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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Although Taiwan restored visa-free treatment to many Western countries and diplomatic allies on Monday (Sept. 12), many neighboring countries in the region have been excluded, prompting complaints from netizens from the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia, among others.
On Monday, Taiwan restored visa-free entry for visitors from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, many other countries continue to be excluded, including all of Taiwan's neighbors in East and Southeast Asia.
Travelers who are eligible for visa-exempt entry must still undergo COVID testing upon arrival at Taiwan's major ports of entry and immediately enter quarantine for three days, followed by four days of self-health monitoring. In addition, the number of inbound passengers is capped at 50,000 per week.
BOCA on Sept. 6 issued the complete list of countries eligible for the visa exemption program, which provides for a duration of stay of up to 90 days. To the chagrin of many would-be travelers in the Indo-Pacific region, BOCA that day also posted a list of countries that have been "temporarily suspended" from the visa exemption program, meaning that citizens of these countries cannot yet receive visa-free entry to Taiwan:
Excluded countries
Chile, Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan*, Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand*, Brunei*, Philippines*, Russia*
*Please visit BOCA's Visa-Exempt Entry webpage for more information on eligibility.
Complaints from citizens of excluded countries
Filipinos in Taiwan and the Philippines who have been waiting for years to see their relatives were angered by the exclusion of the Philippines:
"As usual, they are just opening their border for rich countries. Business is business."
"And Philippines is not included hu! Allowed free visa and only for a one-week vacation, and you need to quarantine."
"Usual Taiwan racism. Only opening up for wealthy countries and excluding neighbors like the Philippines. It is disgusting."
Singaporeans were also disappointed about being left out of the first round of countries:
"What about Singapore? Taiwan is a popular holiday destination for Singaporean Chinese."
One netizen asked, "Wonder when will Taiwan open up to Singapore?" and another responded, "Probably never because Singapore backs China and not Taiwan."
Malaysians who visit Taiwan for its cuisine such as Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle expressed dismay at being snubbed:
"If I need a visa to go to Taiwan, I won't go there if it's so troublesome."
"My Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodles!"
"Could it be because we didn't buy Taiwanese pineapples?"
Updated : 2022-09-12 13:44 GMT+08:00
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