• Taiwan relaxes visa rules for Filipinos

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    TAIWAN has eased its visa rules for Filipinos, along with citizens of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and India.

    The adjustments came after consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mofa), the National Immigration Agency and the Tourism Bureau that aim at furthering interaction with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila welcomed Taiwan’s new visa policy.

    “We believe that this [policy]will facilitate travel and will promote commercial, cultural and people-to-people exchange between the Philippines and Taiwan,” Charles Jose, spokesman for and assistant secretary of the DFA, said.

    At present, citizens of Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand enjoy visa-free entry to Taiwan.

    Passport holders from the Philippines, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam who hold permanent resident certificates issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Schengen Agreement signatories, the United Kingdom, or the United States, or hold a visa or a resident card from one of these countries that is either valid or expired within 10 years from the date of expected arrival in Taiwan, will now be eligible to use the online application for Taiwan travel authorization certificate.

    Eligible applicants will be issued multiple-entry visas valid for three months, allowing single stays of up to 30 days.

    Moreover, to expand the number of countries benefiting from simplified visa regulations for distinguished group tourists from Southeast Asia and South Asian nations, the one-stop online application is being made available to eligible tourist groups from the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, plus India, from September 1.

    Travel agencies representing tourist groups from the above-mentioned countries can file applications after receiving a permit from the Tourism Bureau’s overseas offices.

    A 30-day single-entry eVisa will be issued to the qualified members of the group.

    These two measures to relax Taiwan visa rules for the citizens of these six Southeast Asian countries and India are a follow-up to a trial program that offered 30-day visa-free treatment to citizens of Thailand and Brunei Darussalam that was implemented on August 1.

    On that same day, Mofa instructed its offices in Southeast Asian countries to take measures to issue multiple-entry visas with validity of at least two years to middle-class citizens of their host countries.

    “These programs are expected to attract more travelers to Taiwan for short-term tourism, business, visits to relatives and cultural exchanges,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila said.

    “Mofa aims to further increase interactions between Taiwan and Asean member states, as well as India, while implementing a people-centered ‘New Southbound Policy,’” it added.

    MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO

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