|Photo from Jan-Luca Winter|
How can you say that Filipinos can travel to Taiwan visa-free? Aren’t we required to have one?
This is exactly what my friend replied to me through Facebook when I told him I won’t need to secure a Taiwanese Visa. How is this possible you say, it is thanks to the Taiwanese Government who allow tourists to enter the country using a Travel Authorization Certificate. This is just not applicable to Filipino citizens, but also those from India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos! If you still won’t believe me, then you can visit the official sites of the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs message from Taipei Office in the PH. I wouldn’t have known about this if not for some helpful advice in the Filipino forum that I seldom visit, so it really pays to do some research.
What is a ROC Travel Authorization Certificate?
For Taiwan, this is an entry permit that allows you to enter the country without requesting for a tourist visa at the Consulate. It is basically just a printout with your personal details such as Name, birthdate, passport number, authorization number, expiry date and entry type to Taiwan, duration of your stay, and other important remarks vital to the traveler and to the Immigration officers.
You are authorized to use the certificate for 90 days and permitted to stay in Taiwan for as long as 30 days. Multiple entries is also allowed within the validity period of 90 days.
Lastly, this is certainly not a study/work/residence permit, so if you intend to visit Taiwan for these purposes, it is best to apply for the appropriate visa.
Am I eligible for a ROC Travel Authorization Certificate?
To be approved and also be acknowledged by Immigration, you need to meet all of these requirements:
1. Your passport must be valid at least six months from the date of your arrival
2. You must show roundtrip plane/ferry tickets
3. You must not be employed in Taiwan as a blue-collar employee
4. You must also possess a valid permanent resident card, valid entry visa (printed or electronic), and PR card or visa that has already expired 10 years prior to your arrival from these countries:
any of the Schengen countries
The United Kingdom
The United States
I’m really surprised that even expired visas are accepted! It’s still useful folks, so don’t lose your old or expired visas/PR cards! I see that there are lots of click bait articles going around how you can now travel to Taiwan visa-free, technically, it would still require you a visa as previously mentioned, but you are not required now to apply for a TAIWAN visa specifically.
How do I apply?
You can do so by visiting Taiwan NIA (National Immigration Agency) website.
If you’re not certain what to do, these are the step by step process.
Next page is a short workflow of the process which is very easy to understand. If you are rejected for applying, you need to contact the local ROC Department Office. Click Next to proceed.
Next page is a detailed run through of all the requirements and eligibility guidelines.
This is a vital part to input all the details, double check all before clicking submit. You need to specify whether what you have is a Resident Card or Entry Visa such as Tourist, Business, etc. You’ll need to also indicate which country it is and the visa/card number.
For US visa holders, I was told the control number can be used. For Japan Visa, the number specified in the upper right corner will do. For South Korea visa, use the number located in the upper right corner as well (the one with PH prefix). For expiry date of PR cards, you can key in 9999 for year, 12 for month and 31 on the Date field.
Last is a review of all the information you submitted.
Finally, the system will automatically check if you have followed all the rules. You’ll know once you click submit if your certificate is ‘Approved’. You can click print to download a soft copy of the form in PDF form.
Before my departure date…
I knew about this certificate around August, and considering that my trip is on the first week of November, I already thought of applying for a Japan Visa since at that time, South Korea was not included in the list of countries and the eligibility for expired visas was not yet considered, so this update was only added around the first two weeks of September, and by then, I was already granted a visa to Japan. Nevertheless, I guess I feel more secured having a valid Japan visa than showing the expired Korean visa.
Flight and Arrival to Taiwan
I printed one copy of the Travel Authorization since I need to show this to Immigration officers in The Philippines and in Taiwan. I also saved the pdf copy in my phone just in case.
It seems like not all Cebu Pacific airline staff are aware of this policy so checking in took some time since they still had to confirm this with their superiors. But had no problems whatsover with the Immigation staff on borh countries. No questions as well as to why and what I will be doing for 16 days.
Surprisingly, there was no sticker on my passport, only a small stamp that I am allowed to stay for maximum 30 days in the country.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What if I don’t have any of the required visas/documents?
Unfortunately, you have to apply for the visa. It is up to you to which country you’ll choose. Confusing, no?
It says above that as long as you have a valid entry visa in aforementioned countries, you’re still good to go. You can follow what I did and apply for a visa to South Korea or Japan, since these countries have the easiest requirements and process for us Filipinos. You may read more here on the step by step process of easy visa tourist visa application to Japan.
The good thing about this is you can still use that other visa if you choose to, and visa fee application for these countries is cheaper than applying for the actual Taiwan Tourist Visa. Requesting for a South Korea Visa is free and Japan Visa agency fee may range from 800-1,500 pesos, as compared to Taiwan Visa which is more than 2,000 pesos.
My visa is electronic, what do I do?
Print it out or have a soft copy in hand with you so you can show it to Immigration, they would most likely be looking for it.
My expired visa is in my old passport?
Bring it with you, you need to show it to Immigration. They wouldn’t know looking from your new passport that you’ve been granted visa to the countries specified by Taiwan.
I misspelled something on the online application and it shows in the certificate!
You can submit a new application. Just a tip, double check all the information days before your departure.
But I want a Taiwan Visa in my passport!
This is just a good option, nobody’s forcing you. lol But I agree, it’s fun to see the collection of visas in your passport, but consider if it’s worth the hassle and time to apply for a visa knowing you can travel using the Authorization Certificate. Also, you are allowed to stay longer, 30 days! The Single-entry Taiwan Tourist Visa only allow maximum of 14 days. That alone is convincing enough for me.
If you still want to apply and you are already on your way to The TECO office in Makati, most likely the officers there will still recommend you to just get the travel certificate if they see you have the appropriate requirements instead of applying for a visa.
What do I need to do after applying online?
Print out your certificate, you would need to show this to Immigration. I recommend having a soft copy and a print out of course. As per the website, “Entry will be denied if the required documents are not produced.” Be warned.
Stay tuned for my posts about Taiwan. Safe travels, y’all! ^_^