July 23, 2020
To further promote the New Southbound Policy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened a meeting with other related government agencies on May 29 concerning visa measures for nationals from New Southbound Policy partner countries and Russia. Topics of discussion were whether to extend trial visa-free entry for nationals from Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, and Russia and whether to adjust the Project for Simplifying Visa Regulations for High-end Group Tourists from Southeast Asian Countries and the Online Application for R.O.C. (Taiwan) Travel Authorization Certificate for nationals from Southeast Asian countries (the latter also referred to as conditional visa-free entry).
The agencies participating in the meeting, having evaluated the status and outcomes of the measures so far, jointly made the following decisions:
1.From August 1, 2020, trial visa-free entry for nationals from Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, and Russia will be extended for one year until July 31, 2021.
2.The Project for Simplifying Visa Regulations for High-end Group Tourists from Southeast Asian Countries will continue for another year, lasting until December 31, 2021.
3.From August 1, 2020, those applying for conditional visa-free entry who hold visas for Japan or South Korea must present a record of entry into one of these countries.
In line with epidemic prevention measures taken by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), MOFA has announced entry regulations for foreign nationals during the epidemic. The aforementioned adjustments to visa measures for nationals from New Southbound Policy partner countries and Russia are based on previously existing policies and do not take precedence over temporary border control measures put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether restrictions on foreign nationals (other than the exempted groups listed above) coming to Taiwan for tourism purposes will be relaxed depends on the CECC’s assessment of the worldwide development of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the aforementioned visa measures were first implemented, the number of visitors from related countries has risen steadily. According to statistics from the National Immigration Agency, the number of nationals from Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, and Russia visiting Taiwan under these measures in 2019 increased by 34.49, 100.37, 41.32, and 407.55 percent respectively, indicating that the measures have had a considerable effect in attracting foreign travelers. MOFA will continue to review and fine-tune these measures, seeking to attract even more visitors while still ensuring border and public security. MOFA will also continue to communicate with the governments of related countries to enhance visa treatment for Taiwan nationals and make their overseas travel more convenient. （E）