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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Taiwan. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local conditions.
  • You'll be screened for high body temperature on arrival in Taiwan. Depending on results, you may need to do further medical tests. See Entry and exit.
  • Typhoon season is May to November when flooding and mudslides are common. Taiwan also has earthquakes. Monitor weather forecasts and plan accordingly. Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local officials. See Additional information.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

You generally won't need a visa for Taiwan if:

  1. your visit is for 90 days or less (from 1 January 2018, this could revert to 30 days or less); and
  2. the purpose of your visit is tourism or business; and
  3. you have a confirmed return or onward air ticket; and
  4. your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your entry to Taiwan; and
  5. you are not travelling on an 'emergency passport'.

In all other circumstances, you'll need a visa.

Working Holiday Makers (WHM) must apply for the WHM visa prior to arrival in Taiwan. WHM visas are also valid as a work permit.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact a Taiwan representative office well in advance of travel for up-to-date information and to arrange your visa, if needed.

More information: Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO)

Other formalities

You'll be screened for high body temperature on arrival in Taiwan, as a preventative measure against pandemics such as SARS and 'bird flu'. Depending on your results, further medical tests may be required.

If you plan to take prescription or non-prescription medicines with you, check the Taiwan Customs website for allowances, limitations and documentation requirements before you travel.

If you are planning to work in Taiwan, you'll need to get a work permit before you engage in paid or unpaid work. Work permits are usually arranged in-country, through your employer. If you work without a work permit or WHM visa, you could be fined or deported.

More information:

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception.  If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:

Money

The currency of Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD). Declare all amounts over USD10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies.

ATMs are widely available in cities and provincial centres. International credit cards are generally accepted in hotels, restaurants and higher-end shops, particularly in cities and larger towns. Card skimming occurs.

Safety and security

Civil unrest/political tension

Protests and demonstrations occur in Taiwan from time to time and are generally peaceful. In some instances, they have turned violent.

  • Monitor local media for advice of planned or possible protests or demonstrations.
  • Avoid demonstrations and protests.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Crime

Taiwan has a generally low incidence of crime, including petty crime. There have been some instances of assault on passengers by taxi drivers but taxis are generally safe.

Some travellers have become victims of extortion scams arising from minor car accidents or unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault at nightclubs. 

  • Take care of your belongings, especially in crowded places.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Use radio taxis, or taxis booked on the internet or through your hotel.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Road travel

In general, roads and vehicles in Taiwan are well-maintained and traffic is orderly, though traffic does not always stop at pedestrian crossings. Heavy rain and typhoons can lead to landslides and road blockages.

Mountain roads are generally winding and narrow. Foreign tourists have been injured in bus accidents on these roads.

  • Don't expect traffic to stop at pedestrian crossings; check carefully before stepping onto the road.
  • Assess weather and road conditions before you drive, especially during typhoon season.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Take particular care when driving on mountain roads.
  • Don't drink drive.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

If you wish to drive in Taiwan, you must obtain an International Driver's Permit (IDP) before you arrive. You may drive in Taiwan for up to thirty days with a valid IDP and a current Australian licence. If you intend to stay longer, you should apply for an extension by presenting your valid IDP at the nearest motor vehicle office in Taiwan.

Motorcycles

A motorcycle licence (either Taiwanese or international) is required when hiring a motorcycle. Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when riding a motorcycle. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

There have been some instances of assault on passengers by taxi drivers but taxis are generally safe. To minimise risk, use radio taxis or taxis booked on the internet or through your hotel.

Public transport

Taiwan has well developed rail and bus services. Take care of your possessions as petty crime occurs. For information on timetables and scheduling, see the Taiwan Public Transport website.

Sea travel

A number of cruise lines stop over in Taiwan.

More information: Cruises

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Taiwan.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences in Taiwan are severe and include the death penalty. Smoking, possessing or trafficking marijuana can lead to life imprisonment.

The carrying and possession of some prescription drugs can result in long jail sentences and heavy fines. Check on Taiwan's import restrictions and requirements for any prescription and non-prescription medicines you want to take into Taiwan before you travel.

More information:

Other laws

Foreigners involved in litigation (including minor offences) are forbidden from leaving Taiwan until the dispute is settled. Litigation can be a lengthy process and local authorities will not accept bonds or deposits to guarantee court appearances.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Male nationals of Taiwan over 18 years of age must undertake military service. Some exemptions are available to overseas reisidents. If you don't meet the criteria for an exemption, you could be subject to compulsory military service on arrival in Taiwan. If you're an Australia-Taiwan dual national and you're male, check your obligations before you travel to Taiwan.

More information:

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each jurisdiction you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry on your person a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information:

Health risks

Mosquito-borne diseases

Dengue fever occurs in Taiwan especially in the tropical southern/central regions. Cases of Zika virus were reported in Taiwan in 2016. There is no vaccine available against dengue fever or Zika virus. You could also encounter Japanese encephalitis in Taiwan.

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including always using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consult your doctor about getting vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis before you travel
  • if you are pregnant, consult your doctor about possible Zika virus risks before you travel.

More information:

Other infectious diseases

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is common in Taiwan, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Outbreaks usually start in March/April and peak in May but can continue until August to October each year. It mostly affects children under the age of 10 years but adult cases (particularly young adults) occur. The illness is characterised by fever as well as blisters and rashes on the hands, feet and buttocks. HFMD is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges and faeces of infected people.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.

  • Use hygiene precautions, including careful and frequent hand washing.
  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities provided by public hospitals in Taiwan and other major cities is good but you could encounter long waiting times. Physicians are well-trained and modern medical equipment is often available.

Treatment at private clinics and priority care centres is expensive. Doctors and hospitals may expect payment prior to providing medical and dental services, including for emergency care.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies

  • English language emergency line: 0800 024 111
  • Fire: 119
  • Ambulance: 119
  • Police: 110 or contact the local police at the nearest police station

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas. For consular assistance, contact the Australian Office in Taipei.

The Australian Office, Taipei

27th and 28th Floor, President International Tower
9-11 Song Gao Road
Taipei, 110
Telephone: (886 2) 8725 4100
Facsimile: (886 2) 8789 9599
Website: australia.org.tw
Email: consular.taipei@dfat.gov.au

Check the Australian Office in Taipei website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are unable to contact the Australian Office in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Taiwan experiences typhoons, particularly in the wet/typhoon season (May to November). Flooding and mudslides are common. The direction and strength of typhoons can change with little warning. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe typhoon may not be available to all.

If a typhoon is approaching, flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. The typhoon could also affect access to sea ports in the region.

If a typhoon is approaching Taiwan, local authorities may declare a 'typhoon day' at very short notice. This ordinarily results in reduced business operating hours and government office closures. A 'typhoon day' is announced on local radio and television stations, including International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), which broadcasts in English. If a typhoon day is declared, the Australian Office in Taipei may be closed. See Where to get help.

Information on typhoons and other severe weather is available from the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau. You can also keep up-to-date by checking the websites of the World Meteorological Organisation Severe Weather Information Centre, the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

  • Monitor the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau and regional weather forecasts. Plan accordingly.
  • Familiarise yourself with your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans.
  • Secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • Take official warnings seriously.
  • Familiarise yourself with the advice of local authorities on preparing for a natural disaster.

If there is typhoon approaching or other natural disaster:

  • tune your radio to FM 100.7 for English-language updates
  • closely monitor the media, other local information sources and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • contact your airline directly for the latest flight information
  • contact tour operators directly to check whether tourist services at your planned destinations have been affected.

More information: Severe weather

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Earthquakes occur frequently in Taiwan. Read Earthquakes for advice on travelling to and living in an earthquake-prone region. 

Tsunamis are a risk because of frequent seismic activity in Taiwan, surrounding oceans and neighbouring countries. 

In addition to the advice for all natural disasters above:

  • check for information on earthquakes and tsunamis in the Pacific on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center website
  • if you are in a coastal region after a major earthquake or when a tsunami is approaching, move to higher ground immediately.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links.