Taiwan to get US Visa Waiver Program status (probably)

It looks fairly certain that Taiwan will now gain entry into the US Visa Waiver Program, and possibly quite soon. I can’t imagine them finishing it until after the Chinese New Year is well over, but it looks fairly sure it will be done certainly by the end of the year and more probably in time for the summer travel season. Questions do remain such as, once it’s agreed to, how soon will it be implemented? Will current holders of non-e-passports be eligible?

Let’s see some details and soon!

After all, now that they’ve essentially announced that it’s going to happen, many if not most Taiwanese who were planning non-essential travel to the US in the coming months are now going to wait until the expensive procedure of getting a US visa, expensive especially for those not living in Taipei, which is the majority of Taiwanese, is no longer necessary.

MOFA expects visa-waiver inspection to begin soon
A team from the U.S Department of Homeland Security is expected to commence shortly on-site assessment of Taiwan’s anti-terrorism and immigration procedures, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

「Although the date for this visit is yet to be set, we believe it will take place in the very near future,」 said Remus Chen, deputy director-general of MOFA’s Department of North American Affairs, Dec. 27.

「The sooner Washington completes the visa-waiver evaluation process, the sooner ROC nationals can benefit from the program.」

Jason C. Yuan, ROC representative to the U.S., said he expects the visit to take place after the Christmas and New Year holidays by February at the latest.

To meet VWP requirements, Taiwan now issues e-passports, exchanges information on lost and stolen passports and keeps its visa refusal rate below the 3-percent threshold. The country has also inked agreements with the U.S. on programs covering anti-terrorism and combating major crimes.

If admitted into the VWP, ROC citizens traveling to the U.S. for tourism or business trips can stay up to 90 days without having to apply for visa in advance.

The U.S. has granted visa-free privileges to 36 countries, six of which are located in Asia—Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. (JSM)

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