How to: Apply for a Tourist Visa to Taiwan for Philippine Passport Holders

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Philippine passport holders can still go visa-free to Taiwan for 14 days until July 31, 2019, an initiative trial period to boost Taiwan's tourism. The lifting of visa requirement has been running November 1, 2017. For more information, visit TECO's website

NOTE: The article below was written prior to the announcement of the visa-free initiative trial period. I decided to keep this blog entry so that once the trial period expires, I'd still be able to provide information regarding Taiwan visa requirements and processes.

Philippine passport holders are required to get a visa to enter Taiwan but getting it is easy. As long as you present complete and correct requirements, you're good to go. Let me share my experiences on how I got one. 

Before I begin, note that this is for a TOURIST VISA ONLY. For other types of visa (working visa, resident visa, etc.), it's best to visit Taipei Economic Cultural Office (TECO)’s website for complete information.

WHEN TO APPLY THE TOURIST VISA?


Philippine passport holders may be granted with 14 days stay in Taiwan as tourist. The validity of the visa is 90 days. With this, it is best to apply one to two months before the date of travel. In my case, for example, my fly date is on July 9 and I decided to apply for a tourist visa on May 4.

HOW TO APPLY THE TOURIST VISA? 

Personal appearance is required at TECO office located at 41st floor Tower 1 RCBC Plaza Makati. Filing time is from Monday to Friday, 8:45AM to 11:45AM.

Step 1: Complete your requirements

· Philippine passport that is valid for at least six (6) months
· Completely filled up application form
· Two (2) passport size colored picture with white background taken during the last three (3) months. Note: No need to sign at the back.
· NSO birth certificate issued within the year: Attach the original and one (1) photocopy. The original will be returned after visa application
· Printed flight itinerary receipt: Black and white printout is acceptable. Since visa application is always subject to approval, you may do an airline reservation only to make it refundable. But in my case, I took the risk of booking non-refundable two-way tickets to take advantage of the air fare promo. It’s not something that I can recommend to everyone but of course I consider it as a smart way to score cheap tickets.
· Certificate of Employment (COE): These are issued depending on your company. There is no standard format or template but I made my COE as detailed as possible wherein I included my job description and annual salary. I also included the complete address of TECO. You can do something like this:

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office
41F, Tower 1, RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue
Makati City 1200
Philippines

· Bank certificates (original): A bank certificate is a written statement proving that you have an account with a bank. It is usually a single page containing the current amount of your bank account. In my case, I presented two bank certificates. Requesting for it from either BPI or BDO costs 100 PHP. For BPI, I was able to get it on the same day. For BDO, I got it on the next day after lunch.
Tip: Tell the bank representative that you are requesting bank certificate for a Taiwan tourist visa. In this way, they can include proper salutation.
· Latest Income Tax Return (ITR)
· Visa processing fee. Note: It's non-refundable.

Step 2: Get a queue number

To get a queue number, take the elevator to the 4th floor of RCBC Tower 2. Once there, look for the TECO staff who gives queue numbers. In my case, it was a bit disorganized. I asked around but nobody knew where the TECO staff was. I just figured it out after noticing that many people were approaching a woman with several papers in hand. Note: It is important to get a queue number first. Otherwise, the receptionist at RCBC Tower 1 will not give you a temporary ID to get to the 41st floor where TECO is located at.

Step 3: Go to the reception

Go to the reception area for TECO at the ground floor of RCBC Tower 1.
Make sure to bring a valid government-issued ID. This will be surrendered at the reception in exchange of a temporary ID. Register your name and other personal details in the log sheet.

Step 4: Go up to the 41st floor

There are several elevators at RCBC Tower 1 so make sure you take the correct one. Facing the reception area, go to the left wing. This wing has two sides so take the right side for the elevator going to the 41st floor.

Step 5: Wait and prepare your requirements

Wait for your turn based on the queue number given. The serving number is flashed on the screen in front. Mind your number because in case you miss it, you have to go down again and repeat everything.

While waiting, make sure your requirements are ready. For your two (2) passport size ID photos, paste one of them at the top left portion of the application form. Put the other one in a clear plastic and staple it to the application form. Also, make sure you signed the application form. Finally, clip all your requirements using a binder clip or a huge paper clip with the application form on top of all your documents.

Step 6: Submit the requirements

Go to the designated window. Give your requirements to the TECO staff by sliding them through the hole. The glass window separating you from the TECO staff may make it a little hard for you to hear whatever the staff will say or ask, so make sure you listen attentively.

Once all your requirements have been checked, the staff will provide you a small paper to pay for the visa fee.

Step 7: Pay the visa processing fee

Go to window 6 (this window number may vary) to pay for the visa fee. You must pay in cash. I am not sure if they give change but it is best to provide an exact amount.
The staff will hand you a receipt that you MUST keep to claim your visa.
Visa fees:

Single entry: 2,400 PHP
Multiple Entry: 4,800 PHP

The standard visa processing time is three (3) business days. In case you want to expedite it to one (1) day, there are corresponding expediting fees:

To expedite a single entry visa application: PHP 1,200 
To expedite a multiple entry visa application: PHP 2,400 

Step 8: Claim your passport and tourist visa

Releasing time of passport and visa is Monday to Friday, 1:45PM to 4:45PM. When claiming, no need to get a queue number at RCBC Tower 2 anymore. You can go straight to the receptionist, surrender a government-issued ID, and get a temporary ID (note that temporary ID serves as your queue number). Go to the 41st floor and wait for your queue number. Make sure you have the receipt that was provided to you during filing time. Otherwise, TECO cannot release the passport and visa. Present the said receipt at the window.

Before leaving, double check if the correct passport has been given to you. Check if the visa is properly attached to the passport and make sure that all details are correct in the visa As mentioned earlier, they return the original NSO birth certificate. Check if it’s the correct one attached to your passport. For corrections and clarifications, simply approach the same TECO staff who provided the passport and visa to you.
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