Perhaps not yet. The state government has just ordered a crackdown on all parties and public gatherings, both indoors and outdoors
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What will happen to visas that have already been granted? Are they still valid?
For all the foreigners who arrived in Taiwan on or before March 21, 2020, the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on May 18, 2020, a third automatic visa-extension of 30 days. It is valid for people with a visa waiver, visitor visa, or landing visa. No application is required to get their visas extended. However, the visa-holders should not have overstayed their legal stay period in Taiwan. The first 30-day visa extension was announced on March 21, 2020, and the second one on April 17, 2020. The total period of stay cannot exceed 180 days, with the day after their entry date counted as the first day of stay. These conditions are subject to change and may be adjusted as circumstances require.
What is the state of tourism right now?
At the present moment, Taiwan’s borders are closed to non-essential international travel. We have not introduced a state of domestic lockdown at all but encouraged citizens to minimise outside exposure and maintain social distancing. At this point, there have been no domestic cases for two months now and less than 500 recorded cases. The worst is over in Taiwan, and we are now working closely with key individuals/organisations to create processes and steps whereby upon lifting of travel restriction, travellers may ‘travel with confidence’ as our motto and goal.
Taiwan has had distributed domestic relief funds to drive consumption among the population, encourages public institutions and private enterprises to organise more domestic incentive travel (local FAM trips) and over 600,000 High Net Worth Individuals in the financial industry alone have already invested in domestic incentive travel.
Initially, the subsidised incentive travel was offered to one person or employee but that has been adjusted to bring family members to travel, which has helped increase the number of tourist trips three to four fold. Domestic tourism allows us room to refine our methods and processes for the post-COVID scenario and provide international travellers safety and comfort.
How open is the country to foreign tourists? If so, what changes will be introduced?
At present, Taiwan is well recovered because of its isolation and anti-pandemic measures. Since June 8, CNC crowd control restrictions have been lifted in national scenic areas, amusement parks and public transportation. Only for cases where people are unable to maintain social distancing at these locations, will it be necessary to wear a mask.
Current travel restrictions to and from Taiwan are in place only till June 30, 2020 with reviews to be conducted as appropriate and depending on the global situation. In preparation to welcome back international travellers when possible, Taiwan implemented a three-phase plan by first focusing on promoting domestic tourism in order to be fully ready to welcome international travellers.
The first phase has already been initiated, as of May 20. With a pandemic prevention tourism plan in place, this phase focuses on creating viable tourism guidelines including quick action plans in case of an outbreak, defining itineraries that encourage travel without necessarily causing congestion of popular sites and cities, and working on means to improve the quality of international travel.
In the second phase, various promotional schemes, vouchers and support are outlined with an estimated 280 million USD budgeted for this phase of tourism re-introduction. All B2B partners, tour and travel operators and digital outlets providing information about Taiwan have been in close contact with us and they will receive revised information that empowers them to encourage travel to Taiwan once again.
The third stage is where Taiwan will eagerly wait for international tourists, having created, implemented and tested the measures adopted at the domestic level.
Will you be introducing a need for health passports and a negative coronavirus test or vaccination?
No decision has yet been taken on introducing the need for a health passport. However, whenever international travel opens up, all precautionary measures will be taken including mandatory wearing of masks, screening on arrival, quarantine and testing for COVID-19. Travellers will be instructed to follow the social distancing norms at all times.
Once travel restriction is lifted, foreigners will be allowed to enter Taiwan and engage in important economic and trade activities through obtaining a PCR negative certificate. Upon entering, they must exercise self-quarantine for at least five days and undergo an additional test-screening. If the intention is to leave the country within 14 days of entry, they must also obtain a negative certificate beforehand.
What is happening to passports that were submitted for a visa before the coronavirus pandemic?
As per the official announcement, the consular services of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in India have been under suspension since March 23, 2020. Further instructions are yet to be announced. No new visas have been issued during this period.
Once we approach reopening, all efforts will be made to ensure a smooth process of obtaining/extending visas to minimise all possible inconveniences.
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