MANILA, Philippines – Taiwan announced on Wednesday afternoon, September 7, that Filipinos will not yet be eligible for its latest round of visa-free entry to the island starting September 12.
Taiwan’s Bureau of Consular Affairs had released a list of countries covered by the resumption of the policy, along with a list of several countries it was suspending the scheme with.
Along with the Philippines, nationals of Chile, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, and Russia are not yet eligible for visa-free entry.
The reason behind the suspension of the visa-free privilege in those countries is not yet clear. Rappler reached out to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines for a response, which said it was “clarifying” the matter.
Taiwan had kept its entry and quarantine rules in place as large parts of the rest of Asia have relaxed or lifted them completely, though in June it cut the number of days spent in isolation for arrivals to three from seven days.
Taiwan said the decision to resume the visa-free entry of citizens from several countries was based on the fact that most countries had reopened its borders. It cited the need to balance both COVID-19 control measures as well as economic and social activity.
Countries allowed visa-free travel to Taiwan include Australia, the United States, Canada, and several European countries, among others.
Before the pandemic, Filipinos had been eligible for visa-free entry to Taiwan as part of its “New Southbound Policy.” Introduced in 2018, the policy seeks to strengthen Taipei’s relationships with Southeast Asia, South Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com