Thu, Jun 25, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Ireland offers visa-free privileges

SHORT-TERM VISITS Republic of China citizens will be able to enter Ireland visa-free for 90 days beginning next Wednesday, however students will still need visas

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting on July 1, Republic of China (ROC) passport holders are eligible for a 90-day visa-waiver privilege when traveling to Ireland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday.

The move, following the UK’s granting of visa-free status in March, makes Ireland the second European country to extend the courtesy to Taiwanese nationals.

Anne Hung (洪慧珠), director-general of the Department of European Affairs, said the waiver applies only to short-term visits. Those seeking long-term employment or education in Ireland must go through the visa application procedures.

On April 1, Irish nationals were granted 90-day visa free entry when visiting Taiwan, up from the original 30 days.

Hung touted Ireland’s economic boom and said trade relations between Taiwan and Ireland have been increasing in recent years.

Taiwan is Ireland’s 14th-largest source of imports and its 33rd-­largest export market and conversely, Ireland is Taiwan’s 49th largest trading partner and its 50th-largest export market, she said.

Each year approximately 1,000 ­Taiwanese tourists visit Ireland and about 200 Taiwanese students choose Ireland as their destination for study.

Currently, 32 countries, including Singapore, Japan, South Korea and the UK have granted Taiwan visa-waiver privileges. MOFA said it will also strive to obtain the courtesy from the US, Canada and the EU.

Meanwhile, MOFA announced that Thailand has agreed to extend waivers on visa application fees for ROC citizens until next March.

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