TAIPEI City, Taiwan – The government of Taiwan announced Wednesday (June 27) that it will extend its trial period of visa-free privileges to three Southeast Asian nations by another one year until July 31, 2019.
The extension, announced by Taiwan’s Minister without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen, was decided over an inter-ministerial meeting earlier this month.
Currently, Filipinos are given up to 14 days on visa-free entry while citizens of Thailand and Brunei are allowed to stay in Taiwan for a maximum of 30 days. Chang, however, clarified that the extension will now be granting visa-free privileges of no more than 14 days to citizens of all three countries in order to better facilitate the visa-waiver program.
He added that due to border security and immigration concerns, they will not add any other countries to its visa-free program at this time. However, he assured that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Immigration Agency are finding ways of making visitor entry to Taiwan more convenient.
Visa-free entry was introduced for Thai and Brunei citizens in August 2016 on a trial basis. It was extended last year to July 31, 2018. Meanwhile, the same privilege was opened to Filipinos in November last year which also runs through July 31.
Filipinos in Taiwan appreciates the gesture of the Taiwanese government for opening its doors to Filipinos.
“Magandang balita iyan dahil pabor sa marami na gusting makabisita ditto at pabor din sa mga mahala natin sa buhay na makabisita ditto,” said Filipina worker Norie Rosales.
“Mas marami ang maeengganyo na pumasyal dito sa Taiwan…Mas madali sa aming mga mahal sa buhay na makapamasyal dito…at makasama naming dito at maipakita ang ganda ng Taiwan,” exclaimed Mario Subeldia, a Filipino Sand Artist in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Bureau of Tourism reported that the number of Filipino tourist arrivals to Taiwan increased from almost 180,000 in 2016 to over 290,000 last year, mainly because of the visa-free program. – Amiel Pascual / Marje Pelayo