*This blog was originally posted on September 9, 2022. It has been updated with additional information on September 26, 2022.

Effective September 29, 2022, Taiwan will fully reinstate visa-exempt travel authorization for all previously eligible foreign nationals. The move represents one of Taiwan’s most significant steps toward normalizing international travel procedures and reflects a growing trend toward relaxing entry restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-related entry requirements remain relatively strict in East Asia compared to the rest of the world, countries including Singapore, Japan, and South Korea have begun rolling back obstacles to international travel.  

Background: Taiwan’s Suspension of Visa-Free Travel

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan has barred most foreign nationals from entering the country. This included a suspension of visa-exempt entry, which had previously been allowed for nationals of more than fifty countries. Under rules issued by Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), only foreign nationals holding an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) were allowed to enter Taiwan. This restriction was loosened in March 2022, when business travelers were allowed to enter Taiwan. However, the visa-free entry program continued to be suspended.

Requirements for Visa-Free Travel to Taiwan

Under the CECC’s most recent announcement, from all previously eligible countries will be able to travel visa-free to Taiwan as of September 29, 2022. This follows the prior opening of visa-free travel to foreign nationals from select countries, including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, and the Schengen Area, as of September 12, 2022. In resuming visa-free travel, the CECC expressly sought to bring Taiwan “in line with international trends” and intended “to balance the needs of disease prevention efforts and promotion of economic and social activities.”

To qualify for the visa exemption program, the foreign national must meet several requirements:

  • Passport from a visa-exempt country with remaining validity of at least six months as of the date of entry.
  • Confirmed return travel ticket with seat reservation, and visa for the next destination (if applicable).
  • Entrants must not be found otherwise ineligible by immigration officers at Taiwan ports of entry.

Nationals of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, the Schengen Area, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel, and Nicaragua who enter through the visa exemption program are eligible to remain in Taiwan for up to 90 days. Nationals of select other countries may only be eligible to remain in Taiwan for up to 30 days.

In addition, foreign nationals who enter based on the visa exemption program cannot convert to a visa-based stay, unless one of the following applies:

  • Business professionals who have obtained a work permit within their permitted duration of visa-free stay may apply to convert in-country to a work authorized status. A spouse or minor children who entered Taiwan at the same time as the business professional may also convert.  
  • Visa-free entrants seeking to convert to a visitor visa must demonstrate circumstances that prevent them from leaving Taiwan, such as acute illness or natural disaster.
  • Canadian and UK passport holders eligible for the visa exemption program may extend their initial 90-day entry up to 180 days.

Please continue monitoring COVID-19 legal developments on our blog, The Mobile Workforce.