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UK Is Visa-Free For Taiwanese Passport Holders

First Taiwanese tourists enter the UK visa-free  Mar 04, 2009

The first group of Taiwanese tourists to travel visa-free to the UK completed immigration procedures and entered the nation smoothly on Tuesday, a process that the government hopes will soon be introduced by other European nations.

The 28-member tour group, organized by Taipei-based Lion Travel, was the first to take advantage of the British offer of visa-free treatment for Taiwanese passport holders for stays of up to six months, effective from Tuesday.

Lin Kuang-hua, a staff member at Taiwan’s representative office in London, went to Heathrow Airport to help the group clear immigration and customs.

Pan Cheng-yi, the group’s leader, said that as the members of the group had prepared all the necessary documentation, including passports, round-trip flight tickets and lodging information, before their departure from Taipei, the whole process went very smoothly.

Since the British government announced on Feb. 9 it would include Taiwan in its visa-waiver program, Lion Travel has received many inquiries about its UK packages, Pan said.

He said the visa-waiver program is expected to bring new business opportunities to the Taiwanese travel industry because Britain has now become more attractive to prospective visitors.

Besides saving NT$4,000 in visa fees, visitors are also spared the tedious visa application procedure, Pan said, adding that the visa exemption has also given Taiwanese tourists a feeling of “being respected.”

“We are hopeful that more countries will follow suit, or at least grant landing visas to Taiwanese passport holders,” Pan said.

Chang Siao-yue, Taiwan’s representative to the UK, sent Lin to the airport to render assistance to the tourists.

In addition to setting up an emergency response center, the representative office also sent samples of Taiwanese passports to the British immigration agency for their reference before the launch of the new program.

Taiwanese tourists, businessmen and students can dial 07768-938765 if they need emergency assistance from the representative office in London while they are in the UK, Chang said.

First Taiwanese tourists enter the UK visa-free
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