Entering Taiwan for a short-stay

Travelling to Taiwan
Updated 2023-05-14 13:10

Taiwan is a small island nation situated in East Asia, known for its bustling night markets, scenic mountain ranges, and rich cultural heritage. Over the past few years, the country has emerged as a safe and appealing travel destination for both domestic and international travelers. In this article, we will explore the current travel conditions in Taiwan, including entry requirements, transportation options, etc., to help you find your bearings. 

 Major airports in Taiwan

Taiwan's three major cities—Taipei in the north, the central city of Taichung, and the southern port city of Kaohsiung, all boast international airports receiving passengers traveling to Taiwan. For the majority of arrivals to the country, the point of entry is Taoyuan International Airport, located approximately 35 minutes by vehicle from Taipei.

The capital is also home to Taipei Songshan Airport, located in the city center. This airport mostly caters to short domestic flights throughout Taiwan, from the main island to the outlying islands such as Penghu, Matsu, and Kinmen, but also handles short-haul international flights to destinations in China and Japan.

Clearing customs in Taiwan

Arrivals to all major airports in Taiwan are reminded of local laws pertaining to matters such as the import of illegal or prohibited items, such as fruits, vegetables, meat products, and narcotics. This usually comes in the form of a succinct video message played just prior to landing, regardless of airline.

When it comes to meat products, generally speaking, all imports of products made from land animals are banned, in line with Taiwan's policy of keeping out diseases such as African Swine Fever. Arriving passengers found to be carrying such products, who fail to declare them to customs, can face heavy fines, ranging from NT$ 10,000 all the way up to NT$ 1,000,000. If a passenger is found to have imported pork products from any ASF-infected area, the fine is NT$ 200,000 and is strictly enforced.


Currency in excess of NT$ 60,000 must also be declared to customs officials on arrival.

It is also worth noting that Taiwan takes a hard stance when it comes to illegal narcotics. Traffickers face long jail sentences and harsh punishments, up to and including lifetime imprisonment or the death penalty, for attempting to import illegal drugs. This includes marijuana and other cannabis derivates, which are listed as a Class 2 narcotic in Taiwan, in the same league as drugs such as amphetamine.

Visa information for Taiwan

As of March 2023, residents of nearly 70 countries are eligible for visa-free entry to Taiwan, with stays ranging from 14 to 90 days, depending on one's country of citizenship. For a full list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa for Taiwan, please consult Taiwan's Bureau of Consular Affairs official website.

All travelers to Taiwan who enter the country and obtain a landing visa on arrival must show proof of onward travel in the form of a valid onward air ticket to another destination or a return ticket. If one is from a nation that is granted a 90-day stay upon arrival, one's passport must be valid for at least 90 days in order to obtain the landing visa.

Those who are granted a landing visa of 60 days or longer and whose visa does not bear a remark of “No extension will be granted,” is permitted to apply for an extension of the landing visa for a period that, at maximum, can be equal to the length of the original visa. These extensions can be applied and reapplied for up to and including a period of 180 days, or six months, has elapsed. Visa extension applications in Taiwan must be submitted to the National Immigration Agency (NIA) 15 days before the end of the authorized period of stay in Taiwan, which is to say 15 days before the current visa expires, and the applicant is required to submit supporting documents detailing their reason for continued stay in Taiwan. Accepted reasons include visiting relatives, studying Mandarin Chinese, business matters, religious activities, attending training courses, and more.

A visitor visa in Taiwan can be converted into a resident visa or student visa should a visitor wish to stay in Taiwan for the purpose of employment or study. This must be done through the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and at the time of the application, one's current visa must be valid for a period of no less than eight days. Obtaining a work visa in Taiwan is also contingent on passing a health check with local health authorities performed at an authorized hospital. For a full list of required documents and specific information regarding acceptable reasons for the extension of a visitor visa, refer to the official website of the NIA.

Taiwan immigration details

While immigration at Taoyuan International Airport usually doesn't take long to get through, it is even faster if you are a legal resident in possession of an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) via employment or marriage to a Taiwanese citizen, holding a Taiwan Employment Gold Card, or being a permanent resident in possession of an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) in Taiwan.

Taiwan offers an e-gate immigration option for legal residents. To sign up for e-gate, you can apply at the National Immigration Agency when obtaining your Alien Resident Certificate, or you can apply at the airport. The application process only takes a few minutes and requires a photo scan and fingerprints.

E-Gate for Immigration

Once registered, you can breeze through the e-gate immigration lines when departing or arriving. To use the e-gate, you scan your ARC to open the first gate and then wait for facial recognition to confirm your identity. If it cannot recognize your face, it will ask you for fingerprints. You will not need to get a stamp on your passport when passing through immigration.

In the event that there is a problem with the e-gate, the airports always have staff ready to assist.

If you are in need of passport photos, the best option is to find a photo booth. Make sure you dress according to the requirements of your particular situation. The photo booths are inexpensive and fast. In Taipei, they are available at some MRT stations and the National Immigration Agency.

Getting to Taipei

If arriving at Taoyuan International, there are four main ways of getting from the airport to Taipei City. Several bus companies offer service from the airport to the city center (usually Taipei Main Station) or to Songshan Airport. It takes around one hour to reach central Taipei from the airport, and the price is quite moderate, at around NT$ 150 for a one-way ticket.

Quicker and more convenient is the Taipei MRT Airport Line, which offers both commuter and express services between Taipei City and Taoyuan International. Trains depart from terminals one and two every 15 minutes like clockwork between the hours of six a.m. and eleven p.m. and take about 35 minutes to reach Taipei Main Station. The cost of a ride is NT$ 160, only slightly more expensive than a bus ticket but nearly twice as fast.

Taxis are also in plentiful supply, with a steady line ready and waiting outside the arrival terminals at all times. During peak hours, there may be a line of arriving passengers waiting for taxis, but the wait rarely exceeds 15 minutes at the absolute maximum. The cost of a ride into Taipei City is preset rather than by the meter and ranges from NT$ 1,000 to NT$ 1,300, depending on the cab company. The trip usually takes approximately one hour, depending on traffic. Traffic may increase on national holidays or during instances of inclement weather, such as storms or typhoons, if one happens to be visiting during typhoon season (May to November).

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.