TAIWAN TODAY : Taiwan extends visa-free program for Brunei, Philippine, Thai passport holders

A trial program offering passport holders from Brunei, the Philippines and Thailand visa-free entry to Taiwan for up to 14 days will be extended for another year, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs July 12.

Continuation of the measure aims to further boost visitor numbers for business and tourism purposes, as well as strengthen people-to-people connections with the New Southbound Policy countries, the MOFA said.

The program will remain in effect through July 31, 2019, and be reviewed for possible extension. Applicants must have a standard passport valid for at least six months; return or onward ticket along with required visas; confirmation of accommodation and finances; and clean criminal record.

According to the ministry, the visa-free trial has already yielded positive results, with total visitor numbers from NSP countries increasing 27.7 percent year on year to 2.28 million in 2017.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines said that the extension is a reflection of Taiwan’s goodwill and friendship with the Southeast Asian nation, and will strengthen the multifaceted partnership between the two sides.

Two-way visitor numbers hit a record high in 2017, TECO in the Philippines said, with Philippine travelers to Taiwan reaching 290,784 and Taiwan visitors to the Philippines hitting 236,777. The office urged the Philippine government to grant visa-free entry to Taiwan passport holders on the basis of reciprocity so as to further enhance business and tourism exchanges.

The NSP, a key plank in the government’s national development strategy, seeks to bolster Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. img20180713162658288_800