Taiwan is part of the Visa Waiver Program, which enables Taiwan citizens to travel to the United States without a visa. On January 12, 2009, ESTA (the Electronic System for Travel Authorization) became a requirement of the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA is an application system for all travelers from Visa Waiver Countries, including Taiwan. The Visa Waiver Program has simplified travel to the United States for millions of visitors by only requiring a machine readable passport. Visitors can apply for a Travel Authorization (ESTA) in advance. As always, a machine-readable or e-passport from a Visa Waiver country is still required to gain admittance into the country. The entire ESTA application process is conducted online and operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The Travel Authorization is not a visa. In fact, a person from a non-visa waiver country should not even attempt to apply for a Travel Authorization. The purpose of ESTA is to allow DHS to pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective countries. Taiwanese travelers are recommended to apply for the Travel Authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure. An approved Travel Authorization does not guarantee entry but is a prerequisite to travel to the United States by air or sea carrier.
Important Facts About ESTA:
- ESTA (U.S. Travel Authorization) is not a visa. It is a pre-authorization to board a U.S.-bound cruise ship or airplane.
- The purpose of ESTA is to let the U.S. government pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective countries.
- Citizens of one the 38 Visa Waiver Countries (including Taiwan) entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program should apply.
- It is recommended to apply for ESTA at least 72 hours prior to departure.
- If your ESTA Application is denied, you will be required to apply for a B-1 Visitor Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa.
- An approved ESTA Travel Authorization does not guarantee entry in to the United States.
Do citizens of Taiwan need to apply for ESTA?
- Yes, citizens of Taiwan need to apply for ESTA before entering the United States.
- All travelers that intends to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program via air or sea.
- Any traveler transiting through the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
- Children and infants who visit or transit to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
When should you apply for a United States Travel Authorization?
- Citizens from all of the Visa Waiver countries (including Taiwan) must apply and be approved after January 12, 2009.
- Travelers transiting through the United States must also possess an approved Travel Authorization.
- If your application for a Travel Authorization is denied, you must apply for a B-1 Visitor Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa which can take weeks or months.
About ESTA Applications:
Online application process
Application takes less than 15 minutes
Over 99% approval rate (source: DHS)
Mandatory starting on January 12, 2009
Valid for up to 2 years