Foreign visitors in Taiwan granted second 30-day visa extension

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan will grant a second automatic 30-day visa extension to foreign visitors who entered the country on or before March 21, based on the ongoing impact of COVID-19 coronavirus-related border control measures and flight bans.

All foreigners who entered Taiwan on or before March 21, 2020 on a visitor visa, landing visa or through a visa-waiver program, with the exception of overstayers, will receive the extension automatically, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a press release.

“The total period of stay cannot exceed 180 days,” the ministry said, adding that the conditions of the extension” are subject to change and may be adjusted as circumstances require.”

The announcement followed an initial automatic 30-day visa extension the ministry granted on March 21, just days after the government introduced strict border controls to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

On March 18, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals, with the exception of those holding Alien Resident Certificates or documents proving they are in Taiwan for diplomatic or other official purposes or to fulfill business contracts, as well as those who have received what the ministry describes as “special permits.”

The ministry also noted that the National Immigration Agency is offering an ongoing voluntary departure program for foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas.

Between March 20 and June 30, people who have overstayed their visas and turn themselves in will not be detained or receive a re-entry ban, and will only be given a fine of NT$2,000 (US$66.25), rather than the original punishment of detention plus a maximum NT$10,000 fine, with a re-entry ban of up to eight years, the ministry said.