Seven steps to getting your Taiwan Tourist Visa

(NOTE: This was originally posted on my travel blog, but I figured I might as well post it here also)

It’s official — I am going to Taipei in two weeks! I am so excited just thinking that I’ll be seeing Taipei in two weeks time.

Honestly, I really had a hard time researching for tips on getting a visa for Taiwan. Unlike other countries like South Korea and Japan, there aren’t a lot of blogs or forums discussing guidelines for a hassle-free, nervous breakdown-free application for Taiwan visa. As a way of giving back and in recognition of the blogs and forums (at PEx) who shared how to go about the visa application process, I am posting what I did when I applied for a tourist visa last Monday. (NOTE that I am writing this on a Thursday, hence it only took me three days to know my fate).

Step 1: Complete all necessary documents. I wrote about the documentary requirements here, but here is an excerpt:

1. An online Visa Application Form – please note that as of April 2012, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) of Manila no longer accepts handwritten application forms. Please access the system-generated forms at Fill up the forms and print it on A4 paper after. Please avoid leaving spaces blank, for questions that does not apply to you, write N/A.
2. Two (2) passport size photos 1.5”x2” with white background – should be taken within the last three months.
3. Passport valid for at least six months and old passport showing previous travels (if any)
4. Birth Certificate issued by NSO
5. Marriage Contract (if applicable) issued by NSO
6. Supporting documents related to the purpose of VISIT such as :
A. Confirmed round trip Air ticket or Booking Certificate
B. Certificate of Employment and Letter of permission to leave from the employer
C. Financial statements of the applicant such as:
(1) Income Tax Return (ITR)
(2) Bank Book or Bank Statements – I got my bank certificate at BPI for less than an hour. To apply for a bank
certificate, just approach the teller and she will give you a form that you need to accomplish. You have to pay
PHP100 for a copy of the certificate.

These are the exact documents that I prepared during the course prior to submitting my application last Monday. Make sure that you have completed all these documents. Prepare a photo copy. I read somewhere that having complete authentic documents is winning half the battle. I highlighted authentic to emphasize and plea that if for some reason some of these documents are hard to procure, please resist the urge to submit a fake or tampered one. Please save yourself and your kababayans the embarrassment that may arise out of a doctored-Employment Certificate.

For the Online Visa Application form, take note of your application number. If for some reason you made a mistake, don’t be afraid to start again. I made a mistake twice, first was when I entered the wrong return date (TPE-MNL) and the second one was when I forgot to tick the “married” box. What I did was to start all over again and just disregard my previous application. I got a new application number and printed the correct form. Whatever you do, resist the urge to write on your printed form.

Step 2: Affix your passport-sized photo on the printed form using a glue. Since you will need two copies of the photo, you may attach the other one using a paper clip.

Step 3: When all of these are complete, head to the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) located at the 41st floor of the RCBC Plaza in Ayala, Makati (in front of Makati Medical Center). This is the tower nearest the museum. Surrender a valid government issued ID at the reception desk (they do not accept company IDs) and they will give you a slip of paper indicating your number then ask you to go up the 41st floor.

Step 4: Wait for your number to be called. Service is fast but this depends on the number of people present. Note that there are a lot of agencies rep there applying for tourist or OFW visas so service may be fast or slow, depending on this. When your number is called, approach the counter and submit your completed documents. And if your documents are complete, I can assure you that transaction is as fast as paying your electricity bill. We were in front of the counter for 10 minutes tops. The consul may or may not interview you, depending on the purpose of your travel. In our case, we were not interviewed. The consuls can speak Tagalog so they can definitely understand your answers should they have any questions for you.

Step 6: Then, you will be asked to wait for a few minutes until the cashier calls your name. You may now pay for your visa. A single entry tourist visa costs PHP2,100. This is non-refundable, so in case you don’t get a visa — you will not get your money back. After paying, the cashier will issue your receipt showing the date when you can claim your passport:

receipt which you need to present when you are about to claim your passport
receipt which you need to present when you are about to claim your passport

Step 7: Go back on the date indicated in the receipt, and repeat the process: leave a government-issued ID at the reception, get a number and wait for it to be called during the passport release.

Here it is! The key to seeing Ying De University in the flesh:

I need to fix my rooooots!
I need to fix my rooooots!

Note that passport application is every morning: 9:45 to 11:45 while passport releasing is done every afternoon, 2PM to 4PM.

Honestly, the process is easy and very simple. I guess the only hard part during visa issuance is completing the documents, but as soon as you went past that – it’s very easy and manageable. If you have spare time, why don’t you do it yourself? No need to hire a travel agency and pay extra bucks for a service you can do yourself.

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