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ROC government expands Travel Authorization Certificate eligibility for nationals of New Southbound Policy target countries

As part of the second wave of visa rule relaxation for nationals of New Southbound Policy target countries, the ROC government is introducing new measures on June 1, as follows:

1. Nationals of Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam who possess an entry visa or alien resident certificate issued by the ROC at any point in the past 10 years and have no record of immigration irregularities or law violations in Taiwan are eligible to apply online for an ROC Travel Authorization Certificate. (This excludes holders of entry visas bearing the remark FL (i.e., foreign laborer) or X (i.e., others), as well as holders of alien resident certificates with stated purpose of residence being foreign laborer.)

2. Nationals of the seven aforementioned countries who have previously engaged in blue-collar work in Taiwan or have a record of immigration irregularities or law violations in Taiwan must submit visa applications in person at a relevant ROC overseas mission.

The online application system for the ROC Travel Authorization Certificate was launched in 2009. Those who meet relevant criteria may apply at no cost for a multiple-entry visa that is valid for three months and allows for a maximum stay of 30 days through a dedicated website run by the National Immigration Agency (https://niaspeedy.immigration.gov.tw/nia_southeast). Currently, this conditional visa waiver mechanism facilitates 160,000 visits to Taiwan each year by nationals of New Southbound Policy target countries.

The new measures, which could facilitate up to 1.35 million trips to Taiwan and aim to boost people-to-people exchanges between Taiwan and New Southbound Policy target countries, mark a further continuation of the expansion of eligible countries and easing of application conditions initiated on September 1, 2016. They were approved at an interministerial meeting hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 10 this year, and are now being implemented following administrative coordination between MOFA and the National Immigration Agency.

Even though people who have not been issued an ROC visa in the past must still submit an application in person at a relevant ROC overseas mission, they immediately become eligible to apply online for an ROC Travel Authorization Certificate for a period of 10 years following that first-time application.