The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secreatary Napolitano has just announced that DHS has designated Taiwan as a Visa Waiver Program (VWP). As a result, Taiwan passport holders will be able to travel visa-free to the United States starting on November 1, 2012.
The VWP will enable citizens of Taiwan to travel to the United States, beginning on November 1, 2012, for 90 days or less for tourism or business purposes without a visa, provided they have an e-passport and an approved authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) (about ESTA; about the ESTA fee).
Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program. The U.S. Congress authorized DHS in August 2007 to reform the VWP and strengthen the security arrangements required of existing participant countries, as well as to expand the opportunity for aspiring countries to join the program. This legislation also mandates certain improvements to the VWP for all participating countries, such as the requirement that travelers first obtain an online authorization to travel under the recently established ESTA, a web-based system that determines the preliminary eligibility of visitors to travel under the VWP prior to boarding a carrier to the United States.