Starting November 1, Filipino visitors can now enjoy visa-free entry to Taiwan, Taipei’s representative office in Manila announced on Monday.
“Philippine nationals who intend to visit the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the purpose of tourism, business, visiting relatives, attending functions or events can enjoy visa-free entry to Taiwan, ROC, for a duration of stay up to 14 days,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) said in a statement.
The visa-free initiative, aimed at “building closer people-to-people exchange between the Philippines and Taiwan,” will have a nine-month trial period until July 31, 2018, according to TECO .
“The Philippines is not only Taiwan’s closest neighbor but also Taiwan’s important partner of ‘new southbound policy,’” said Gary Song-Huann Lin, Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines.
The granting of visa-free privilege to all Filipinos, he said, will build “strong bilateral relations and a closer living economic community between the Philippines and Taiwan.”
Manila and Taipei have no formal diplomatic ties in deference to the One-China Policy. Taiwan is represented by TECO, which acts as its de-facto embassy in the country.
Taiwan is a self-ruling democratic island which separated from mainland China in 1949.
To qualify, a Filipino visa-free visitor must meet the following requirements:
1. An ordinary/regular passport with remaining validity of at least six months from the date of entry ( Diplomatic & official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free treatment) ;
2. A return ticket or a ticket for the traveler's next destination and a visa for that destination if it is required;
3. No criminal record in Taiwan
4. A proof of accommodation, such as booking or host/sponsor’s contact information /or arrangements of tour, travel, visit, events and meeting
Those who intend to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days or for the purpose of study, work, missionary, employment and other gainful activities are still required to obtain appropriate visas before entering Taiwan.
With its new policy, Lin urged the Philippines side to reciprocate Taiwan’s “goodwill and friendship” by also granting visa-free treatment to Taiwan nationals.
“Through these significant efforts, we will surely enhance our bilateral tourism, economic, cultural, educational and other areas of cooperation and exchanges which will eventually bring mutual benefits to the peoples of Taiwan and the Philippines” Lin said.
Such visa-free policy, he said, “enhances the mutually beneficial bilateral tourism, trade, investment, technology, agriculture, economic, cultural, educational and people-to-people cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and the Philippines.”
Since 2016, Taiwan has relaxed its visa policy for Philippine nationals through its free “Travel Authorization Certificate” (TAC), wherein eligible applicants are issued multiple-entry visas valid for three months and allows single stays of up to 30 days if they hold permanent resident certificates issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Schengen Agreement signatories, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
With the new visa-free entry system in place, TECO said the TAC will be suspended starting Nov. 1, but passengers who enter Taiwan before this date with valid TACs may continue to stay for up to 30 days.
Those who have already obtained long-term and multiple Taiwan visas which have been stamped on their passports can still use their visas to enter Taiwan. — RSJ, GMA News