DHS Adds Taiwan to Visa Waiver Program
As of November 1, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Taiwan for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said the move was “a major step forward in our long-standing economic partnership with Taiwan.”
Taiwan joins 36 participants in the VWP, which permits visa-free travel for eligible travelers visiting the United States for 90 days or fewer for business or tourism. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, the VWP accounted for 18.3 million visits to the United States, or more than 60 percent of tourists and business travelers entering the United States by air. In FY 2011, 243,186 visitors from Taiwan traveled to the United States.
In accordance with the VWP designation process, DHS determined that Taiwan complies with key security and information-sharing requirements, such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data-sharing with the United States; timely reporting of lost and stolen passports; and maintaining high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation, and document security standards.
As with other VWP travelers, eligible Taiwan passport holders who wish to participate in the program must apply for advance authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a DHS Web-based system. Eligible Taiwan passport-holders with an approved ESTA may visit the United States without visas.