The United States Department of Homeland Security announced the designation of Taiwan, the Republic of China, into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
On October, 2012, USDHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that, effective November 1, 2012, eligible Taiwan passport holders will be able to avoid applying for the B-1 business visitor and B-2 tourist visas at American consular posts and diplomatic missions. Instead, they can apply for advanced authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
The VWP allows foreign nationals from designated countries to travel to the US for business or pleasure for up to 90 days without first applying for a visa at an American consular post. The VWP does require foreign visitors to have authorization to travel via ESTA, arrive via a VWP signatory carrier, and have a ticket to depart the US that does not terminate in a contiguous territory or adjacent island (unless a resident there).
Taiwan is the 37th country to be added to the VWP. PRC and Hong Kong SAR passport holders are not yet eligible to participate in the VWP.
The ESTA web site is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. The US Customs and Border Protection Agency's FAQs about the VWP and ESTA can be found at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/business_pleasure/vwp/faq_vwp.xml.
The full text of the press release can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/news/2012/10/02/dhs-announces-taiwan%E2%80%99s-designation-visa-waiver-program.