With its unique fusion of cultures, breathtaking scenery, diverse cuisine, exciting city life and well-developed hospitality industry, Taiwan is an ideal destination for many types of travelers. Citizens of more than 60 countries and territories are eligible for visa-exempt entry for a period of 30 or 90 days. In addition to about 1,100 kilometers of conventional railway lines, Taiwan has a 350-km high-speed rail system along its west coast. The high-speed trains allow travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung in 94 minutes. These two cities and the northern metropolis of Taoyuan are also equipped with state-of-the-art mass rapid transit systems.
Taiwan might be one of the safest places on planet earth right now. Taiwan’s handling of the outbreak alongside its regional neighbours such as Singapore and South Korea has received international praise for its effectiveness in quarantining people and widespread testing. As of 25 February, 2021, 407,936 tests had been conducted in Taiwan, with the vast majority not confirming a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Why should you visit Taiwan when you can? If there’s one thing Taiwanese people love, it’s food. While many other cultures make do with three meals a day, locals here place no such dietary restrictions on themselves. The never-ending Taiwanese quest for new tastes and flavors means that there are always new dishes to try and the local passion for street food means that eating out can be quite a cheap alternative to cooking at home. People in Taiwan are amazing human beings. Ask for directions on the street and regardless of whether the person assisting you can speak your language or not, they will gladly help. In fact, many tourists have found that the hospitality offered to them was one of the main reasons they loved Taiwan so much. Taiwanese people really are that friendly.
Taiwan is a place for all ages, from family trips to holidays with besties. Whether it’s a trip to an all-night Karaoke venue or a night out clubbing with friends, Taiwan has it all. There are many clubs in the cities with Taipei in particular boasting venues that appeal to lovers of every musical genre. Prefer a quiet night enjoying some locally brewed craft beers? Then the many cafés and bars popping up all over the island have you covered. Those Portuguese sailors were on to something when they named Taiwan the beautiful island. Home to amazing national parks that boast beaches, mountains, valleys, and even dormant volcanoes, Taiwan has such natural beauty that several major film productions such as ‘Silence‘ and ‘Life of Pi‘ took advantage of its scenery.
So can I travel to Taiwan at the moment?
Starting 19 March, 2021, foreign nationals were barred from entering Taiwan, with some exceptions, such as those carrying out the remainder of business contracts, and those holding valid Alien Resident Certificates, diplomatic credentials, or other official documentation and special permits. Restrictions have since been relaxed for foreign university students and those seeking medical treatment in Taiwan, subject to prior government approval. All who are admitted into the country must complete a fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival, except for business travelers from countries determined to be at low or moderate risk, who are subject to five- or seven-day quarantines and must submit to a COVID-19 test.
However, in response to a worldwide spike in cases in October and November 2020, Taiwan announced that from 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021, all travelers to and through Taiwan, regardless of nationality, origin, or purpose, must submit a negative COVID-19 test performed within three working days of arrival. Exceptions are granted to travelers responding to family emergencies or arriving from countries where on-demand or self-paid tests are unavailable, who must be seated apart from other passengers and take a self-paid test immediately on arrival in Taiwan.
MOFA announces adjustments to regulations for foreign nationals entering Taiwan beginning March 1, 2021, in line with the continuation of CECC Fall-Winter COVID-19 Prevention Program
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced on February 24, 2021, that implementation of the Fall-Winter COVID-19 Prevention Program (2020/12/01-2021/2/28) will be continued until further notice, but that entry regulations will be adjusted. In accordance with the decision, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will update regulations concerning the entry of foreign nationals into the Republic of China (Taiwan). Beginning March 1, 2021, foreign nationals who wish to travel to Taiwan for reasons other than tourism and regular social visits may apply for a special entry permit with an R.O.C. overseas mission by submitting relevant documents and forms. However, the entry of foreign students will still be based on regulations of the Ministry of Education. (Please note that currently only students in formal degree programs in Taiwan and recipients of the MOFA Taiwan Scholarship attending the Mandarin Language Enrichment Program may enter the country.)
To continue to safeguard domestic anti pandemic efforts, all inbound and transit travelers to Taiwan are required to provide a COVID-19 RT-PCR negative test report issued within three working days of their incoming flight’s scheduled departure time. Travelers should also log into the Quarantine System for Entry (http://hdhq.mohw.gov.tw/), use their mobile phone to fill out the health declaration form prior to their departure, and make an affidavit stating that the location of their intended 14-day home quarantine in Taiwan (to be conducted in a quarantine hotel or in a home with one person per residence) meets relevant regulations. These conditions are subject to change and may be adjusted as circumstances require.
For what purposes may foreign nationals currently visit Taiwan?
Beginning March 1, 2021, individuals wishing to travel to Taiwan for purposes other than tourism and social visits may apply for a special entry permit with an R.O.C. overseas mission by submitting relevant documents and forms. However, the entry of foreign students will still be based on regulations of the Ministry of Education. (Please note that currently only students in formal degree programs in Taiwan and recipients of the MOFA Taiwan Scholarship attending the Mandarin Language Enrichment Program may enter the country.)
Currently foreign nationals may not travel to Taiwan with tourism, including social visits, as a purpose. What is meant by a social visit?
Social visits, which are similar to tourism, include attending social activities or making private visits that have no obvious connection to family and no domestic contact point. Examples include traveling to Taiwan to visit friends or attend a wedding, sporting event, concert, other performance, or holiday festival.
May foreign nationals use visiting family as a purpose to visit Taiwan?
Yes. Foreign nationals may come to Taiwan for a short time to visit relatives if they present evidence showing a clear familial relationship when applying at an R.O.C. overseas mission for a special entry permit. Foreign nationals using a valid visa, landing visa, or visa-free entry shall, after arriving in Taiwan, submit supporting documents to a Border Affairs Corps immigration officer for inspection to determine whether they may enter Taiwan.
May foreign nationals and those accompanying them apply for a special entry permit to visit Taiwan for medical treatment?
Yes. If approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), foreign nationals seeking treatment and those accompanying them may submit the MOHW approval letter and other relevant documents to an R.O.C. overseas mission and apply for a special entry permit.
When will Taiwan allow foreign nationals to come to Taiwan to study or learn Chinese?
The Ministry of Education will separately announce its decision regarding foreign nationals wishing to study or learn Chinese in Taiwan. Currently, foreign nationals who wish to study Chinese in Taiwan may not enter the country. Until further notice, only students in formal degree programs in Taiwan and recipients of the MOFA Taiwan Scholarship attending the Mandarin Language Enrichment Program may enter the country.
May foreign nationals originally eligible to visit Taiwan visa free or on a landing visa for reasons other than tourism or social visits do so during the pandemic, or do they need to apply for a special entry permit?
- Taiwan’s current entry control measures for foreign nationals are based on their purpose of visit and do not supplant original visa treatment privileges. However, whether foreign nationals may visit Taiwan visa free or on a landing visa during the pandemic will depend on the boarding regulations and policies adopted by individual airlines. In addition, upon arrival at the airport, travelers must submit supporting documents to a Border Affairs Corps immigration officer for inspection to determine whether they may enter Taiwan.
- If foreign nationals are unable to determine whether their supporting documents are complete or meet the requirements for border entry, it is recommended that they apply for a special entry permit at an R.O.C. overseas mission before traveling to Taiwan.
May nationals of Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam still visit Taiwan after obtaining an R.O.C. Travel Authorization Certificate (conditional visa waiver) from the National Immigration Agency’s website?
Currently, NO. The R.O.C. Travel Authorization Certificate program aims to provide nationals of these Southeast Asian countries with a convenient visa-waiver mechanism to visit Taiwan for the purpose of tourism. It does not meet the requirements for a special entry permit. Thus, during the pandemic, nationals from these countries may not use the R.O.C. Travel Authorization Certificate to visit Taiwan.
How do foreign nationals visiting Taiwan for short-term commercial purposes apply for a shortened home quarantine period?
Foreign nationals visiting Taiwan for short-term commercial purposes who meet specified criteria should submit relevant documents, such as a company’s letter of invitation, an itinerary, and a disease prevention plan, when applying to an R.O.C. overseas mission for a special entry permit. Moreover, both prior to boarding and upon arriving in Taiwan, travelers must present a COVID-19 RT-PCR negative test report issued within three working days of their incoming flight’s scheduled departure time. For more details please visit the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov.tw/En/Bulletin/Detail/b1eCtr41msjGk3R8f2re7A?typeid=158
If you decide to travel to Taiwan:
- See the American Institute in Taiwan’s web page regarding COVID-19.
- Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Taiwan.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.