Thailand Backtracking as Pressure Mounted over New Visa Requirement for Taiwanese

Thailand, Taiwan, visa, e-visa

(Source: Bangkok Post)

A new requirement asking Taiwanese citizens to show financial statements and credential before heading to Thailand has finally been postponed until March 2020 to give “time” for Thai authorities to rethink the rules.

It did not really matter for Thai authorities that the number of Taiwanese travellers grew for the first 10 months of 2019 by 14.7% to reach over 660,000 arrivals to the Kingdom in comparison to 576,000 for the same period of last year.

A new visa red tape was announced last month by the representative office of Thailand in Taipei (equivalent de-facto to an Embassy), which said that with the launch of an e-visa application and e-payment system, holders of Republic of China (Taiwan) passports would be required to apply for a visa online and schedule an appointment to submit their passports in person at the office.

More humiliating in Taiwan eyes was the need to provide bank statements covering the previous three months as proof that travellers had sufficient funds for their travel expenses while in the Kingdom. Such a measure is generally requested from travellers coming from less affluent countries. Until now, requirements for a pre-approved e-VOA are the following:

  • The passport must be valid for at least 30 days from the date of arrival and have at least 1 page available for Visa Stamp.
  •  A confirmed air ticket must show a round trip for no longer than 15 days
  •  The accommodation address in Thailand should be verifiable
  • The traveller should have sufficient means of living to support his stay in Thailand (minimum 10,000 THB/person, 20,000 Baht/family).

Thailand step is also perceived as a sharp rebuff to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s “New Southbound Policy” which encourage to channel Taiwanese investments and businesses out of China toward Southeast Asia. The Taiwanese government expressed its concern about the new visa rules being imposed on its citizens travelling to Thailand while some travel agencies in Taiwan calling for a boycott of the destination, Thai immigration authorities finally had to turn back the clock and postpone the new requirements until March 1st, 2020.

According to the website of Thailand Trade and Economic Office, the postponement until next March will allow to review the rules but also providing more time for Taiwanese travellers to “prepare and to acquaint themselves with the new method.”