Taiwan temporarily suspends visa-free privilege for Filipinos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) – Neighboring Taiwan said it is temporarily suspending visa-free entry for citizens from the Philippines and 11 other countries.

Its Bureau of Consular Affairs posted the announcement dated Sept. 6 on its website, which lists the nations eligible for the visa exemption program starting Sept. 12. 

Besides the Philippines, Taiwan said it is temporarily suspending visa-free privilege for nationals of the following countries: Chile, Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, and Russia.

CNN Philippines on Wednesday emailed the bureau -– which is under Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs –- to clarify the reason for and the period of the temporary suspension. It has yet to receive a response.

The notice also stated that holders of passports from the Philippines, Brunei, Russia and Thailand “must have a proof of accommodation (hotel) booking, host/sponsor's contact information, and sufficient travel funds” before traveling to the island.

The bureau added that vessel/aircraft crew members or service personnel from these four countries who are intending to board to report for duty are also ineligible for visa-free entry.

No suspension?

Despite the Taiwanese government’s notice, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chair Silvestre Bello III told CNN Philippines on Thursday that Filipinos may still enter the island without a visa.

MECO is the Philippines’ de facto embassy in Taiwan.

CNN Philippines sent another email to the consular affairs bureau to seek clarification on this.

Last year, Taiwan extended its trial visa-free entry for Filipino travelers until July 31, 2022. The trial program began in November 2017.