Guam – The American Institute in Taiwan has announced that Taiwan is being nominated for inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
This is an announcement the people of Taiwan have been awaiting for a long time and it is principally a credit to the great economic, social, and political progress they have made over the years that Taiwan has now reached this day. The visa refusal rate for Taiwan applicants has dropped to only 1.9 percent over the last twelve months, and the percentage of Taiwan overstays in the United States is even lower.
The VWP nomination is the culmination of hard work and cooperation between the authorities in Taiwan and the United States. In the last year in particular, Taiwan had adopted important measures to strengthen its security and immigration systems in accordance with U.S. statutory requirements for membership of the Visa Waiver Program.
Taiwan’s candidacy is a significant step forward toward encouraging and facilitating more travel to the United States by Taiwan travelers, which also strongly serves U.S. interests.
There is still more work to be done, however. For all VWP candidates, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is required to conduct an extensive and detailed evaluation of Taiwan’s homeland security and immigration systems and other programs. There is no set timeline for completion of this review. Once the review is successfully concluded, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security notifies the U.S. Congress of the decision to admit Taiwan into the Visa Waiver Program. Until then, all Taiwan travelers to the United States will still need to obtain visas.
The U.S. Visa Waiver Program currently enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (“B” visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established to eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulate tourism in the United States, and permit the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas.