Taiwan Joins Visa Waiver Program

October 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Taiwan has become a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), the Department of Homeland Security has announced. Beginning November 1, 2012, eligible Taiwan passport holders will be able to use the program to make short trips for business or tourism without the need to obtain a visa, provided that they meet program requirements.

The Visa Waiver Program allows foreign nationals from designated countries to enter the United States for business or tourism for up to 90 days without the need to obtain a B-1/B-2 visitor visa from a U.S. consulate. Taiwan joins 36 other VWP members: Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Like all other VWP travelers, Taiwan passport holders must register and obtain an approval to travel in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in order to make visa-free visits to the United States. They must also carry a passport that meets program rules.

ESTA authorization should be sought at least 72 hours before travel. If approved, the traveler’s ESTA registration will be valid for two years or until the expiration of his or her passport, whichever is earlier. The authorization may be used for multiple trips to the United States during the validity period. Foreign nationals who are denied ESTA registration must apply for a B-1/B-2 visa in order to visit the United States for business or tourism.

VWP travelers must also meet applicable passport standards based on their passport’s date of issuance. If issued on or after October 26, 2006, the passport must be embedded with an integrated computer chip containing the traveler’s biographic data (an “e-Passport”). If issued between October 26, 2005 and October 25, 2006, the passport must contain a digital photo. If issued before October 26, 2005, the passport must be machine-readable.

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