Taipei--Several new visa measures that apply to nationals of certain countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia took effect Thursday as part of the government's "New Southbound Policy," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.
With the implementation of the visa program, citizens from Sri Lanka and Bhutan will now be allowed to apply for visitor's visas to Taiwan, and those seeking to enter on business visas will no longer be required to have a Taiwanese company as guarantor, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, businesspeople from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka can now apply for e-visas to visit Taiwan, once they obtain recommendations from the branch offices of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council in their respective countries, the MOFA said.
In addition, a conditional visa-free program has been expanded to include citizens of Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam, the ministry said.
Under the visa-free program, nationals from the eligible countries can file applications for multiple-entry permits to Taiwan on the website of the Ministry of the Interior if they have held a Taiwan visa or an Alien Resident Certificate at any point over the past 10 years and have no record of visa violations.
The permits, which are issued free of charge, allow eligible visitors to stay up to 30 days in Taiwan within a three-month period of validity, according to the MOFA.
Since the program was launched in 2009, some 160,000 people from Southeast Asia have been using the service each year on average, the ministry said.
The number of users is expected to increase to 1.35 million per year with expansion of the program, the ministry added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel