Simpler visa laws coming soon: MOFA


TAIPEI–Taiwan passport holders are expected to face simpler procedures to travel to Australia and Malaysia by the end of the first half of this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Malaysia is likely to grant Taiwanese travelers visa-free treatment by the end of March, and Australia is likely to offer electronic travel authority (ETA) services online by the end of June, said Matthew Lee, director general of the MOFA’s Department of East Asian & Pacific Affairs.

In the case of Australia, Taiwanese passport holders are currently eligible to apply for an ETA, which is the equivalent of a visa and issued electronically by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

But they must do so manually rather than online, and in the future, Australia is expected to provide the more convenient online service to Taiwan passport holders with registered permanent residence, Lee said at a press briefing.

It will hold off, however, on discussing granting the privilege to the group that gives it the most concern — passport holders who do not have registered permanent residence — Lee added.

The Malaysian Cabinet has reached a consensus to grant Taiwanese visitors visa-free treatment, and an official announcement could be made in the first quarter, according to Lee.

Malaysia canceled visas on arrival for all countries on Aug. 15 last year, claiming that many visitors had abused the privilege and overstayed the visas they received. Taiwan has allowed Malaysians to visit Taiwan without a visa since 2002.