07 July 2011

Taiwan Foreign Minister 'optimistic' about US visa waiver inclusion

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Taiwan's Foreign Minister, Timothy Yang, said that he is "cautiously optimistic" about the likelihood of Taiwan being included in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) candidate list later this year.

US visa

Taiwan's Foreign Minister is "cautiously optimistic" that Taiwan will be included in the US VWP.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows foreign nationals from certain countries to travel in America for a period of 90 days for business or pleasure without having to obtain a paper US Visa in advance.

Yang noted that pressure from China will not be an obstacle for Taiwan's chances of being selected for the Visa Waiver Program. Speaking on Taiwan's bid for inclusion in the VWP, Yang said: “Communication between both sides is going smoothly and we hope that there will be a concrete result in the second half of this year”

Yang also said that Taiwan has made an effort to meet the VWP's requirements, such as the introduction of the mandatory in-person passport application procedure for first-time applicants launched earlier this month.

The remarks from Yang came shortly after Bruce Linghu, Taiwan's Director-General of the Foreign Ministry's Department of North American Affairs, disclosed that Taiwan is hoping to be chosen as a candidate for the VWP by the end of this year.

However, even if Taiwan successfully makes it to the visa-waiver candidate process, Yang said there will still be further requirements to ultimately be granted the privilege.

“We still have to undergo screening procedures by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Congress,” Yang said.

Other requirements include the improvement of information sharing between Taiwan and the US government concerning stolen or duplicated travel documents.

Taiwan will also be required to maintain high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control and document security standards.

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