PETALING JAYA: Malaysians who wish to travel to Taiwan for business or pleasure will still need to obtain a visa at this time.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco) said Malaysia remained on the “temporarily suspended” list of visa-free entries following reviews of Taiwan’s pandemic situation and healthcare capacity.
Teco’s press and media division manager Benjamin Hong Zheng-bin said Taiwan was making necessary preparations for a gradual opening to allow visa-free travel from more countries, including Malaysia.
“It’s a step-by-step process as we need to consider the latest Covid-19 situation inside and outside Taiwan.
“Additionally, we have to consider our medical preparation so that we can have a gradual and stable opening,” he said yesterday.
Hong said the Taiwanese authority is aware of the many requests from Malaysians to visit Taiwan and assured them that preparations to open up more and relax some of its rules were underway.
“Based on information from our Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), we are making preparations.
“We cannot say when the announcement will be made, as things will still depend on the pandemic situation in the country,” he said, adding that the sooner the number of infections comes down from the peak, the sooner its borders would reopen.
On September 5, Taiwan announced the reinstatement of visa exemption for nationals of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, certain European countries and its diplomatic allies from September 12. september.
Malaysia, however, has been placed on the “temporarily suspended” list for visa waiver, along with Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines, Russia, Chile, Israel, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
Before the pandemic, Malaysian passport holders enjoyed a visa waiver that allowed stays of up to 30 days in Taiwan.
All that was needed was a passport valid for at least six months on entry, a return ticket and a clean criminal record.
As for business travelers and students, Hong said their visa applications must be supported by relevant documents, such as an invitation, notice or letter – similar to the process in pre-pandemic times.
He also called on travelers to check the latest updates of travel requirements on the website of the Consular Affairs Bureau of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (https://www.boca.gov.tw/np-137- 2.html).
According to Teco website (https://www.taiwanembassy.org/my/post/354.html), single entry visa is RM212, multiple entry visa (RM423) and single entry residence visa (RM279).
The processing fee is RM677 per application, allowing a total stay of 30 days.
Applications can be made online at https://visawebapp.boca.gov.tw/BOCA_EVISA/ while applicants can submit the documents at Teco office at Level 7, Menara Yayasan Tun Razak, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, during office hours.
Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association chairman Paul Paw said no tourists had been allowed into the country, according to the Taiwan Tourism Board in Kuala Lumpur.
“So far, some business travelers have been allowed to leave,” he said, adding that they must take a PCR test upon arrival and observe a three-day hotel quarantine.
Hoping that visa-free travel will soon be restored for Malaysians, Paw said the additional costs of visa applications and quarantine were deterring travellers.
Before the pandemic, he said around 530,000 Malaysians traveled to Taiwan each year, one of the highest in Asia.
Malaysian Travel and Travel Agents Association (MATTA) President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said Taiwan has always been a popular destination for Malaysian holidaymakers, as evidenced by the national MATTA fairs.
“The suspension of visa-free entry for Malaysians inevitably means that fewer of us will consider Taiwan for our holidays.
“As this policy is only temporary, we will wait to see how it evolves later,” he said.