In an effort to help Taiwanese businesspeople, the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) said yesterday that the government was mulling the idea of allowing qualified individuals to hold a second passport.
The new regulation could take effect within two months, BOCA Director-General Lo Yo-chung (羅由中) said. The second passport would only be good for one year.
Lo said Taiwan was an active player in international trade and commerce and to better accommodate businesspeople whose jobs required frequent travel abroad, the bureau was contemplating allowing qualified individuals to have two passports, expanding the scope of the APEC Business Travel Card and adding more countries to its landing visa program.
He said many businesspeople had been lobbying for a second passport as their travel documents were sometimes held up at travel agencies or embassies during the visa application process, which prevents them from traveling abroad during the waiting period.
As an example, he said that many Arab countries were reluctant to issue a visa to anyone whose passport contained an Israeli visa.
Lo said officials at agencies such as the National Immigration Agency and the Ministry of Economic Affairs were discussing the pros and cons of the issue.
He said that Taiwan was also mulling an expansion of the APEC travel card so that more APEC businesspeople could conveniently travel to Taiwan. Also, the government was hoping to extend landing visa privileges to businesspeople from countries where there are no Taiwanese representative office or embassies.
Instead of traveling to obtain a Taiwanese visa in a third country, the new regulation would allow businesspeople to enter Taiwan on a landing visa as long as they show a letter of invitation from the Tourism Bureau, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, or any ministry- approved company.
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