03 October 2012

Taiwan to join US Visa Waiver Program

The American government announced yesterday that Taiwan will join the Visa Waiver Program, allowing Taiwanese tourists to visit the country without the need of a US visa.

US visa

Taiwanese citizens will no longe require a US visa to enter the country as of next month.

Taiwan becomes the seventh country in the Asia-Pacific Region and the 37th country overall to join the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP). As of 1 November, Taiwanese citizens will be permitted to enter and remain in the US for 90 days without a visa.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who announced the long touted agreement, said the agreement is a "logical development in close security, economic and people-to-people" ties between the two countries.

Almost 300,000 Taiwanese citizens visited the US on full tourist visas in 2011 spending $1.1 billion (£685 million) but Ms Napolitano said she expected a significant boost in tourism following the agreement.

Taiwan's close proximity to China, who dispute its sovereignty and claim it has their own territory, has intensified the issue in the past but US-China relations aren't expected to be jeopardised by the new arrangement.

"China should have no problem with the new development because it should have no bearing on the cross-strait link," said Yan Chen-shen, professor of politics at Taiwan's National Chengchi University.

Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs also welcomed the deal in a statement issued yesterday:

"The newest development once again indicates that the Taiwan-US tie has become closer."

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.

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