Philippines-Taiwan relations

Taiwan extends visa-free privilege for PH until July 2021

Sofia Tomacruz
Taiwan extends visa-free privilege for PH until July 2021

Taiwan's national flag flutters beside Taipei 101 at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei on October 7, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Mandy CHENG / AFP PHOTO / Mandy Cheng

Taiwan says the latest adjustment to visa measures 'do not take precedence over temporary border control measures' put in place during the pandemic

Taiwan announced on Thursday evening, July 23, that Filipinos  would be granted visa-free entry privilege for another year until July 2021 as part of efforts to further promote its “New Southbound Policy.” 

Introduced in 2018, the policy seeks to strengthen Taipei’s relationships with Southeast Asia, South Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. The decision to extend visa-free privilege for another year was decided during a meeting last May 29. 

“The agencies participating in the meeting, having evaluated the status and outcomes of the measures so far, jointly made the…decision: from August 1, 2020, trial visa-free entry for nationals from Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, and Russia will be extended for one year until July 31, 2021,” Taiwan said in a statement Thursday. 

Taiwan last extended this visa-free privilege in July 2019, subject to review. 

Taiwan also decided on the following: 

  • “The Project for Simplifying Visa Regulations for High-end Group Tourists from Southeast Asian Countries will continue for another year, lasting until December 31, 2021.”
  • “From August 1, 2020, those applying for conditional visa-free entry who hold visas for Japan or South Korea must present a record of entry into one of these countries.”
Traveling in a pandemic

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said that the latest adjustments to visa measures “do not take precedence over temporary border control measures put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Whether restrictions on foreign nationals…coming to Taiwan for tourism purposes will be relaxed depends on the Central Epidemic Command Center’s assessment of the worldwide development of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Taiwan said.

The extension of the visa-free privilege for Filipinos follows Taiwan’s public denouncement of the Duterte administration’s move to include it in temporary travel restrictions prompted by the pandemic. 

Due to the Philippines’ one-China policy, Taiwan was earlier covered by restrictions against non-Filipino travelers coming from China and its administrative regions.

Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, earlier found itself caught up in travel restrictions aimed at China, saying it was a “factual error” to regard it as a part of China. 

Taiwan said its visa-free measures have led to the steady increase of tourists, with visits from Filipinos up by 100.37% in 2019. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.