Asia and Oceania

Taiwan

Still current at: 11 June 2008
Updated: 30 May 2008

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Health section (prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Taiwan). The overall level of the advice has not changed.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • Around 38,000 British nationals visit Taiwan every year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main types of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Taiwan in 2007 was for guidance on visa/immigration rules and legal advice.  You should take sensible precautions against small-scale and petty crimes, which are sometimes carried out against foreigners.

  • The UK has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan so limited consular-type services are available to British nationals.  If you are staying for longer than four weeks, you should register with British Trade and Cultural Office.  See the General section of this advice for more details.

  • The typhoon/tropical storm season in Taiwan normally runs from May to November.   See the Natural Disasters section of this advice and Hurricanes for more details.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Taiwan.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.  See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.

Safety and security

Terrorism

The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
 
For further information see Terrorism Abroad.

Crime

Small-scale petty crime affecting foreign nationals exists but is not commonplace.
 
For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad.
 
Advance Fee Frauds

People and companies in the UK (and elsewhere) often receive letters, faxes and e-mails, offering them large sums of money provided they send various 'advance fees' to Taiwanese bank accounts.  The fraudsters have obtained the details from telephone or commercial directories, so recipients are not being specifically targeted.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) investigates advance fee frauds in the UK.  You are recommended not to reply to these types of communication.  The SOCA website at: www.soca.gov.uk contains more information on this type of fraud.

Political Situation

You should avoid large-scale political gatherings.
 
Taiwan Country Profile

Local Travel

There is a risk of road blockages and landslides following typhoons, especially in central and southern Taiwan.  You should check the Central Weather Bureau website (http://www.cwb.gov.tw) and the Directorate General of Highways website (http://www.thb.gov.tw) before travelling to these areas.

Road Travel

If you intend to drive in Taiwan, you will need an International Driver's Permit (IDP). Once in Taiwan, you will need to take your passport, IDP and a passport photograph to the nearest Vehicle Registration Dept and apply for a driver's licence visa which will then be secured in your IDP.

Be alert crossing roads, even on protected crossings.
 
For further information see Driving Abroad

Local laws and customs

If found guilty of smuggling, trafficking, possession or use of illegal narcotics you can expect to receive a severe jail sentence or, in some cases, the death penalty.
 
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.

Entry requirements

Visas
 
You may spend up to 30 days in Taiwan without a visa.  You cannot extend the waiver period.  If you plan to stay in Taiwan for longer than 30 days you must have a visa before you arrive. 
 
Specific rules exist for naturalised British Citizens born in the Peoples' Republic of China and holders of British National (Overseas) passports wishing to enter under the visa waiver scheme.
 
For further information on entry requirements, contact the Taipei Representative Office, 50 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0EB; tel: 020 7881 2650/4; fax: 020 7730 3139; Website: http://www.roc-taiwan.org.uk/ before travelling.
 
Passport validity
 
If your passport has less than six months validity you will not be allowed to enter Taiwan
 
Travelling with children
 
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some documentary evidence of parental responsibility may need to be shown to the local authorities before allowing lone parents to enter or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Taipei Representative Office (as above) before travelling.

Health

Taiwan has adequate health and dental facilities to handle routine, emergency and outpatient treatment.  Some have English-speaking staff.  Hospitals operate on a "pay as you use" basis so it is wise to take sufficient money with you and have the appropriate insurance cover.  You might also be required to produce your passport.  You should be aware that, unlike the UK, it is not normal practice for a paramedic to accompany an ambulance.

Dengue fever is common to southern Taiwan.  You are also advised to ensure all food is fully cooked and you should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.  If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Taiwan you should seek immediate medical attention.

If walking in rural areas you should be wary of poisonous snakes.

You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to Taiwan and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Heath Network and Centre 
NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
 
For more general health information see Travel Health

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

There have been no reported cases of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Taiwan during the current series of outbreaks.  But the World Health Organisation has confirmed cases elsewhere in the region.
 
You should read this advice in conjunction with Avian and Pandemic Influenza, which gives more detailed advice and information.

Natural Disasters
 
The typhoon/tropical storm season in Taiwan normally runs from May to November, sometimes resulting in local flooding and landslides. 
 
Listen to Typhoon Alerts on ICRT, BCC and PRS radio stations, or alternatively monitor the following websites:
 
Taiwan Central Weather Bureau:  http://www.cwb.gov.tw
 
ICRT : ICRT
 
http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/

General

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  See Travel Insurance for more details.
 
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is how we can help.
 
Consular Registration

Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.  More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.

British Trade and Cultural Office

The UK does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.  The British Assistance and Services Section of the British Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei can provide certain limited consular-type assistance.  However, they cannot issue passports.  Passport applications are accepted by the British Trade and Cultural Office, but are forwarded to Hong Kong for processing, which can take 5 working days.  Emergency Passports can be issued the same day.

If you are staying for longer than four weeks please register with the British Trade and Cultural Office.
 
Money

Western Union, Moneygram and Travellers Express have offices in Taipei.  However, operating hours are restricted.  Bank transfers can be slow.  Some branches of The Bank of Taiwan and HSBC will accept British credit cards, but you will incur handling charges.  ATMs are plentiful but not all accept British bank cards.  Designated banks will accept American Express, Citibank or Thomas Cook travellers’ cheques (up to 1,000 US Dollars per day) but you should be prepared to produce your purchase certificate or receipt as well as your passport when cashing them in.  If in doubt, check whether your travellers’ cheques will be accepted in Taiwan before you travel.

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

BTCO, Taipei

Address:

British Trade and Cultural Office
26th Floor
President International Tower
Number 9 - 11 Song Gao Road
Xin Yi District
Taipei, 11073
Taiwan

Telephone:

(886) (2) 8758 2088
(886) (2) 8758 + extension (Direct line)

Fax:

(886) (2) 8758 2050 (Commercial + Inward Investment)
(886) (2) 8758 2061 (Visa Handling Unit)
(886) (2) 8758 2060 (Management)

Office hours:

Mon-Fri: 0100-0430 and 0530-0900 (GMT)
Mon-Fri: 0900-1230 and 1330-1700 (local time)

Website: http://www.btco.org.tw