Q&A/Taiwan's new COVID-19 protocols for arriving passengers

09/29/2022 11:50 AM
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CNA photo Sept. 29, 2022
CNA photo Sept. 29, 2022

Taipei, Sept. 29 (CNA) Starting Thursday, Taiwan will fully reinstate the visa-exempt entry program for passport holders from 65 countries suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) also announced that Taiwan is set to end mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers on Oct. 13, when the country will also lift restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups.

So what should arriving and returning travelers know before entering Taiwan under these new policies? CNA has compiled the following Q&A to explain how the new regulations will affect inbound international visitors.

Starting Sept. 29

Q: Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges for Taiwan?

A: Visa-free privileges will be resumed for 11 more countries from Thursday, following the resumption of such privileges for 54 countries on Sept. 12.

● The 11 countries include Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua, passport holders of which can travel to Taiwan for a stay of up to 90 days without a visa.

● Taiwan will also resume 30-day visa-free entry for holders of Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia passports.

● Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines will be allowed to enter Taiwan for 14 days visa-free.

● On Sept. 12, Taiwan resumed visa-free entry for passport holders from 54 countries, most of which can travel to Taiwan for a stay of up to 90 days without a visa.

The 54 countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the 26 European Schengen area countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland).

Visa-free privileges have also been reintroduced for 10 non-Schengen European countries (Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Monaco, North Macedonia, Romania, San Marino and the United Kingdom), as well as passport holders from nine of Taiwan's 14 diplomatic allies: Tuvalu, Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Paraguay and the Holy See.

Passport holders from five other countries that have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan -- Belize, Nauru, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -- are eligible for a visa-free visit of up to 30 days. (For more details: Bureau of Consular Affairs)

CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Q: What should I check before I travel to Taiwan?

A: With the exception of individuals from the U.S. and Japan, people from visa-exempt countries must have a passport with a minimum validity period of six months from the date of entry into Taiwan.

Visitors from the U.S. and Japan only need passports that are valid for the duration of their planned stay.

Q: Are there any specific groups of people from visa-free countries that will not be eligible for visa-free treatment?

A: Yes, there are some exceptions.

Individuals born in China with Honduran passports will not be able to take advantage of the 90-day visa-exempt status granted to Honduras.

● In addition, individuals who hold passports from the visa-exempt countries of Belize, Eswatini, Nauru, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Tuvalu but whose place of birth shown on their passport is China, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria or Yemen will also not be eligible for visa-free treatment.

● One country that was previously part of Taiwan's visa-waiver entry program that was not included in the updated visa-free entry list is Russia.

Russian nationals could previously visit Taiwan for 21 days visa-free, but that program expired on July 31, 2022, and an extension is currently under review.

Q: What is the COVID-19 quarantine policy for arriving visitors?

A: Effective Sept. 29, Taiwan will adopt a revised version of its existing "3+4" quarantine policy for arrivals.

The policy requires arriving individuals to quarantine for three days -- starting from the day after arrival -- at a quarantine hotel or at home, followed by four days of "self-initiated epidemic prevention."

Beginning Sept. 29, individuals choosing to quarantine at home may do so with family members or friends who did not travel with them, as long as the quarantined individual remains in his or her room with an en suite bathroom that is isolated from others in the household. ("One person per room" rules)

Before Sept. 29, people who choose home quarantine had to follow the one person per residence rule, even though if people traveled together, they can quarantine together.

Measures to lift Taiwan's border controls take effect

CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Q: Can arriving travelers take public transportation, such as the Taoyuan Airport Metro?

A: If they enter Taiwan on Oct. 13 or later, yes. If they enter Taiwan from Sept. 29 to Oct. 12, no. However, there are several options for traveling from the airport to the quarantine location during this period.

● Taxi services are available to passengers arriving at the airport at fixed prices for destination in different city and counties.

● For individual passengers arriving at Taoyuan Airport, free designated COVID-19 buses are available to take them to Taichung, Yunlin County, Chiayi City, Chiayi County, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung County, New Taipei and Taipei.

The buses will also take passengers to seven quarantine hotels in and around Taoyuan City.

● Arriving individuals can be picked up by family and friends at designated gates. At Taoyuan Airport, these are gates 11-15 at Terminal 1 and gates 31-33 at Terminal 2.

● Groups such as business travelers, employees (including migrant workers) and students, companies and schools may arrange vehicles to pick them up.

Where the employees and students are to be quarantined will be determined by the management teams responsible for each group.

● Travelers have been allowed to park their cars in designated airport lots before they depart on overseas trips and can drive themselves to their quarantine locations upon their return.

CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Q: What does the new "3+4" quarantine policy from Sept. 29 to Oct. 12 entail?

A: Upon entry, arrivals will no longer be subjected to a saliva-based PCR test, but will instead be issued four rapid tests.

According to the Central Epidemic Command Center, the first test should be taken on the day of arrival, or the first day of quarantine, with the result to be reported to the case worker who contacts them by phone.

The second test will have to be taken on the third and last day of quarantine, while the third test is to be taken during the "self-initiated epidemic prevention" period.

The last rapid test should be taken if COVID-19 symptoms appear during the quarantine or "self-initiated epidemic prevention" periods.

Q: What are the rules for the four-day self-initiated epidemic prevention?

A: During the four days of "self-initiated epidemic prevention," individuals are advised to remain at their quarantine location unless they absolutely have to go out to work or buy necessities.

Individuals observing "self-initiated epidemic prevention" must have a negative result from a rapid test taken within two days of leaving their quarantine location before going out.

Such individuals must also wear masks at all times when they go out, but they can remove their mask when eating out as long as social distancing measures are observed and dividers separate the individual from others.

This group of people following "self-initiated epidemic prevention" protocols can use public transportation during the four-day period.

However, people who have a positive rapid test result and need to go to a hospital can only do so on foot, use their own vehicle, take a designated COVID-19 taxi, or be driven by a family member or friend.

Q: Will the revised "3+4" policy be applied in the same way to all arriving passengers?

A: No. The Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Education have different rules for migrant workers and foreign students, respectively.

● The policy will be more akin to a "7+0" policy for migrant workers. According to the Workforce Development Agency under the Ministry of Labor, arriving migrant workers will not have to take a saliva-based COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival.

However, they will have to stay in quarantine hotels or quarantine dormitories with only one person per room and will not be allowed to go out during the entire seven-day period, except for an emergency situation such as seeking medical attention.

Oct. 7: Taiwan unveils specific '0+7' rules for inbound migrant workers

● For foreign students, schools will make arrangement for their quarantine, either at a quarantine hotel or designated dormitories. The four-day "self-initiated epidemic prevention" rules for these students are mostly the same as others, except that they are not allowed to attend classes.

Oct. 6: International student '0+7' policy to come into force Oct. 13: MOE

CNA file photo
CNA file photo

From Oct. 13

Q: What is the "0+7" policy set to be introduced on Oct. 13?

A: The "0+7 self-initiated epidemic prevention" policy is the plan Taiwan will adopt if it opens its borders on Oct. 13.

Under the policy, Taiwan will end the three-day mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers and have them follow "self-initiated epidemic prevention" protocols for seven days.

With no quarantine imposed upon entry, arriving passengers will be allowed to use public transportation, such as the Taoyuan Airport Metro, as long as they show no symptoms upon arrival.

Q: Will the "0+7" policy also apply to arriving migrant workers and foreign students?

A: No decision has been made yet. The Workforce Development Agency said it is still studying the issue, while the Ministry of Education has made no announcement.

Q: What is the difference between the current "self-initiated epidemic prevention" protocols and the new protocols?

A: Currently, there are no major differences between the two. In both cases, individuals should continue to remain in their rooms with their own bathrooms separated from their housemates.

They will also be allowed to go out to work or buy necessities as long as they have their masks on at all times and test negative prior to going out.

Enditem/ls/AW

Update

Oct. 1: Taiwan drops vaccination requirement for outbound tour groups

Sept. 30: CECC bans inbound group tourists from sitting with locals when dining

Sept. 30: Taiwan mulls easing restrictions related to COVID-19 patients

Related News

Sept. 29: Taiwan to lift entry quarantine, reopen to all visitors Oct. 13

Sept. 29: Travel agencies, hotels foresee sharp rise in revenue after borders reopen in October

Sept. 29: Public transport, eating out to be allowed under Oct. 13 entry rules: CECC

Sept. 28: Inbound visitors can travel if tour group members contract COVID

Sept. 23: Taiwan's mask mandate to be lifted gradually: CECC

Sept. 23: Taiwan ban on tour groups to end under '0+7' policy: Minister

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