Taiwan has made inclusion on the ESTA program a top priority in 2011.
15 December 2010
Taiwan inclusion in US ESTA program a priority for 2011
The inclusion of Taiwan into the US Visa Waiver Program has become a priority for the Taiwanese government.
Taiwan hopes that it would be considered eligible for inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Program in 2011, Taiwan's representative to the US said on Wednesday.
"The signing of three agreements on the exchange of information on stolen or counterfeit passports; the exchange of information on terrorists; and collaboration on combating crime will be crucial for Taiwan to be placed on the visa-waiver program (VWP) roadmap, " Jason Yuan said during a session of the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and Defence Committee.
The US Visa Waiver Program enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the US using the online ESTA, rather than the more lengthy US Tourist Visa application.
Taiwan was granted visa-free privileges for the Schengen Area of Europe last month, and since then attention has turned towards achieving the same result for US travel.
Key factors that would enable Taiwan’s addition to the visa waiver program include: visa refusal rates, cases of overstay, and a passport application and issuance procedure that requires travelers to apply in person.
Taiwan's US Visa refusal rate for fiscal 2010 was 2.2 per cent, much lower than the minimum requirement of 3 per cent, and few cases of Taiwanese overstays were recorded.
New procedures will be tested in Taiwan requiring visa applicants to complete their passport applications in person, starting March 1, 2011.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their ESTA applications to the US Embassy .