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Taiwan to extend visa free trial period for 3 Asian nations

2018/06/27 18:47:47

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) Taiwan will extend its trial period of visa-free privileges to three Southeast Asian nations by one year until July 31, 2019, Minister without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) said Wednesday.

The decision to extend the trial period for another year for the Philippines, Thailand and Brunei was reached at an inter-ministerial meeting earlier this month, Chang said.

He said that in order to better manage the program, however, visitors from the three countries will be granted visa-free stays of no more than 14 days.

Currently, Thai and Brunei citizens are allowed to stay in Taiwan for a maximum 30 days on visa free entry, while Filipinos are given up to 14 days.

Taiwan will not add any other countries to its visa waiver trial program at this time, Chang said, citing border security, social order and illegal immigration concerns.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Immigration Agency will examine other ways of making visits to Taiwan more convenient.

For example, he said, they will consider expanding the electronic visa system and granting visa-free or visa on arrival privileges to passengers on charter flights.

Taiwan introduced visa-free treatment for Thai and Bruneian citizens on a trial basis in August 2016 and extended it last year to July 31, 2018.

The visa-free trial program for the Philippines began on Nov. 1 last year and will also run through July 31.

According to statistics from Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, the number of Philippine visitors to Taiwan increased from 172,475 in 2016 to 290,784 last year, while arrivals from Thailand soared from 195,640 to 292,534 over the same period.

(By Ku Chuan, Romulo Huang and Evelyn Kao)
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