Taiwan Tourist Visa for Filipinos: My Experience

Back in April, I went to Taiwan with my partner for the very first time. And of course, being Filipino nationals, we were required by law to apply for a Taiwanese visa. And thanks to TinCo's blog, I got to apply and successfully secure our Taiwanese visa with ease! It might be daunting for someone who'll be applying for a visa for the very first time (ehem, yes me!), but it's not something that should deter you from shooting for your travel goals.

As of May 2017: It has been announced by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines that the visa-free entry for Filipinos has been postponed to September 2017 or at other appropriate date this year instead of June, as they are still completing relevant administrative procedures and inter-agency coordination.

As of April 2017: It has been confirmed by the TECO that the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has granted an exemption for Philippine travelers, thus allowing Filipinos to travel to Taiwan visa-free with a trial period of 1 year starting on June 1, 2017.

How to Apply for a Taiwan Tourist Visa for Filipinos

To be very honest, when the news about the visa exemption for Filipinos come June this year blew up back in April (when we were in Taiwan), I was surprised! If it were true, then I wish I would've waited for a few more months before traveling to Taiwan to enjoy the visa-free entry and save some money. But after thinking about it more logically, April was really the only time my partner and I could travel together. So in the end, it was okay. No regrets!

If there was one thing I regretted, it was not writing this blog any sooner! Upon reading the news, I thought, "In just a few months Filipino travelers can already visit Taiwan without applying for visa, so what's the point of blogging about my visa application experience?" But well, not only will this blog still be relevant for about 3 more months before September 2017, but this post will also serve as a digital memento of my very first visa application. So the me now says, it's worth writing about!

Ways to Apply for a Taiwanese Visa


For Philippine passport holders, there are basically 3 ways to apply for a Taiwanese visa. Of course, you can also course your visa application through a travel agency. But for this post, I'm only detailing what I know and my experience for do-it-yourself application.

  1. Appropriate visa stamped in passport
    This is the traditional method of application where you physically go to TECO in Makati to directly submit your application form and other required documents and pay for your application there. When your visa is successfully processed, it will be stamped in your passport.
  2. E-visa (Online Visa)
    On 1 year trial basis since October 7, 2016
    As the name implies, this method is online visa application. Accomplishing of the application form will be done entirely online. Payment is also done online via credit card (Visa or MasterCard) for TWD 1,632 (TWD 1,600 for E-visa fee, TWD 32 for online credit card fee). When your visa is successfully processed, it will be sent through email and will only need to be printed.
  3. Visa-Free Certificate (Travel Authorization Certificate)
    People who hold a valid resident card or a valid visa (electronic visa included), or a resident card/visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan issued by the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States, are eligible to apply for an ROC Travel Authorization Certificate. Application is online, and is free of charge.

For details of your preferred method of Taiwanese visa application, please check the official TECO website.

Accomplishing the Application Form


Among the 3 methods of Taiwanese visa application above, I went for option 1. So yes, I directly applied, submitted my requirements, and paid the visa-processing fee at TECO in Makati. But before I detail my own experience, let me share with you first the first step -- accomplishing the visa application form.

  1. First, check this link to know the requirements you need to submit for the type of visa you want to apply for. In my case, it's the "Appropriate visa stamped in passport".

    Choose your preferred mode of visa application
  2. If you're applying for tourist or business visa, go to this page and click on the "General Visa Applications" button.

    General Visa Applications
  3. You'll then be directed to an online application form which you must accomplish. Each page must be filled in within 30 minutes or it will time out. If you need more time, you can click "Save as Draft" and the details you inputted will be saved even after the page times out.
    Visa Application Form
  4. If you need help with accomplishing the form, check out TinCo's guide on her blog.
  5. Remember, application forms must be accomplished online then printed for submission. No hand-written application forms will be accepted.
  6. Upon accomplishment of the visa application form, you must submit it together with other requirements to TECO in Makati within 30 days. If you submit past the 30-day limit, your form will not be valid and you'll have to accomplish another visa application form.

Requirements


Now that you're already equipped on how to accomplish the visa application form, let's look at the requirements in more detail.

Tourist Visa Requirements:
  1. Accomplished and printed online visa application form
    Please see how to accomplish your visa application form above.
  2. Two passport size photos 1.5”x2” with white background (taken w/in the last 3 months)
    When having your picture taken, just tell the photo studio that it's for Taiwanese visa. You also have to sign the back of both passport size photos, then paste one of them on the form. The other passport size photo must be placed in a clear plastic bag then attached on the form.
  3. Passport valid for at least 6 months and old passports showing previous travels
    If you have other valid or expired visas (electronic visa included), you may also bring them.
  4. Birth Certificate issued by NSO
  5. Marriage Contract issued by NSO (if female applicant is married)
  6. Certificate of Employment
  7. Financial Statements
    Bank book, bank statement or bank certificate
  8. Other Supporting Documents
    Although not stated on the TECO website, it also helps to submit a copy of your confirmed round-trip air ticket, hotel or accommodations booking, planned itinerary, and if you want, your Income Tax Return (ITR).
  9. Make sure to bring the original plus a photocopy of all (except for 1 and 2) the documents you're submitting.
  10. Fees & Processing
    Taiwanese Visa Fees
    Processing Time: 3 working days | Expedite Processing: 1 working day
    Filing Time: Mondays to Fridays 8:45 to 11:45 AM
    Releasing Time: Mondays to Fridays 1:45 to 4:45 PM
    Note that TECO reserves the right to withhold the reason for the disapproval of any visa application. And in case visa applications were declined after review, the fees charged are not refundable.

Requirements: My Experience


Detailed above is the requirements based from the official website, along with some of the things that I've personally submitted as added assurance. But to get more in depth, let me share just some of the things related to the requirements I submitted.

  1. The application form, passport size photos, NSO birth certificate and valid passport are all very straight-forward.
  2. For the old passport, it wasn't checked and immediately returned to me after I submitted all my documents.
  3. Our Certificate of Employment (both mine and my partner's) only had our position and start of employment in it, no salary included.
  4. For financial statement, we each submitted a Bank Certificate (issued by our respective banks) showing no less than Php 80k each. We both didn't submit an ITR since we both don't have one yet.
  5. We also submitted our confirmed round-trip plane ticket booking and hotel booking just so we have additional proof that we'll be staying in Taiwan for only that period of time.
  6. Only I went to TECO to submit both our application forms and other documents. Both of us got our approved visas after 3 days. again only I went to TECO to claim. All the original documents (except for the application form and passport size photos) were also returned.

Submission of Requirements


Now that you've already completed all the requirements, it's time to finally submit them! TECO is located at the RCBC Plaza, 41st floor of Tower 1. It's better if you can enter the RCBC Plaza through the Buendia side entrance. Just a short walk in and you can see the Tower 1 entrance on your right.

Remember, submission of forms and documents is only from 8:45 to 11:45 AM, Mondays to Fridays.

RCBC Plaza
TECO Tower 1 RCBC Plaza

Upon entry to RCBC's Tower 1, you'll easily spot the TECO Reception. From there, you'll have to log in and leave one valid ID among their list of accepted IDs. They'll then give you a queue number and a gate pass. If you don't have an ID to leave at the TECO Reception, you can give a P500 bill which will be returned to you when you give back the gate pass.

TECO Reception at Tower 1 RCBC Plaza
Queue numbr and gate pass from TECO

Although I arrived at TECO at 11AM, I didn't have a problem waiting for my queue number to be called. I think I only had to wait a total of 30 to 40 minutes for the whole process of waiting for submission, submission of requirements, and payment. It's a lot faster than waiting to be called in some banks. (;´∀`)

TECO
There are 4 windows for visa requirement submission, 1 window for information and 1 window as cashier. Very efficient!

Claiming of Passport & Visa


Have you submitted a properly accomplished application form and complete list of documents, then you're surely on your way to get your approved visa!

For claiming (3 days after for regular processing, next day for expedite processing), you basically follow the first few steps similar to submission -- you log in and leave a valid ID (or cash deposit) at the TECO Reception, get a queue number and gate pass, go up the 41st floor at TECO, wait for your turn to be called, and claim your documents.

Note that claiming of documents is only from 1:45 to 4:45 PM, Mondays to Fridays.

Taiwan Visa Application Receipt

The person who submitted the documents doesn't have to be the person who'll claim. When claiming, all you need to do is present the receipt (as pictured above) when your number is called. Anyone who has the receipt can claim. No need for authorization letter or copy of applicant's ID.

As for my experience, again I claimed the documents both for myself and for my partner's. I think I arrived about 3:15 PM already, but I didn't have to wait for my queue number anymore as I was called immediately after getting to the 41st floor.

I won't lie! I was seriously nervous since I've already paid for my air tickets plus the visa processing fee. I would be distraught if my visa application were to be rejected... Then, I finally opened our passports...

Taiwanese Visa for Filipinos
YAAAY!!! My very first visa application = SUCCESS!!!

A Taiwan Tourist Visa is valid for 90 days upon issue date, with length of stay of 30 days for single entry.

I'm not sure if this post will still be helpful to anyone when TECO finally announces Filipino travelers to Taiwan will be visa-free. But in any case, I just wanted to share my experience as this is special for me. It's my very first visa application, if I haven't repeated that enough times yet! (۶* ‘ꆚ’)۶”

Anyhow, props to TECO for being very efficient! I still can't believe the whole process went fast and so smoothly. Whether traveling to Taiwan will be visa-free in the future or not, I'm already looking forward engaging with TECO again in the near future! O(≧∇≦)O

And also, stay tuned! I'll be posting travel logs of my Taiwan trip very soon! ☜(⌒▽⌒)☞

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