EU plans to exempt Taiwanese from visas for short stays

6 Jul 2010

Taiwanese passport-holders will no longer need a visa to enter European Union (EU) member states, once a proposal by the European Commission to add Taiwan to the list of countries and territories whose citizens do not need a short-term visa is approved.

The move would exempt them for short stays up to 90 days from the visa requirement.

The EU is Taiwan’s fourth largest trading partner. Said Cecilia Malmstrom, EU commissioner for Home Affairs: “Easier travel conditions for Taiwanese businessmen would also facilitate Taiwanese investments in what is already the biggest single market in the world”.

Under the Schengen Agreement, 22 EU member states and three associated states (Norway, Iceland and Switzerland) make up the Schengen area. Once people enter the area, people are free to move freely from one country to another. The visa waiver also applies to Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus, which are not yet Schengen area members

While the UK and Ireland are both EU members, neither are part of the Schengen Agreement. Both states, however, have separately implemented a visa-waiver programme for Taiwanese passport-holders.

Once approved by the European Parliament and the Council, the proposal aligns Taiwan with other countries and territories that enjoy visa exemption
such as Singapore, Japan, Hongkong and South Korea.

Taiwan is expected to reciprocate the gesture, the government has already expressed its readiness to grant grant a full visa free regime to citizens of all EU states. Nationals of Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria still need to apply for a visa to enter the island.

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Margie T Logarta

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