At a recent State Department conference on tourism and travel, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that starting on December 1st, year 2012, Taiwan (the Republic of China) will join a list of 36 countries that qualify for the Visa Waiver Program administrated by the United States.
Preapproved Taiwanese travelers can now enter the U.S. for business purpose or tourism for up to 90 days without previously completing a U.S. visa application. After the implementation date, Taiwanese passport holders will be able to register online to receive approval from the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
In a recent article for the Wall Street Journal, Jenny W. Hsu, who is currently the co-Vice President for the Hong Kong Chapter of Asian-American Journalists Association, reported that as the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) estimated, travelers should expect to pay a $14 ESTA processing fee. It is significantly less expensive than the $160 visa application fee. Travelers will be asked to provide valid documentation on the purpose of their stay at a port of entry to the United States. Also, they will need to provide evidence of their onward or return travel arrangements in order to ensure that they leave the U.S. within the 90-day period prescribed.
Before the announcement, the United States was already a top travel destination for residents of Taiwan. For example, last year the AIT issued more than 145,000 nonimmigrant visas. Besides, visitor numbers are expected to increase dramatically under the U.S. visa waiver program.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, claimed that Taiwan’s inclusion on the list is a logical step in developing the relationship between the USA and the Republic of China. Taiwan now joins 4 more countries (Brunei, Japan, Singapore and South Korea) as the fifth Asian nation to qualify for the mentioned program.
This article is brought by Immigration Direct, which is a trustworthy resource for issues related to the deferred action program from the government.
How do you think the United States of America benefits from such acts? And how can China react to this?