Taiwan’s new COVID-19 protocols for arriving passengers

Taipei, Sept. 29 (CNA) Beginning Thursday, Taiwan will fully reintroduce the visa-free entry program for passport holders from 65 countries that was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) also announced that Taiwan will end mandatory quarantine for inbound travelers on October 13, when the country will also lift restrictions on inbound and outbound travel groups.

So what should arriving and returning travelers know before entering Taiwan under these new guidelines? CNA has compiled the following questions and answers to explain how the new regulations will affect inbound international visitors.

From September 29th

Q: Which passports have visa-free entry privileges to Taiwan?

A: Visa-free privileges will resume for 11 more countries starting Thursday, after those privileges were reinstated for 54 countries on September 12.

● The 11 countries include Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua whose passport holders can enter Taiwan without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days.

● Taiwan will also resume 30-day visa-free entry for Dominican Republic, Singaporean and Malaysian passport holders.

● Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are allowed to enter Taiwan without a visa for 14 days.

● On September 12, Taiwan resumed visa-free entry for passport holders from 54 countries, most of whom can travel to Taiwan for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.

The 54 countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the 26 European Schengen Area countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia , Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland).

Visa-free privileges were also reinstated for 10 non-Schengen European countries (Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Monaco, North Macedonia, Romania, San Marino and the United Kingdom), as well as passport holders from nine of Taiwan’s 14 diplomatic allies: Tuvalu, Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Palau, Paraguay and the Holy See.

Passport holders from five other countries that have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan — Belize, Nauru, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines — are eligible for a visa-free visit of up to 30 days. (For more details: Bureau of Consular Affairs)

Q: What should I check before traveling to Taiwan?

A: With the exception of individuals from the United States and Japan, individuals from visa-exempt countries are required to have a passport with a minimum validity of six months from the date of entry into Taiwan.

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Visitors from the US and Japan only require passports that are valid for the duration of their intended stay.

Q: Are there certain groups of people from visa-free countries who are not eligible for visa-free treatment?

A: Yes, there are some exceptions.

People born in China with Honduran passports cannot take advantage of the 90-day visa-free status granted to Honduras.

● In addition, persons holding passports from the visa-exempt countries Belize, Eswatini, Nauru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Tuvalu, but their Place of birth China, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria or Yemen listed in their passport are also not eligible for visa-free treatment.

● A country previously part of Taiwan’s visa-free entry program that was not included in the updated visa-free entry list Russia.

Russian nationals could previously visit Taiwan visa-free for 21 days, but this program expired on July 31, 2022 and an extension is under consideration.

Q: What is the COVID-19 quarantine policy for incoming visitors?

A: Effective September 29, Taiwan will implement a revised version of its existing “3+4” quarantine policy for arrivals.

The directive requires arriving people to be quarantined in a quarantine hotel or home for three days – starting the day after arrival – followed by four days of “self-initiated epidemic prevention”.

From September 29, people quarantining at home can do so with family members or friends who have not traveled with them, as long as the quarantined person stays in their room with a private bathroom, isolated from other household .

Before September 29, people who chose to quarantine at home had to follow the one person per residence rule, although people who traveled together can be quarantined together.

● Measures to lift border controls with Taiwan come into effect

Q: Can arriving travelers use public transportation such as Taoyuan Airport Metro?

A: If they enter Taiwan on October 13 or later, yes. If they enter Taiwan from September 29th to October 12th, no. However, there are several ways to travel from the airport to the quarantine location during this period.

● Taxi services are available to passengers arriving at the airport at fixed rates to destinations in various cities and counties.

● Free designated COVID-19 buses are available for individual passengers arriving at Taoyuan Airport, taking them to Taichung, Yunlin County, Chiayi City, Chiayi County, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung County, New Taipei and Taipei.

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The buses also take passengers to seven quarantine hotels in and around Taoyuan City.

● Arriving people can be met by family and friends at designated gates. At Taoyuan Airport, these are Gates 11-15 in Terminal 1 and Gates 31-33 in Terminal 2.

● Groups such as business travellers, workers (including migrant workers) and students, companies and schools can organize vehicles for pick-up.

Where the employees and students have to be in quarantine is determined by the management teams responsible for the respective group.

● Travelers are allowed to park their cars in designated airport parking lots before departing on international trips and can drive to their quarantine locations on their own upon their return.

Q: What does the new “3+4” quarantine policy entail?

A: Arriving people will no longer be subjected to a saliva-based PCR test upon entry, but will instead be given four rapid tests.

According to the Central Epidemic Control Center, the first test should be carried out on the day of arrival or the first day of quarantine and the result reported to the case officer, who will contact them by phone.

The second test must be carried out on the third and last day of quarantine, while the third test is to be carried out during the period of “self-initiated epidemic prevention”.

The final rapid test should be performed if COVID-19 symptoms appear during quarantine or “self-initiated epidemic prevention.”

Q: What are the rules for the four-day self-initiated epidemic prevention?

A: During the four days of “self-initiated epidemic prevention,” people are advised to stay in their quarantine location unless they absolutely have to go to work or buy essentials.

People observing “self-initiated epidemic prevention” must have a negative result of a rapid test taken within two days of leaving their quarantine location before going out.

Such people are also required to wear masks at all times when going out, but may remove their mask when eating as long as social distancing measures are observed and partitions are used to separate the person from others.

This group of people follows protocols for “self-initiated epidemic prevention.” can use public transport during the four days.

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However, people who have a positive rapid test result and need to go to a hospital can only do so on foot, use their own vehicle, take a designated COVID-19 taxi, or be driven by a family member or friend.

Q: Will the revised “3+4” policy apply equally to all arriving passengers?

On a. The Department of Labor and the Department of Education each have different rules for migrant workers and foreign students.

● The policy will be more like a ‘7+0’ policy for migrant workers. Incoming migrant workers are not required to take a saliva-based COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival, according to the Labor Department’s Workforce Development Agency.

However, they must stay in quarantine hotels or quarantine dormitories with only one person per room and not go out throughout the seven-day period except in an emergency situation such as seeking medical assistance.

● For foreign students, schools make arrangements for their quarantine, either in a quarantine hotel or in designated dormitories. The four-day “self-initiated disease prevention” policy for these students is largely the same as for others, except they are not allowed to attend classes.

From 13 Oct

Q: What is the “0+7” policy due to roll out on October 13th?

A: The “0+7 self-initiated epidemic prevention” policy is the plan that Taiwan will adopt when it opens its borders on October 13.

Under the policy, Taiwan will end the three-day mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers and let them follow “self-initiated epidemic prevention” protocols for seven days.

Since no quarantine is imposed upon entry, arriving passengers are allowed to use public transportation such as the Taoyuan Airport subway as long as they show no symptoms upon arrival.

Q: Does the “0+7” policy also apply to incoming migrant workers and foreign students?

A: No decision has been made yet. The Workforce Development Agency said it is still studying the issue, while the Department of Education has made no announcement.

Q: What is the difference between the current “Self-Initiated Epidemic Prevention” protocols and the new protocols?

A: Currently there aren’t much differences between the two. In either case, individuals should continue to remain in their rooms with private bathrooms, separate from their roommates.

They are also allowed to go to work or buy essentials as long as they wear their masks at all times and test negative before going out.

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