Check pass­port be­fore travel: BOCA

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

The For­eign Min­istry’s Bureau of Con­sular Af­fairs (BOCA) yesterday re­minded Tai­wanese trav­el­ers who wish to travel abroad dur­ing the on­go­ing sum­mer va­ca­tion to check their pass­port’s va­lid­ity.

Trav­el­ers must have at least six months’ va­lid­ity re­main­ing on their pass­port, or they may be de­nied en­try by for­eign coun­tries dur­ing their over­seas vis­its, BOCA chief sec­re­tary Elaine Chen (

) said dur­ing a reg­u­lar news brief­ing.

Each coun­try has their own rules but in gen­eral author­i­ties in other coun­tries could deny en­try of a for­eign na­tional if his or her pass­port has less than six month va­lid­ity be­fore the ex­pi­ra­tion date, Chen said.

Chen made the re­minder in re­sponse to com­plaints made by many Tai­wanese trav­el­ers about the rule since Ja­pan Cus­toms does not have such reg­u­la­tions and only stip­u­lates that pass­ports must be valid for the in­tended pe­riod stay in Ja­pan.

Post­ing com­plaints online, some Tai­wanese trav­el­ers said lo­cal air­lin­ers have been deny­ing tourists whose pass­port had less than six month’s va­lid­ity to board planes to Ja­pan.

These air­lines of­ten claim that they do so be­cause BOCA has stip­u­lated that one has to have a pass­port with more than six month’s va­lid­ity to travel to Ja­pan.

BOCA has no au­thor­ity in ask­ing lo­cal air­lin­ers to stop Tai­wanese visi­tors from vis­it­ing Ja­pan just be­cause their pass­port will ex­pire soon, Chen said.

“We are sim­ply mak­ing a re­minder to na­tion­als that they could be re­jected en­try by for­eign bor­der con­trol of­fi­cials if their pass­port va­lid­ity is less than six months,” she said.

Ja­pan’s reg­u­la­tion on pass­port va­lid­ity is in­deed not as strict as in many other coun­tries, Chen noted.

But she also said that a cus­toms of­fi­cial has the right to re­ject en-

of try of a for­eign visi­tor if he or she finds the visi­tor’s pass­port is about to ex­pire for fear that the visi­tor could end up over­stay­ing in the coun­try.

It would be safer for a trav­eler to have a pass­port with longer va­lid­ity re­main­ing be­fore vis­it­ing any other coun­tries, she said.

One can file for pass­port re­newals at BOCA head­quar­ters in Taipei or BOCA’s branch of­fices na­tion­wide if they find their pass­ports are ex­pir­ing soon, she added.

R.O.C. pass­port hold­ers en­joy visa-free en­try for a stay up to 90 days to Ja­pan, one of the top travel des­ti­na­tion for Tai­wanese.

Ac­cord­ing to a sta­tis­tics re­leased by the In­ter­change As­so­ci­a­tion Ja­pan ( ), Ja­pan’s de facto em­bassy in Tai­wan, Tai­wanese ac­counted for the largest group of for­eign visi­tors to Ja­pan in 2014.

A to­tal of 2.82 mil­lion Tai­wanese na­tion­als vis­ited Ja­pan in 2014, mark­ing the third con­sec­u­tive year that the num­ber has set a his­toric high.

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