwan to visit relatives, attend funerals, or engage in business activities