Visa-free travel for Taiwan as it attains VWP designation
On October 2, 2012 Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, announced Taiwan’s designation into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Its main purpose is to streamline travel for thousands of eligible Taiwan passport holders, even so maintaining strict and firm security standards.
In her statement, Secretary Napoiltano said, “Today’s announcement is a major step forward in our long-standing economic partnership with Taiwan. Taiwan’s participation in the VWP will not only stimulate tourism in the United States, it will also enable us to work together to maintain the strictest security standards.”
VWP enables travel to the United States for commuters who are eligible and visiting for 90 days or fewer for business or tourism without obtaining a visa.
This program was established to facilitate easy travelling and stimulating the tourism industry by attracting and welcoming visitors, while maintaining highest standards of security. With Taiwan joining in, VWP has 37 participating countries now.
In the Fiscal Year of 2011, the VWP accounted for 18.3 million visits to the United States, or more than 60 percent of tourist and business travelers entering the United States by air, while 243,186 visitors from Taiwan traveled to the United States.
To be admitted to the VWP, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ensured that Taiwan met with various security and other requirements, such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States and timely reporting of both blank and issued lost and stolen passports. It is also required to maintain high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, and document security standards.
Like all VWP travellers, Taiwan passport holders who meet the eligibility criteria should have received an authorization to travel under the VWP through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a DHS Web-base system.
Only eligible Taiwan passport holders with an approved ESTA will be able to visit the United States under VWP as of November 1, 2012.
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