Visa-Waiver Program Offered in Taiwan

A new U.S. visa program was implemented successfully for Taiwanese nationals, according to the Taipei Times. Taiwan was admitted into the US visa-waiver program on November 1, allowing business travelers and tourists who don’t hold e-passports to obtain U.S. visas. This new program will allow individuals coming to the United States to travel multiple times of up to 90 days over a two-year period.

Americans have long been able to fly to Taiwan without a visa, but this new program is the first opportunity for Taiwanese to come to America without a visa. Bruce Linghu, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of North American Affairs said that that US travel authorization of applications have a 99 percent approval rate, and the few cases when individuals were not approved were often because they lied about previously being denied a US visa.

Linghu urges individuals who are applying for the program online to be honest. However, some Taiwanese travelers were rejected for trying to visit for purposes other than tourism or business.

Taiwan and the United States are also planning to discuss the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which was signed in 1994 as an outline for trade-related issues, but discussions were halted in 2007.

In November, eTravel Blackboard reported the overwhelming demand for Taiwanese travelers wanting to come to the United States after the announcement of this program.

“When Taiwan was included in the Visa Waiver Program, we originally estimated a 50 percent growth in November and December, but the number has already increased by two to three times,” Lion Travel Service spokesperson Andy Yu told Channel News Asia.

This year, Taiwan became the 37th nation to be granted visa-free travel to the United States.

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