Fri, May 06, 2011 - Page 3 News List

MOFA denies error in posting US visa announcement

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday denied it made a blunder by announcing a reduction in the cost of US visas starting on Monday.

The ministry’s Bureau of Consular Affairs on Wednesday informed the press via text message that a message had been posted on its Web site advising that the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) had announced a reduction in the cost of non-immigrant US visas from NT$4,340 to NT$4,200 starting on Monday.

The AIT did not confirm the information when approached by reporters later that day. Meanwhile, the post was removed from the bureau’s Web site.

“It is not a blunder ... Basically, the ministry received written notification informing us that the AIT would reduce its visa fees on May 9,” ministry spokesman James Chang (章計平) said yesterday.

“First of all, we saw the announcement as great news for people, and secondly, we wanted to get it out as soon as possible because Taiwan was planning to simultaneously lower its visa fees for US passport holders,” Chang said.

US citizens are entitled to 30-day visa-free entry to Taiwan, but must apply for a visa in advance for a longer stay, at the same rate as that charged by the US, which is currently US$140 for a non-immigrant visa.

Chang said AIT expressed concern over the post and the ministry removed it “out of respect for AIT.”

Chang declined to comment on what the new US visa fee will be and when it will be put into practice. “[The issue] awaits an official announcement from AIT,” he said.

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