Taiwan - Consular Information Sheet
March 30, 2001
DESCRIPTION: Taiwan is a stable democracy, and it has
a strong and well-developed economy. Tourist facilities are widely
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. Travelers
can obtain a visa prior to arrival in Taiwan at a Taipei Economic
and Cultural Office (TECO) in the U.S. (maximum 60 day stay),
apply for a landing visa upon arrival (maximum 30 day stay), or
apply for entry under the Visa Waiver Program (14 day stay). Taiwan
previously required that U.S. visitors to Taiwan hold passports
valid for at least six months from the date of expected departure.
In some instances, this is no longer the case: Taiwan now considers
U.S. passports valid for return to the United States for six months
beyond the expiration date of the passport. If the passport contains
a Taiwan visa issued abroad, the traveler may be admitted for
up to sixty days even if the passport will expire during the period
of stay. If the traveler applies for a landing visa upon arrival,
he or she will be admitted for 30 days or up to the day the passport
expires, whichever comes first. A traveler who applies for entry
under the Visa Waiver Program must have a passport valid for six
months after the planned departure date.
PLEASE NOTE: No extension of stay or change of status
is allowed if the traveler enters on the Visa Waiver Program.
For specific information about entry requirements, travelers may
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO),
4201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016-2137, via
either its main telephone number,(202) 895-1800, or its visa section
telephone number,(202) 895-1814. The main fax number at TECRO
is (202) 363-0999, and the visa section fax number is (202) 895-0017.
There is also an Internet address: http://www.taipei.org/tecro.htm.
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.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
CRIME: Although Taiwan is considered a medium risk location
for crime, the overall violent crime rate in Taiwan remains relatively
low. Travelers should avoid business establishments such as massage
parlors, illegal "barbershops", and illegal "nightclubs"
because many of these establishments are run by criminals and
are located in high crime areas. In contrast to their counterparts,
legal barbershops prominently display the usual grooming services,
and illegal nightclubs have no advertisement and are publicized
by word of mouth only. 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 the past few years there have been several incidents of violence
committed by taxi drivers against female passengers traveling
alone. In the central and southern parts of Taiwan, incidents
of purse snatching by thieves on motorcycles have been reported.
Local police departments have foreign affairs sections that are
normally staffed by English-speaking officers. Police contact
numbers for the major cities in Taiwan are as follows: Taipei
(02)2556-6007, Kaohsiung (07) 215-4342, Tainan (06) 222-9704,
Taichung (04) 327-3875, Taitung (089) 322-034, ext. 2122, Pingtung
(08) 732-2156, ext. 2122. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport
should be reported immediately to the local police, and to the
American Institute in Taiwan, at Taipei or Kaohsiung. Useful information
on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling
abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, A
Safe Trip Abroad. It is available by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.
DUAL NATIONALITY AND COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE: Taiwan
law provides for compulsory military service. Men between the
ages of 18 and 45 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.
Affected individuals are urged to consult with the nearest office
of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the United
States before visiting Taiwan to determine whether they are subject
to the military service requirement.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Health facilities in Taiwan are fully
adequate for routine and emergency medical treatment. Physicians
are well trained and many have studied in the United States and
speak English. State of the art medical equipment is available
at many clinics and hospitals. Ambulances are available in Taiwan
but are not like those in the United States. There are no trained
Emergency Medical System Technicians accompanying the ambulance,
unless one lives within 2 kilometers of National Taiwan University
Hospital or Veterans General Hospital. For information on specific
clinics and hospitals, please refer to the
AIT web page at http://www.ait.org.tw.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: Doctors and hospitals in Taiwan expect
immediate cash payment for health services. The Department of
State strongly urges Americans 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. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom
cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental
coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the
United States. However, many travel agents and private companies
offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred
overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service, and that a medical
evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face
extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas
medical insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs, found
it life-saving. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas
healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses
that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage
for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the
event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State, Bureau
of Consular Affairs' brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau's home page and autofax service.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions 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 may access the
CDC home page on the Internet: http://www.cdc.gov/.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. 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 may not respect their 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 made impassable by mudslides after heavy rains. The information
below concerning Taiwan is provided for general reference only,
and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
For specific information concerning Taiwan's driver's permits,
vehicle inspection road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact
your nearest TECO office.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Civil Aviation Authority of Taiwan as Category
1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards
for oversight of Taiwan's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873,
the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone 1-618-229-4801.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and do 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
the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs
are strict, and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences
and fines. Taiwan law provides for the death penalty for some
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: 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 should tune their radios to FM 100.7. English
speakers experiencing a personal crisis in Taiwan can contact
the Community Services Center in Taipei at telephone (02) 2836-8134
or 2838-4947 to arrange counseling or to contact a support group.
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) at http://www.fema.gov/.
Additional information about currently active typhoons can be
obtained on the
University of Hawaii tropical storm page at http://www.solar.ifa.hawaii.edu/Tropical/tropical.html.
Weather Bureau of Taiwan also maintains a web site that provides
information about typhoons and earthquakes. Its Internet address
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children, international
parental child abduction, and international child support
enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's
issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION AND PASSPORTS: Unofficial relations with
the people of Taiwan are conducted through the American Institute
in Taiwan (AIT), whose offices are authorized by law to perform
American citizen services. U.S. citizens are encouraged to register
at AIT Taipei or AIT Kaohsiung, and to obtain updated information
on travel and security. Registration can be done on-line by visiting
the AIT web-site
at http://www.ait.org.tw. The American Institute in Taiwan does
not issue U.S. passports, but it accepts passport applications
and forwards them to the Passport Agency in Honolulu for processing.
Processing time takes three to four weeks. In an emergency, the
American Institute in Taiwan can issue a travel letter to permit
a U.S. citizen who has lost a passport to return to the United
States or to travel to Hong Kong where he or she may apply for
a passport at the U.S. Consulate General.
For assistance, U.S. citizen travelers may contact the American
Institute in Taiwan at No.7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road Section 3,
Taipei, Taiwan, telephone (886-2) 2709-2000; fax (886-2) 2709-0908;
or the American Institute in Taiwan branch office at No. 2 Chung
Cheng 3rd Road, 5th Floor, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, telephone (886-7)
238-7744; fax (886-7) 238-5237. AIT's
citizens services section can also be contacted by e-mail
at email@example.com. In case of emergencies after working
hours, the duty officer at the American Institute in Taiwan at
Taipei may be contacted at telephone (886-2) 2709-2013.