The Netherlands has agreed to grant ROC passport holders the right to enter all its territories visa-free, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Oct. 4.
At present, Holland is the only country within the Netherlands that ROC nationals are allowed to enter without having to apply for a visa in advance. In the future, this privilege will be extended to include Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, as well as the three Carribean special municipalities of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, the MOFA said.
“We welcome the decision by the Netherlands,” the MOFA said in a news release, adding that the date the new policy will take effect has not been determined.
The decision by the Netherlands brings the total number of countries and territories that offer visa-free entry or landing visas to ROC citizens to 123, according to the MOFA.
When ROC President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, the MOFA noted, only 54 countries gave Taiwan the same privilege. “In three years 69 additional countries have given Taiwan visa-free rights, a 128-percent increase.”
“The visa-waiver privilege will save weeks of time for ROC passport holders on visa applications, and will become a big incentive for those who are into water sports and ecotourism,” the MOFA said.
ROC citizens were allowed visa-free entry to Holland and all other European countries within the Schengen Area since Jan. 1. Since then, the number of ROC nationals travelling to Europe has increased by almost 40 percent compared to the same time last year, according to the MOFA.