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China; Taiwan: New Rules Facilitate Taiwan Residents Traveling to the Mainland

(July 22, 2015) On June 14, 2015, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China amended an administrative regulation governing the travel of residents of China’s mainland to Taiwan and of Taiwan residents to the mainland, the Measures for the Control of Chinese Citizens Traveling to and from the Region of Taiwan (Measures). Effective on July 1, 2015, the new Measures lift the requirement provided by the old version enacted in 1992 (1992 Measures) that Taiwan residents who hold valid mainland travel permits, the Mainland Travel Permit (MTP) for Taiwan Residents, obtain visa-like entry endorsements in order to travel to and stay in the mainland. (Guowuyuan Guanyu Xiugai Zhongguo Gongmin Wanglai Taiwan Diqu Guanli Banfa de Jueding [State Council Decision on Amending Measures for the Control of Chinese Citizens Travelling to and from the Region of Taiwan] (June 14, 2015, effective on July 1, 2015); 1992 Measures (Dec. 14, 1991, effective on May 1, 1992), Westlaw China online subscription database.)

Prior to the recent amendment, travelers from Taiwan holding MTPs had to apply for an entry endorsement to enter into the mainland, and such an endorsement was valid for a single entry or multiple entries. (1992 Measures, art. 28.) The MTP holders, except those coming for permanent residence, were required to leave within the term of validity specified by the entry endorsement. (Id. art. 21.)

Under the new Measures, holders of MTP for Taiwan Residents may stay on the mainland until the MTP expires without having to obtain entry endorsements, and the MTP may be renewed with the local public security authority. (Measures, art. 18.) According to the Measures, MTPs are valid for multiple entries within a period of five years or for a single entry within a three-month period. (Measures, art. 24.) In addition, this month a new version of the MTP for Taiwan Residents, an electronic one, started to be used. (Mainland Issues Electronic Travel Permits for Taiwan Residents, XINHUA (July 7, 2015).)

Mainland travelers are still required under the new Measures to apply with their local public security authority to endorse their travel documents to Taiwan for each planned entry into Taiwan. (Measures, arts. 24 & 25.)

Under Taiwan law, tourists from the mainland are allowed to enter Taiwan in sightseeing groups organized by designated travel agents, except for residents of certain mainland areas who may travel on their own to Taiwan. (Dalu Diqu Renmin Lai Tai Congshi Guanguang Huodong Xuke Banfa [Measures Permitting People from the Mainland Area Travel to Taiwan for Sightseeing] (Dec. 10, 2001, last amended on Mar. 26, 2015), arts. 3-1 & 5, Laws and Regulations Database of the Republic of China.) At present tourists from 47 mainland cities are allowed to travel to Taiwan as individuals. (For a list of the 47 cities, see Executive Information System, Taiwan Tourism Bureau (last updated July 16, 2015) (in Chinese) [click on first window to view Word document].)