On October 2, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced the designation of Taiwan for participation in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Taiwan thus joins 36 other countries in the VWP, which permits visa-free travel to the United States for eligible travelers coming for 90 or fewer days for business or tourism. In fiscal year 2011, the VWP accounted for 18.3 million visits to the United States, or more than 60 percent of tourist and business travelers entering the United States by air, the Department noted.

Key security and information-sharing requirements for the VWP include enhanced law enforcement and security-related data-sharing, timely reporting of lost or stolen passports, and maintaining high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation, and document security standards.

Eligible Taiwanese passport holders must apply for advance authorization for the VWP through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Eligible Taiwanese passport holders approved via ESTA may visit the United States without visas beginning on November 1, 2012. In FY 2011, 243,186 visitors from Taiwan traveled to the United States.

The announcement is available here.

ESTA is available here.