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Taiwan expands conditional visa-free privileges for Filipinos

2017/05/17 14:00:37

(CNA file photo)

Manila, May 17 (CNA) Taiwan has decided to expand conditional visa-free privileges for Philippine visitors before a postponed plan to provide Filipinos with visa-free entry is implemented, according to Taiwan's representative office in Manila.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced last week that the implementation of visa-free entry for Filipinos would be delayed, saying the decision was made to "complete relevant administrative procedures and inter-agency coordination."

However, prior to the introduction of the visa exemption measure, Filipinos wishing to visit Taiwan for tourism or a short visit can still apply for an entry permit through existing visa application channels as they are part of Taiwan's e-visa program, said Taipei's representative to the Philippines Gary Lin (林松煥) on Wednesday.

Moreover, MOFA has decided to expand the eligibility of Taiwan's "Travel Authorization Certificate (TAC)" for qualified Philippine travelers, starting from June 1, Lin said.

Filipinos issued with a Republic of China (Taiwan) visa (labor visas with remarks "FL" or "X" excluded) over the past 10 years can apply for the TAC free of charge.

The travel certificate allows multiple-entries to Taiwan, valid for 90 days with each stay up to 30 days, according to MOFA.

Lin said he believes the new measure, which amounts to visa exemption under certain conditions, will help increase the number of Philippine visitors to Taiwan before the introduction of the visa waiver program.

Visa privileges for Filipinos is one of the priority tasks of his office, Lin added.

During an inter-agency meeting in April, it was decided that Taiwan will expand visa privileges for visitors from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines and streamline the visa application process for visitors from other Southeast Asian and South Asian countries.

At the time, MOFA announced it would offer visa-free treatment to visitors from the Philippines beginning on June 1 on a one-year trial basis.

The plan is part of the Taiwan government's efforts to promote exchanges with the Philippines under President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) "New Southbound Policy," which is aimed at advancing ties with Southeast and South Asian countries.

Under the policy, Taiwan has streamlined visa procedures for visitors from those countries by for example including the Philippines in Taiwan's e-visa program in October 2016.

(By Emerson Lim and Elizabeth Hsu)