Taiwan Begins Process for Entry of New International Students

CNA file photo

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said that new international students enrolled in Taiwan schools can begin the application process for entry into the country, in a special admission arrangement for that category of non-residents.

As part of Taiwan's COVID-19 control measures, its borders have been closed to non-residents, with some exceptions in emergencies and on humanitarian grounds on a case-by-case basis.

International students who have been accepted to Taiwan schools for programs of one year or more are usually eligible to apply for Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs), but new students cannot file the application until they arrive in Taiwan.

Starting Tuesday, however, some 13,000 international students enrolled in degree programs and those who have received the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Taiwan Scholarship or the MOE's Huayu Enrichment Scholarship can start the application process to enter Taiwan, the MOE said.

The process involves applying for Taiwan visas, booking airfares, and making quarantine arrangements, the MOE said. To complete the process, the students will need to inform their universities of their travel plans, and the schools will then submit the information to the education ministry.

Incoming students are allowed to quarantine at certain hotels or off-campus dorms certified by health authorities, but they are encouraged to stay at government quarantine centers, as it will be easier there for them to obtain the mandatory COVID-19 tests, according to the MOE.

The accommodation rate at the government quarantine centers is $1,500 (US$53) per night, which means each student will pay NT$21,000 for the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, the MOE said.

After quarantine, the students will be required to follow self-health management guidelines for another seven days before they can enter the school campus, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said Tuesday that the 13,000 international students expected to arrive in Taiwan for the fall semester, which starts in mid- to late September, will have to enter the country in batches.

This is to prevent overcrowding at the quarantine hotels in northern Taiwan, where most of the students will choose to stay because of the proximity to the country's main airport, Chuang told CNA.

In Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan cites, the total number of quarantine hotel rooms is about 13,000, according to Chuang.

He said there is no need for the incoming students to rush, as their universities will allow them to join the classes remotely.

Student associations in Taiwan, however, have criticized the MOE for what they said was its tardiness in starting the entry process for international students, which has made it practically impossible for the students to start school on time.

The Hong Kong Student In Taiwan Mutual Association, for instance, said in early August that when it contacted the MOE in June to inquire about the entry rules for new students, no information was provided.

"We are not asking the Taiwanese government to ignore the COVID-19 pandemic, but we need clear and practical guidelines on how we can enter the country," the association said at the time.

The association said it could understand if plans had to be changed or canceled due to the pandemic, but the ministry was not providing any guidelines at all at that time.

Press Releases from Focus Taiwan