Yeap, Philippine passport holders can now enter Taiwan visa-free.
Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) has loosened its grip in welcoming tourists in their country. Philippine passport holders can now obtain visa-free authorisation certificate for free, minus the long queue, and the dreadful preparation for the documents. Below I have listed down the things to keep in mind when applying for the certificate online. Just in case you lack one of the things below, I will also write here the steps on how to get a Taiwan visa at TECO.
For the visa-free certificate:
- The applicant must possess at least one of the following documents or visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States. If the visa is already expired, you can still use it as long as the expiration of the visa is less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan. Single entry visas are accepted. (I used a single-entry Korean visa when I went to Taiwan last November 2017.)
- Fill in the application form for your certificate here. Remember to fill in the blanks carefully or else you will have to apply and reprint your certificate again. The staff at the check-in counter will verify your travel certificate.
- The applicant has never been a blue-collared worker in Taiwan.
- The visa is valid for multiple entry for 90 days.
- Applying for the certificate is FREE. Apply only, wait for the pdf file to pop-out, print a copy or two, and you are good to go!
If in case you don’t have the mentioned visas above, you can drop by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office at 41F Tower 1 RCBC Plaza, Ayala Ave, Makati, 1200 Metro Manila.
Note that the application of visa is open only on weekdays 8:45am-11:45am and receiving the visa is from 1:45pm-4:45pm.
Here are the documents you need to prepare for application:
- Philippine PassportThe passport must have at least 6 months remaining validity. Any old passports can be submitted as well.
- Visa Application FormVisit their website for the online visa application form, fill out & do not leave any blanks, and print. Be sure to submit the application form and other documents within 15 days or else, you will need to get a new one.
- Passport PhotosHave your coloured photo (1.5″x2″) taken against a white background or just mention to the service person that it’s for Taiwan Visa. Photo must be taken within the last 3 months. Prepare two pieces to submit, sign the back of both photos, and paste one of them on the form. Put the other in clear plastic and attach to the form.
- NSO-provided Birth Certificate
- NSO-provided Marriage Certificate Obviously, this only applies to married applicants. Single applicants can ignore this.
- Certificate of Employment and Income Tax Return (ITR)Have your HR prepare your COE where your monthly salary, years of service in the company, position, and number of leaves are indicated.
- Financial StatementsAcquire a bank certificate from your bank that indicates the amount of your savings or photocopy your passbook pages. You may also request for bank statements.
- Visa FeeDon’t forget to pay the visa application fee of 2,150php.
*ALL submitted documents should be original. Prepare a photocopy version of each just in case. Other supporting documents such as stamps from previous travels, property titles, bank loans, or basically, anything that says you need to back here in the Philippines.
I had a foolish mistake of applying a visa at TECO even if I have expired visas from Korea and Japan. I wasn’t able to read the “within 10 years” guideline so I still prepared the needed documents, waited for an hour or two in the line, and later on realised I have a friend who was working in the office. I asked her if I prepared the right documents and only to find out, I need not to apply a visa. On a good note, I was able to save the 2,150php fee! And oh, my printer effed up and replaced the bar code of my application form with a red box instead. I was so scared because some guy, probably he’s from an agency, told me I have to reprint again since the bar code should be seen. The form, with red box or bar code, is still acceptable according to the consul. Whew! So, make sure to talk only to the right people.