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Travel Security Advice for Taiwan

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REMINDER:

The Department of State provides information to assist travelers in better understanding foreign locations they may visit and the known risks that they should consider. Travelers traveling to Taiwan are encouraged to inform themselves about Taiwan prior to commencement of travel. It is the traveler’s responsibility to obtain a U.S. passport from the Department of State and the appropriate visas from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington, D.C., or the nearest office of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO). When making reservations, travelers should discuss cancellation policies with their travel agent, travel insurer or airline, as scheduled trips abroad may be nonrefundable. The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation; Medicare does not cover medical expenses abroad.

DESCRIPTION:

Taiwan is a stable democracy with a strong and well-developed economy. Tourist facilities are widely available. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Taiwan for additional information.



REGISTRATION WITH THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE IN TAIWAN/LOCATION:

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is authorized by law to perform American citizen services. U.S. citizens living or traveling in Taiwan are encouraged to register with AIT through the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Taiwan. U.S. citizens resident in Taiwan are encouraged also to become a member of AIT's group email notifications by sending an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with AIT Taipei or AIT Kaohsiung. By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the American Institute to contact them in case of emergency. The American Institute in Taiwan is a full passport services agency. Processing time for routine passports is about two weeks.

The American Institute in Taiwan is located at No.7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan, telephone: (886) 2-2162-2000; fax: (886) 2-2162-2239, web site: http://www.ait.org.tw/. The American Institute in Taiwan branch office is located at No. 2 Chung Cheng 3rd Road, 5th Floor, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, telephone: (886) 7-238-7744; fax: (886) 7-238-5237. AIT's citizen services section can also be contacted by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . In case of emergencies after working hours, the duty officer at the American Institute in Taiwan at Taipei may be contacted at (886) 2-2162-2000.



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

U.S. passport holders will be allowed to enter Taiwan without a visa for up to thirty days (no extensions allowed) if they have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Taiwan and have a confirmed return or onward air ticket. Travelers must have already met any additional visa requirements for the next destination, if applicable. If the passport is valid for less than six months from the date of entry into Taiwan, travelers may apply for a landing visa that has a duration of stay of no more than thirty days. The processing fee is NT $5123 (currently equivalent to approximately US $155.00; U.S. currency is not accepted), and no extensions are allowed. Travelers also have the additional option of applying for and receiving a Taiwan visa prior to arrival in Taiwan. The processing fee is US $131.00.

Please Note: No extension of stay or change of status is allowed if the traveler enters on the visa
waiver program (30 day stay, no extensions). Travelers arriving in Taiwan with a valid passport and valid Taiwan visas may be admitted for up to 90 days even if their passports are valid for less than 6 months. Travelers who apply for a landing visa upon arrival will be admitted for 30 days or up to the day the passport expires, whichever comes first. For specific information about entry requirements, travelers may contact the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), 4201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016-2137, via either its main telephone number, (202) 895-1800, or its Consular Division telephone number, (202) 895-1814. The main fax number at TECRO is (202) 363-0999, and the Consular Division fax number is (202) 895-0017. TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office) also has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

HIV/AIDS restrictions: Taiwan does not ask short-term visitors about the visitors’ HIV status if the visitors apply for landing visas or enter in visa-exempt status (stay of less than 30 days) or apply for a visitor visa (stay of less than 2 months). Most U.S. citizens visiting Taiwan are visa exempt because they plan to stay less than 30 days, not work, and have longer than six months validity remaining on their passports.

People applying for resident visas – usually those who plan to work or join family – must have a health certificate. If the health certificate indicates that the visa applicant is HIV positive, the applicant will not receive a visa even though Taiwan visa law does not mention HIV. Similarly Taiwan authorities are likely to require people who test positive for HIV to leave Taiwan at their own expense, even though Taiwan law does not require authorities to deport people who are HIV positive.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.



THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website

Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

Public Demonstrations: Taiwan is a modern democracy with vibrant public participation. Political demonstrations are common, especially around election time. Since Taiwan democratized in the early 1990s, there have been very few cases of violence associated with political demonstrations. But even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. U.S. citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any political demonstrations. The American Citizen Services Section of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) will post notices regarding demonstrations in Taiwan on the AIT website, whenever it receives reliable information about them. In most cases, AIT will not send out a warden message when it has information on a planned demonstration.



CRIME:

Although the overall violent crime rate in Taiwan is low, travelers should avoid high crime areas, such as areas where massage parlors, barbershops, and nightclubs operate as covers for prostitution activities and are often run by criminals. In contrast to these illegal fronts, ordinary barbershops and other legal service providers prominently display the usual services and the interiors can be seen through storefront windows. Illicit establishments generally do not advertize and casual passersby cannot view their interiors. Several U.S. citizens have been assaulted in these and other areas near bar and nightclub districts. Public transportation, including the buses and the subway, is generally safe in Taiwan, but women should exercise caution when traveling alone in taxis late at night. In several parts of Taiwan, incidents of purse snatching by thieves on motorcycles have been reported. Visitors should keep photocopies of their passport, other identification, and credit cards in a safe place.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. More information on this serious problem is available at the Department of Justice's website.

The 24-hour emergency telephone number for Taiwan services (ambulance and fire) is 119. The number for police is 110. A 24-hour telephone number for general information is 0800-024-111. English speaking operators are available on all lines.



VICTIMS OF CRIME:

If you are the victim of a crime, you should contact the local police and AIT Taipei or AIT Kaohsiung (see LOCATION at the beginning of this sheet). This includes the loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport which should also be reported immediately to the National Immigration Agency. The National Immigration Agency has foreign affairs sections that are usually staffed by English-speaking officers. National Immigration Agency contact numbers for the major cities in Taiwan are as follows: Taipei (02) 2389-9983, Kaohsiung (07) 282-1400, Tainan (06) 293-7641, Taichung (04) 2254-9981, Taitung (089) 342-251, Pingtung (08) 721-6665.

AIT’s consular staff can help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds can be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help explain the local criminal justice process and assist with finding an attorney if needed.

See our information on Victims of Crime including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.



CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While outside the United States, a U.S. citizen is subject to local laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Taiwan’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Taiwan are severe and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign state is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

In Taiwan, either side has the right to appeal a court decision. If a defendant is initially acquitted, prosecutors (or plaintiffs in a civil suit) can appeal the verdict, necessitating a second or even a third trial. U.S. citizens contemplating visiting or residing in Taiwan should note that judges have discretionary authority to impose travel restrictions on defendants in civil and criminal cases to prevent them from leaving Taiwan until all appeals have been exhausted. U.S. citizens have been barred from leaving Taiwan for extended periods, even in cases that involved only nominal civil damages or fines.



SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:


Health Screening Process: The need for early detection and prevention of communicable diseases requires all arriving passengers to have their body temperatures scanned with an infrared thermal apparatus. Only passengers showing symptoms are required to fill out the Communicable Disease Survey Form. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and travel history, those individuals reported with possible symptoms are required to give an onsite specimen and/or follow up with local health authorities.

Customs Regulations: Taiwan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of items such as: firearms, antiquities, medications, currency, ivory, etc. It is advisable to contact the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECRO) in Washington or one of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) offices in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our information on customs regulations.

Disaster Preparedness: Taiwan is subject to strong earthquakes that can occur anywhere on the island. Taiwan is also hit by typhoons, usually from July to October. Travelers planning a trip to Taiwan can obtain general information about natural disaster preparedness on the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website. Additional information about currently active typhoons can be obtained on the University of Hawaii tropical storm page. The Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan's website also provides information about typhoons and earthquakes.

Dual Nationality and Compulsory Military Service: Taiwan law provides for compulsory military service. Men between the ages of 18 and 36 who were born in Taiwan or who have ever held a Taiwan passport should be aware that they may be subject to compulsory military service in Taiwan, even if they are also U.S. citizens, and even if they have entered Taiwan on U.S. passports. Potentially affected individuals are urged to consult with the nearest TECO office in the United States before visiting Taiwan to determine whether they are subject to the military service requirement.

English Language Programming: The International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) provides all of Taiwan with English-language programming 24 hours a day. In the event of an emergency or an approaching typhoon, travelers in the Taipei and Kaohsiung areas should tune their radios to FM 100.7 for English-language updates. Travelers can find ICRT in Taichung at FM 100.1. Travelers can listen to ICRT's live broadcasting on its website. TV news in English is available on channel 53 at 6:00 a.m. and at 11:45 pm on Formosa Television, or at its web site. The three main English-language daily newspapers published in Taiwan are Taipei Times, Taiwan News and China Post. In addition to the print versions, readers can read their content online. English speakers experiencing a personal crisis in Taiwan can contact on its website the Community Services Center in Taipei or at (02) 2836-8134 or (02) 2838-4947 to arrange counseling or to contact a support group.

Taiwan offers a 24-hour emergency telephone line for foreigners in English: 0800-024-111.

Judicial Assistance: Judicial assistance is provided by authorities on Taiwan in response to letters rogatory from foreign courts in accordance with Taiwan's "Law Governing Extension of Assistance to Foreign Courts." For further information regarding judicial assistance in Taiwan please go to AIT's website.

AUTHORITY - 22 U.S.C. 3306(b) provides acts performed by officers of the American Institute on Taiwan under 22 U.S.C. 3306 are valid, as if performed by any other person authorized under the laws of the United States to perform such acts (consular officers). The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the District of Colombia. 22 U.S.C. 3305, 3306(a)(3). The judicial assistance acts of AIT personnel parallel the acts performed by U.S. consular officers under 28 U.S.C. 1781 (a)(2). See Sec. 1-201(h) of Executive Order No. 12143, 44 Fed. Reg. 37191 (June 23, 1979). Pursuant to Section 10(a) of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), 22 U.S.C. 3309(a), the Taiwan Economic Cultural Representative's Office ("TECRO") is the instrumentality established by the people of Taiwan having the necessary authority under the laws of Taiwan to take actions on behalf of Taiwan in accordance with the Act.



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Health facilities in Taiwan are adequate for routine and emergency medical treatment. Physicians are well trained and many have studied in the U.S. and speak English. State of the art medical equipment is available at many clinics and hospitals. Hospitals’ nursing services provide medication dispensing and wound care, but generally not the daily patient maintenance functions found in U.S. hospitals. Taiwan regulations require ambulances to have emergency equipment and supplies and to be staffed by trained medical personnel (dial 119). For information on specific clinics and hospitals, please refer to AIT's website.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC’s website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site. See also further health information for travelers on the WHO's website.



MEDICAL INSURANCE:

Doctors and hospitals in Taiwan expect immediate cash payment for health services, although some private clinics may accept credit cards. The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.



TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While outside the United States, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Taiwan is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. Roads in Taiwan's major cities are generally congested, and the many scooters and motorcycles that weave in and out of traffic make driving conditions worse.
Pedestrians should exercise caution when crossing streets because many drivers do not respect the pedestrian's right of way. Special caution should be taken when driving on mountain roads, which are typically narrow, winding, and poorly banked, and which may be impassable after heavy rains.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

For general information on tourism in Taiwan information may be found at the Taiwan Tourism Bureau - Ministry of Transportation and Communication's website.

For specific information concerning Taiwan's driver's permits, vehicle inspection road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the nearest TECO office.

The emergency telephone number for Taiwan services (ambulance, fire, police) is 119. The number for police is 110. Taiwan Police also offers a 24 hour telephone line for foreigners in English: 0800-024-111.



AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Taiwan's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet website.



CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

For information see our Office of Children's Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September 21, 2009 to add information about posting Demonstration Notices on the AIT website, to reorganize sections, and to embed links.


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Taiwan HERE......

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)............

Regards

The SW Team........

 

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