Taipei, Feb. 29 (CNA) Foreign nationals who need to apply for a visa to Taiwan will be able to spend less time getting one due to a new online service that will be launched on a trial basis on March 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Wednesday.
Starting next month, visa applicants can first access the website -- https://visawebapp.boca.gov.tw -- then fill out visa application forms online and print them out, before submitting them along with other required documents in person to the ministry or Taiwan's overseas missions.
The revision and new procedures will enhance the efficiency of processing visa applications and will be more convenient for storing information in a data archive, Thomas Chen, director-general of the ministry's Bureau of Consular Affairs, told CNA.
"It will be beneficial to both foreigners and our staff," he said.
By filling out the forms at home, applicants will enable workers who process the visa requests to swipe a bar code to get the file rather than having to waste time keying in the information again.
The service will benefit some 400,000 visa applicants annually and save up to 30 minutes per application, Chen said.
During the one-month trial period, application forms filled out either online or offline (on paper) will both be acceptable, with the formal online system taking effect on April 1, Chen said.
(By James Lee)