Monday, October 24, 2011

Migration and Freedom 12: Visa-free entry in Asia

Next month, I will go to Taipei, Taiwan, to attend a conference on generic drugs in Asia. I have not been to Taiwan before, so I am excited to see this place.

In the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), citizens of the 10-member countries (Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia) can travel to other member-countries visa-free for visits of 30 days or less. I am not sure though if Myanmar gives the same privilege to all citizens of the other 9 countries.

Since Taiwan is not a member of the ASEAN, then I must get a visa even for short stay (just 4D/3N). I went to their embassy website to see the procedures in getting a visa.

I was very happy to see this:
Notice: Online for visa-free entry into the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Effective from 3:00 pm, March 15, 2011, passport holders of the Republic of the Philippines may apply for an authorization certificate online for visa-free entry into the Republic of China (Taiwan).

These photos are from

Yes! The notice gives this detail:

Passport holders of the following five (5)countries traveling to Taiwan are exempt from visa and can stay in Taiwan up to thirty (30) days provided that they have never worked in Taiwan as blue-collar workers before and are currently holding valid visas or permanent resident cards of U.S.A., Canada, Japan, U.K., EU Schengen, Australia and New Zealand.

1. Philippines(菲律賓) 2. India (印度) 3. Indonesia(印尼)
4. Thailand (泰國) 5. Vietnam(越南)

Since I have a 10-years multiple entry US visa (2010-2020), then I am qualified for online visa-free entry into Taiwan.

I have argued before that in really free societies, migration and visit to other countries should be free, meaning visa should be waived if not abolished, except for those with outstanding criminal cases, or have records of engaging in political violence in the past. For the latter group of people, then visa requirements should apply. This should be one incentive for people to abide by the laws of their own country as much as possible.

I hope that more countries in the future will relax their visa restrictions. Despite the threats of terrorism, only a very-very small portion of the world's population is engaged or be attracted to engage in terrorism, so why punish the majority who are law-abiding people through bureaucratic and costly visa application process? Sure, collections from visa application is one source of revenue for many governments. If that is their goal, then just slap a specific fee that should not be too high that will effectively act as restriction to people mobility.

See also:
Visa-free entry and people mobility, February 23, 2006. It's about the 145 countries whose citizens can enter the Philippines visa-free.
Pilipinas Forum 10: Migration and Singapore as a Social Contract, September 17, 2011
Migration and Freedom 6: Passport and People Mobility, November 30, 2010
Migration and Freedom 7: Restrictions to OFWs , April 13, 2011
Migration and Freedom 8: Denmark's immigration policy, May 17, 2011
Migration and Freedom 9: Immigration bureaucracy, July 19, 2011
Migration and Freedom 10: Multiculturalism and the Norway massacre, July 25, 2011
Migration and Freedom 11: Two migration theories, September 03, 2011

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