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Can international students enter Taiwan?

taiwan borders
International students in their final year can return to Taiwan unless they're from China. Source: Sam Yeh/AFP

Taiwan’s borders are now open to foreigners from a select list of countries.

The country has received global praise for its effective handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Despite its proximity to China, where the virus originated, Taiwan has reported less than 500 infected cases. In comparison, Hong Kong has nearly 4,100 cases and is now experiencing a second wave of infections.

The government is still remaining cautious about opening its borders, but has relaxed the rules to allow international students to complete their studies.

Here’s what you should know as an international student in Taiwan, whether you’re a freshie or a senior:

Who is allowed to cross Taiwan borders?

On June 17, final-year students from 19 low and medium-risk countries were allowed to enter Taiwan. Those from other countries were allowed to apply for re-entry from July 22, 2020.

According to the Ministry of Education, “graduating students from the academic year 108 [sic] from outside the 19 low-risk and medium-risk countries/regions are allowed to return to the Republic of China (ROC) (Taiwan) for study”.

Can Chinese students enter Taiwan?

In a controversial policy reversal, Deputy Education Minister Liu Meng-chi said at a press conference on Aug. 5, 2020 final-year Chinese students are still not allowed back, despite the latest guidance.

The Ministry of Education cited “cross-strait considerations” as the reason behind this move, but thidid not clarify further.

International students who are not in their final year of study still cannot enter Taiwan as priority is given to those graduating soon.

According to the education ministry, “Depending on the quarantine situation and the quarantine locations’ capacity after entry, then restrictions for other undergraduate degree students and incoming students can be relaxed and they can be allowed to enter the ROC (Taiwan) orderly.”

taiwan borders

A worker sprays hand sanitiser onto passengers after they arrived at Taoyuan Airport on March 19, 2020. All passengers arriving in Taiwan must self-quarantine for two weeks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Source: Sam Yeh/AFP

Will international students have to undergo quarantine?

Yes, quarantine is mandatory for all visitors and citizens returning to Taiwan. For international students, this will take place at designated hotels arranged by universities, or campus dormitories.

The price is approximately US$1,361 — to be forked out by the international student.

This puts a financial burden on certain students, such as those attending schools under scholarships. According to Channel News Asia, students are now asking authorities to increase the availability of dormitories for isolation needs, provide quarantine subsidies, remove political reasons behind decisions to allow in students, and open up Taiwan’s borders regardless of nationality.

Over 33 schools have provided approximately 4,000 quarantine dormitories, but this is still short of the promised 10,000 units by the government.

In response, the Ministry of Education said they will try to increase campus dormitories for quarantine purposes as much as possible to reduce the financial burden on students.

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