Taiwan continues to adjust restrictions on international travelers amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as of Dec. 4. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has exempted some groups from required pre-departure testing since Dec. 2. Taiwan citizens and foreigners - including Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China - with Alien Resident Certificates (ARC) who cannot obtain a test in those locations are exempt from the rule. The CECC will also grant exceptions for short-term travelers departing and returning to Taiwan within three days, children under six years old, and passengers with old test results due to flight cancellations or delays. Authorities will also grant an exception in emergency situations, but these passengers must pay for a COVID-19 test upon arrival. All travelers seeking exemptions to pre-departure testing must provide supporting documents or face penalties.
The government continues to allow essential, short-term business travel for specific activities for residents from countries on the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC)'s low- and medium-risk location list. Travelers must remain in their home location for two weeks before departure and provide documentation from a local entity detailing the reason for the trip, a full travel itinerary, a disease prevention plan, and the results of a COVID-19 test to apply for reduced quarantine. The CECC has removed Hong Kong from its medium-risk country list due to COVID-19 activity in the territory. As of Dec. 4, the CECC classifies Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Fiji, Laos, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam as low-risk and Australia as medium-risk. Business travelers arriving from low-risk areas must quarantine for five days at government-designated facilities, while those traveling from medium-risk destinations must quarantine for seven days. All travelers must undergo a COVID-19 test at their own expense before their release from quarantine.
Authorities have banned migrant workers from Indonesia through at least Dec. 17 due to the prevalence of cases from the group in recent weeks. Officials already require most migrant workers from Indonesia to undergo two-week quarantine at government facilities. Indonesian travelers with entry visas are exempt from the rule.
Inbound travel for tourism and social reasons remains banned; however, the following exceptions to the entry ban and quarantine requirements are in effect:
Officials allow mainland Chinese spouses of Taiwan citizens and resident foreign nationals to enter the island, provided they hold reunion permits. Underage children of these travelers can also enter Taiwan. Authorities already allow children under six years old from mainland China with residence permits to enter Taiwan with one parent, provided they can complete the 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
The Ministry of Education allows entry for all primary and secondary international students, including mainland China. Entry for foreign university students remains restricted to attendees from low- and medium-risk countries, excluding mainland China.
The government is allowing international travelers to apply for entry to Taiwan for essential medical care. Applicants must apply at their local Taiwan diplomatic mission and present evidence of adequate health insurance, an affidavit for mandatory quarantine of 14 days, a health declaration, and a disease prevention plan from the treating facility.
Residents from Hong Kong and Macau can apply for entry for humanitarian and emergency reasons, to fulfill contractual agreements, or as part of a transfer within multinationals.
Officials permit foreign nationals possessing Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs), as well as Hong Kong and Macau citizens with residence permits, to enter the island without a negative COVID-19 test.
Foreign nationals can apply to enter Taiwan for internships and training programs, conferences and trade shows, exchange programs, volunteering, missionary activities, and job searches, among others.
Officials will allow people in self-isolation or quarantine to apply to leave for up to two hours every other day for compassionate reasons, such as to attend or plan a relative's funeral or visit a severely ill relative. The option is only available if the returning traveler has been in isolation for at least five days, asymptomatic, and pays for a COVID-19 test before leaving isolation.
Officials require all inbound passengers, including Taiwan citizens and residents to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) COVID-19 test obtained within three business days before their departing flight. Health officials continue intensified screenings for arriving passengers, and all inbound travelers who had COVID-19 symptoms within the previous 14 days must undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival. Passengers testing negative must take another PCR test 24 hours later. Officials require these travelers to stay at a government quarantine facility until both results are available and see a physician before release to complete the remainder of the quarantine period. Passengers bound for Taiwan who do not accurately report their travel and medical history could face fines of up to NTD 150,000 (USD 5,000).
Most arrivals, except those from low- and medium-risk countries, must self-quarantine for 14 days. Authorities require some inbound travelers from Southeast Asian countries to undergo a 14-day quarantine at government-designated hotels; officials will direct arriving passengers living with people with chronic illnesses, children below six years old, or adults above 65 years old to the facilities. All travelers must pay for a COVID-19 test before their release from quarantine.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) allows people to transit; however, passengers must connect with the same airline through TPE and limit connections in Taiwan to eight hours. Officials have cleared China Airlines (CI), EVA Air (BR), and Cathay Pacific (CX) to operate transit flights, but connecting flights to or from mainland China remain banned. Taiwan is maintaining limits on flights to mainland China indefinitely. Under the measures, airlines are only allowed to fly to airports in Beijing (PEK), Shanghai (SHA, PVG), Xiamen (XMN), and Chengdu (CTU), though officials are reportedly planning to approve more cities in the coming weeks. China Airlines and EVA Air continue to cancel most flight services to mainland China. Taiwan is maintaining a ban on cruise ships.
Domestic RestrictionsThe CECC continues to mandate social distancing measures islandwide. Companies must ensure customers can maintain 1.5 meters (5 feet) of distance inside establishments, require patrons to wear facemasks when distancing is not possible, implement temperature checks, and participate in contact tracing efforts. The government is enforcing a facemask mandate at healthcare facilities, business and office locations, public transport, restaurants and bars, educational centers, sports and exhibition sites, entertainment venues, and religious spaces. People violating facemask regulations could face fines of NTD 3,000-15,000 (USD 105-525). Officials have installed thermal scanners at rail stations, airports, ports, post offices, and bus hubs. Staff will deny entry to any passenger with a fever. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications requires passengers at transport hubs, inter-city buses, and highway rest stops and customers at Chunghwa Post offices to wear facemasks. Enhanced screening measures could cause delays at transport hubs across the island, especially at airports in Taipei (TPE, TSA) and Kaohsiung (KHH) and main railway stations.
Postpone travel to Taiwan if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm entry requirements before traveling to Taiwan. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for health screenings when arriving in or traveling across Taiwan. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny, delays, and quarantine.
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.
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