Several new visa measures that apply to select Asian nations took effect yesterday as part of the government’s “new southbound policy,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Citizens from Sri Lanka and Bhutan can now apply for visitor’s visas, while those seeking to enter on business visas are no longer required to have a Taiwanese company as guarantor, the ministry said.
Businesspeople from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have the option to apply for e-visas to visit Taiwan, once they obtain recommendations from the branch offices of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council in their respective countries, the ministry said.
In addition, a conditional visa-free program has been expanded to include citizens of Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam, the ministry said.
Under the visa-free program, nationals from eligible countries can file applications for multiple-entry permits to Taiwan on the Web site of the Ministry of the Interior if they have held a Taiwan visa or an Alien Resident Certificate at any point over the past 10 years and have no record of visa violations.
The permits, which are issued free of charge, allow eligible visitors to stay up to 30 days in Taiwan within a three-month period, MOFA said.
Since the program was launched in 2009, about 160,000 people from Southeast Asia have been using the service each year on average, it said.
The number of users is expected to increase to 1.35 million per year with expansion of the program, it added.
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