Wed, Jun 06, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Overseas Taiwanese holding up visa-waiver eligibility

Staff writer, with CNA

The main problem holding up Taiwan’s inclusion in the US’ visa-waiver program has to do with the status of overseas Taiwanese, but the issue would be resolved within three months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), director-general of the Department of North American Affairs, said it was a “technical problem” that could be sorted out in “two to three months.”

Taiwan and the US have been negotiating on whether to extend the visa-free privilege to Republic of China (ROC) nationals who do not have household registration in Taiwan.

Some overseas-born Taiwanese are entitled to ROC passports and diplomatic protection, but do not have household registration in Taiwan. They are not permitted to vote in Taiwan and are exempt from compulsory military service.

“This is not a new problem,” Linghu said, adding that it had come up in the past in talks with the 127 countries or territories that have visa-waiver agreements with Taiwan.

The ministry is working with other government agencies, such as the National Immigration Agency, to sort out the problem, he said.

Taiwan has already met several requirements for the US program, such as a visa refusal rate of less than 3 percent, he said.

Taiwan’s chances of gaining admission to the program are “very positive” and it should happen “sometime in the fourth quarter,” Linghu said.

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