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– As of October 13, 2022, Taiwan is totally open to all international tourists. Some can enter visa-free, while others need to apply for a visa (see the full list here).
– No PCR test or proof of vaccination is required to enter Taiwan. You no longer need to fill in the pre-arrival health form. You only need to fill in the normal arrival form.
– You can take public transportation and stay in any hotel. But under the 0 + 7 system, for your first week in Taiwan, you need to have your own room (sharing a room with someone you entered Taiwan with is fine). This means hostel dorms are not OK. You can change hotels or leave Taiwan before the 7 days is up. Some hotels are not yet ready to accept foreign guests, though. You’ll find out when you try to book.
– Upon arrival in Taiwan, you will receive 4 free COVID self-testing kits. You’re supposed to take one every two days during for your first week in Taiwan. If you test positive, you are technically supposed to get results confirmed by online appointment. After confirmed, you will have to move to a quarantine hotel for 5 days (self paid).
After Taiwan’s borders closed to all tourists on March 19, 2020, they remained that way for over two years. As of September 12, 2022, Taiwan has finally re-opened to tourists from certain countries, but those visitors must still undergo the 3+4 days of quarantine process. I will be covering exactly what all this entails in great detail below. The list of countries will be expanded on Sept. 29, and then the country is set to totally open, with no quarantine or PCR testing, on October 13, 2022.
Entry restrictions to Taiwan due to the COVID-19 pandemic have effectively destroyed my travel business. Because of this, and the fact that the arrival rules are so complicated and always changing, I’ve avoided writing about them here, on my mostly Taiwan-focused website until now. In fact, I’ve barely mentioned the dreaded words “COVID” or “quarantine” in my articles. And like you, I just look forward to the day when we can put all of this behind us.
I’ve personally cancelled my family’s flights back to Taiwan from where we now live in Canada twice since early 2020, not because we couldn’t get in (we are citizens/permanent residents), but because of all the testing/quarantining costs on both ends.
In May to July of 2022, we finally went back for the first time since 2019. All the below info about entry requirements, how to quarantine in Taiwan, COVID rules, and so on come from my personal experience doing the arrival and quarantine process in Taiwan, as well as government websites and the experiences of people reported online as well as people I personally know.
I will continue to update this post with the latest info as the polices change, so make sure to bookmark it!
For the latest updates as soon as they roll in, please join my Taiwan Travel Planning group, and for quarantine-specific questions, I also recommend the group Quarantine Support in Taiwan. You can also call 1922 (then #7 for English) in Taiwan for any COVID or quarantine related questions.
Current Border Restrictions
When Taiwan first closed its borders, it came in steps. Before the full tourist ban was implemented, the countries of the world were categorized into levels based on how bad their outbreaks were, there were different restrictions for each level, and they changed almost daily. Suffice to say it was very messy.
Now that Taiwan is beginning to reopen, they are also doing it gradually in steps, with the most notable steps so far coming on September 12, 2022, when they began letting visitors from certain countries enter for tourism purposes again (see the list of countries below), Sept 29, when the list of countries was expanded to include several neighborhing (Asian) countries, and Oct. 13, when all restrictions will be dropped.
As this process unfolds, I will continue to update this article daily with the latest Taiwan entry restrictions by country.
Are Taiwan’s Borders Open to Tourists Right Now?
For most of the pandemic, the answer has been no, but as of September 12, 2022, the answer is YES, for visitors from certain countries, and then even more countries after September 29.
The Taiwanese government and Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), under the Taiwan Center for Disease Control (CDC) have impressively crushed two major waves of COVID since the pandemic began. Until mid-2022, there was an admirably low number of COVID deaths in Taiwan, less than a thousand, which is less than a quarter of my home province in Canada, but with five times my province’s population. Once Omicron finally got in, the numbers skyrocketed, but thanks to vaccinations, universal mask wearing, and impressive contract tracing, the number of deaths remained comparatively low.
Numerous press announcements over the last two years have hinted at possible loosening of border restrictions when future vaccination benchmarks were reached (for example 80% double vaccination, 50% booster, and now they are saying 50% vaccination rate among young children). But when those first two benchmarks were reached, it was right around the time that Omicron took off, so they decided to keep the borders closed after all to prevent a Hong Kong-like situation from occurring.
As of March 7, 2022, Taiwan loosened the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals (for those who can get in, that is) from 14 days to 10 days (technically 11 nights, as the arrival and check out dates aren’t counted). Moreover, it allowed them to do their quarantine at home instead of a quarantine hotel, so long as their home meets certain requirements. They also made it even easier for business travelers to enter from this day on. The next step was a further reduction to 7 days of quarantine, which started at 12 a.m. on May 9, 2022, and then a reduction to 3+4 days on June 15.
This means 3 days of quarantine + 4 days of “self initiated epidemic prevention”. In practice, the day of arrival doesn’t count, so it’s actually 4 + 4. In other words, this is 4 days of strict quarantine, plus 4 days when you are allowed to go out for certain things.
On July 25, they started letting 6 categories of people to apply for permission to enter. These are volunteers, missionaries, religious scholars, interns, and people on international exchanges and working holidays. These people are still subject to 3 + 4 days of quarantine. Some have speculated that the next step will be a reduction to “0 + 7 days” (zero days of quarantine but seven days of self monitoring), but this isnt’ certain.
Then on September 12, Taiwan finally announced that tourists from certain countries were allowed. It was surprising that they mainly welcomed tourists from Western countries first. Before COVID, tourists from Asian countries far outnumbered those from Western ones. My guess is that this is part of their “gradual approach”. I don’t think a large number of tourists from faraway Western countries are suddenly going to start planning big trips and showing up in Taiwan right on September 12, especially when they still have to undergo quarantine upon arrival. But then, thankfully, Taiwan added most of its Asian neighborhing countries to the list from September 29.
From the very beginning, Taiwan has considered tourists the last priority. The country is not heavily dependent on tourist dollars like so many other countries. In fact, their economy has been booming through COVID, and there are enough local travelers to support local hotels and attractions. Having said that, several businesses who depended largely on foreign guests have, unfortunately, gone out of business. Examples include Modern Toilet Ximen, the Starbucks in Taipei 101, and several tours, guides, and agencies that catered to visitors.
You can see the latest CDC updates with the most current changes and assessments of the situation. Updates come daily.
Who Can Enter Taiwan Right Now?
As of September 12, 2022, nationals of the following countries are allowed to enter Taiwan for tourism purposes and don’t need to apply for a visa: USA, Canada, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan’s 14 diplomatic allies (Belize, eSwatini, Guatemala, Haiti, the Holy See, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu). They still have to undergo testing and quarantine on arrival, which I will cover below.
As of September 29, 2022 the following nationals were added to the list of people who can enter Taiwan: Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Dominican Republic, Israel, Chile, Nicaragua.
All of the countries above can enter Taiwan without a visa, as before COVID. For the amount of time nationals of each of these countries can enter, see this page https://www.boca.gov.tw/cp-149-4486-7785a-2.html (you need to copy and paste this link to your browser. For some reason, it always redirects if you just click it).
For nations all other countries not mentioned above, a visa is required, and they will be able to start about for this visa from October 13, when the borders are totally opened. Russia is one exception; so far they have not yet announced whether nationals of Russia will be allowed in and when.
The following people have been allowed to enter Taiwan throughout COVID, and still are today. They also have to undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival:
- Taiwanese citizens (holding a Taiwanese passport)
- Foreign residents of Taiwan (holding an ARC or APRC)
- Foreign relatives of Taiwan citizens/ARC holders (i.e. children and spouses of citizens or residents)
The below can also currently enter but must apply for and receive approval first (starting from various points during the pandemic):
- Business/investment/contract visitors
- International students coming to study in formal degree programs in Taiwan
- Persons coming to Taiwan for employment
- Persons coming for emergency or humanitarian reasons
- Volunteers, missionaries, religious scholars, interns, and people on international exchanges and working holidays
Are Transit Passengers Allowed at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport
For most of the pandemic, transit passengers have NOT been allowed at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport. This finally changed on June 15, 2022. So now, YES, transiting at Taiwan’s main airport is allowed again, though it will take a while for airlines to actually start routing more flights through Taiwan again.
Taiwan’s Current Quarantine Protocol
Everyone who is able to enter Taiwan has to undergo testing before and upon arrival and a mandatory 3 days of self-paid quarantine + 4 days of self monitoring (technically it totals to 8 nights, because your first night and check out day don’t count), as of June 15, 2022. The only people who have been able to get reduced quarantine have been pilots/airline workers and some high level business or political visitors.
If you arrive in Taiwan after October 13, 2022, you will not have to do any quarantine. Instead, you will only have to watch your health for 7 days (called the 0 + 7 system) and take a few self-administered rapid tests. They will you 4 such test kits upon arrival at the airport, free of charge. the first two are meant to be taken on days 1 and 2, while the other 2 are for if you develop symptoms later.
Before Coming to Taiwan
- Book a quarantine hotel or arrange a residence to quarantine in (more info on both below). You need to book it for 8 nights under the “3 + 4” system, since your arrival day and first night count as “day zero”.
- As of August 15, 2022, NOBODY needs to take a pre-flight PCR test before coming to Taiwan anymore (but you still have to be one of the select groups of people who are allowed to enter Taiwan). So you can ignore the next three paragraphs, but I’ll keep them up (with strikethrough) in case anyone needs that information.
Get an RT- PCR test 1 or 2 days before your scheduled flight (July 14 update: Citizens, ARC-holders, and transit passengers no longer need to get a pre-flight PCR test). For any other travelers who are not citizens, ARC holders, or transit passengers, you still need to get a PCR test 1-2 days before your flight departure. For example, if your flight to Taiwan departs on June 9 (even for example, 1 AM of June 9), you should get the test on June 7 or 8. If you have a connecting flight to Taiwan, you count back from the date of the first leg of the flight, unless your stopover is more than 2 days. Make sure that you get it early enough so that you will receive the results before your flight, but not too early. Find out in advance how long the results will take. Important point: the test results paper must indicate your name (matching passport name) passport, date of birth or passport number, specimen collection date, testing method, report date, and test result. The “specimen collection date (or date the test was administered) is essential, so make sure the facility includes it. The test result has to be negative. A digital copy of the report is fine. If your PCR test is positive, you’ll have to reschedule your flight, cancel your quarantine hotel (if you have one booked, and they mostly allow this), and retest again TWICE starting in 10 days (first re-test after 10 days, second one another 24 hours after first one). If both retests are negative, then you can fly to Taiwan. This is technically the rule, but some people have reported that even though they retested twice, nobody in Taiwan asked for proof of their two tests when they later arrived. I’m not saying you should only test once; but that’s just what people have reported. Children aged 6 or under, those with medical exemption, or people in country that doesn’t offer PCR test don’t need to take the pre-flight PCR test. However, you have to print and fill out this PCR test exemption form and present it to your airline for check in and upon arrival. In our experience, the airline then placed us at the back of the plane, and my 6-year-old daughter (who didn’t get the test) had to use a separate toilet on the plane. Upon arrival in Taiwan, we had to exit the plane last, then we had to be met by a staff member on arrival, who took us to a separate line to register her, before we could go through the usual lines. It made our arrival process almost 30 min longer. Note: if you have another reason for not being able to take the PCR test, you’ll need to have sufficient proof.
- Fill in and submit the Quarantine System For Entry Form online 48 hours or less before arriving in Taiwan. If you do it more than 48 hours before your arrival time (in Taiwan time), it will be considered invalid. I recommend doing this at home before your flight, not at the airport like many people do. For us, our total flying time from Canada to Taiwan (including all checking in, waiting, transfers) was 22 hours, which gave us a full day before leaving to do this. Many people don’t do it until they get to the airport, then find the form is confusing or takes a long time to fill out, causing a lot of stress right before their check in. Do it at home!
- To fill in this form, you’ll need some personal info, flight number, quarantine hotel information (including hotel ID and address) or address of home quarantine. One child age 12 or under can be added per one adult form–there will be a spot to “add a person under 12” on the final page before you submit; you’ll need to fill in the whole page with all your person info first. For departure country, enter your original departure country (unless you have a stopover more than two days on the way). For the flight number, enter the details of the one that lands in Taiwan. If you don’t have a Taiwan phone number yet, enter your home number. You’ll be able to get a SIM card when you arrive in Taiwan and update the form, with help from the airport agents. Make sure the cell phone you come with is unlocked!
- When you click on the submit form, the form will be sent to the authorities in Taiwan. There won’t be any popup or words telling you that the submission was successful, but don’t worry, it works. Then it will go to a page showing your final report, called “Quarantine System for Entry – Departure Place Declaration Certificate”. This is what you need. Screenshot it. The airline will ask to see this before you get on the flight to Taiwan. At the bottom of the page, there is a confusing little button that says “Save – Press it for 2 seconds”. Many people mistakenly think this is the final submission button. It’s not. Your form has already been submitted. This button, if held for 2 seconds (on mobile only) will save a copy of the form in your phone’s camera roll.
- If you have entered a non-Taiwanese phone number like we did, you’ll probably receive a text message from the Taiwan CDC before you board your flight. You don’t need to click the link contained in the message, but save the text message. It’s just a confirmation message, and may be needed later when you arrive in Taiwan.
- Make sure your phone is charged when you arrive in Taiwan. I suggest bringing a battery pack.
- There may be additional forms required by your airline. We received an email from EVA airlines with a checklist of all the forms we needed. Also note, your country may require proof of vaccination for domestic flights or checking in at your airport, but Taiwan technically doesn’t (yet) require proof of vaccination to enter.
What Happens When You Arrive in Taiwan
Get off the plane and follow the signs to exit. If you are traveling with a person who didn’t get the pre-flight PCR test (like us with our 6-year-old daughter), you may have to leave the plane last. When we got off the plane, there was a lady waiting with a sign with our daughter’s name on it. We then had to wait for all the other people with young kids who didn’t get tested. The woman then took us through the entire processing area, where there were hundreds of people waiting in lines, to a line where we had to register our daughter, give them the PCR test exemption form, and then go back to join the long lines.
- Follow the signs/flow of people until you reach the processing area. It’s impossible to get lost or go the wrong way – there’s only one way to go.
- If you don’t have a SIM card yet, join the line to buy one FIRST (line on the left in the above picture). Do not get in any other lines, such as the immigration LINE. When we arrived, the line was quite long (we waited about 20 minutes). It’s clearly marked, and there are lots of staff to guide people. But still, don’t go into sheep mode and just get in whatever line it seems everyone else is getting in (several people have reported doing this, and then having to go back to the end of the SIM card line. Important note: make sure your cell phone is UNLOCKED before coming to Taiwan.
- The SIM card counter has multiple phone options, and the staff will help to switch your card. They accept cash or international credit cards. You’ll see that most options come with unlimited data, plus some extra amount for voice calls. The first two (Chunghwa) are the most recommended and reliable, especially if you need strong WiFi for video conferences or anything like that.
- After you get your SIM card, ask a staff member to help you input it into your “Health Declaration Certificate” report. We watched as a staff member did ours: first, he went to the text message that we had received before boarding our flight in Canada. He clicked the link. It took him to a page where it asked to enter the last 5 digits of our passport number. Then it went to a page where he input our new phone numbers. (I don’t want to say this is all he did, because he was doing it very quickly and I may not have caught everything). After he did that, we received a new text message with a link. When we clicked that link, it went to our new, updated “Quarantine Declaration Certificate”, which contains a bar code. Screenshot the form, as you will need to show it several times after this. If you have added a child 12 or under on your form, this process will need to be done once for yourself, and again for your child, and there will be one final report for each of you. Screenshot both of them.
- Now you get to join the other line, which is opposite the SIM card station/line. When we first arrived, this line was very long, but because we were at the end, by the time we finally got in this line, it was quite short.
- If you already had a Taiwan phone number before arrival, you don’t need to join the SIM card line. Just go directly to the immigration line. You should receive a text message with a link to your “Quarantine Declaration Certificate” within a few minutes of arrival. If you don’t, ask an agent.
- When you get to the front, you’ll need to show your passport, provide your phone number (if you just bought a SIM card, they’ll give you a paper that shows your new number), and show your Health Declaration Certificate to register for your arrival COVID saliva test. NOTE: as of June 15, EVERYONE does the saliva test, no matter your country of original. Before, people from all (and then later only certain) countries still had to do the more intrusive and painful nose test). Also note: unlike with the nose tests, you no longer have to wait at the airport for the results. You will be contacted later while in quarantine if you test positive. Also note, as of September 29, saliva PCR tests will no longer be conducted upon arrival in Taiwan.
- If your child is under 2, it would be too tough to collect the amount of spit they require (5 ml), so he or she will need to take an Orophraryngeal swab. They will give you a paper indicating the kind of test you will need to take. Our kids (aged 6 and 8), were able to spit enough, but it took them a while.
- At this same station, they will also give you two antigen rapid test boxes per person. One is to be used on the final day of your quarantine to allow you to exit quarantine, and an extra one is provided for use in case you start showing symptoms of COVID. (Note: when quarantine ends on October 13 and the 0 + 7 days system starts, you will receive 4 kids. One is meant to be used on day 1, another on day 2, and the other two for later if you develop symptoms.
- After receiving your spit cup and rapid antigen test kits, you’ll proceed through immigration, where you’ll have to show your “Health Declaration Certificate” form to the agent.
- Next, you’ll proceed to the baggage area to collect your baggage.
- Next, you’ll proceed into the arrival area (where in the past the public could wait for and greet arriving passengers). You’ll join a long queue for the spit test. The line makes its way outside, where you’ll leave your luggage cart, the proceed around the corner of the building to the outdoor testing area. You’ll show your passport and the little paper they gave you with the type of test checked. Then you get to stand at a booth and spit into the little cup you were provided with earlier until it reached the little line at 5 ml. It’s a lot of spit, so it might take you a while. I would suggest starting to collect spit in your mouth from the moment you step outside of the airport. Then, you close the lid, but it in a little ziplock bag provided, and give it to the staff, along with the little paper. If your baby has to do the throat swab, they’ll also do it here. After you complete this step, they’ll put a quarantine sticker on your shirt (you can see people’s quarantine stickers on one of my pictures above, posted on the separation wall inside a taxi).
- Go back to collect your luggage cart and proceed to the taxi area (if you plan to take a taxi), which is right in front of the main arrival hall doors. There are staff directing people where to go. The main (by far longest) line is for all destinations in Northern Taiwan, including Taipei. For destinations in Central or South Taiwan, they will direct you to the appropriate line.
- If you’re getting picked up by a friend or family member, that is now allowed, but you can’t go stay with them. They can just drive you to your hotel or quarantine location which meets all the necessary standards (see below section). You still can’t take the airport MRT or other forms of public transportation to reach your quarantine location. As of September 1, 2022, you are allowed to drive yourself to your place of quarantine, for example in a rented car or car someone has left at the airport for you. As of September 29, you are also allowed to get a ride from somebody to your quarantine location. As of October 13, you will be allowed to take public transportation from the airport (buses or Airport MRT).
- If you need to withdraw money from an ATM for paying for your taxi, or to have some cash for ordering food during your quarantine, or for getting home after your quarantine, go back into the airport arrival hall and do it before getting in the taxi line. I strongly recommend having at least a couple thousands NTD just in case. There are also currency exchange booths in the airport (before collecting luggage). Note that when we last arrived, there were no duty free shops or convenience stores that we were able to visit upon arrival at the airport.
- While in line for the taxi, they will spray you and your luggage down with sanitization liquid. You may also (once again) have to show your Health Declaration Certificate. The taxi line can be really long (we waited almost an hour).
- Some taxis take credit cards, but most don’t. The set taxi fares from Taoyuan Airport, which you will pay to the drive upon arrival, are: pay by meter up to a maximum of $1000 (Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Hsinchu), 1000 (Miaoli and Yilan), 1080 (Taichung), 1340 (Changhua), 1560 (Yunlin), 1630 (Nantou), 1750 (Hualien), 1840 (Chiayi), 2380 (Tainan), 2660 (Kaohsiung), 2950 (Pingtung), and 3500 (Taitung). Tipping taxi drivers in Taiwan is not common, and taxi drivers are always honest. You will NOT be scammed by a taxi driver like in other countries.
- Upon arrival at your quarantine location, enter your hotel/residence immediately and don’t leave until until 12:01 AM or later of the 4th night. If you are caught going out, the fine is extremely high.
- Then, from days 5 to 8, you are in the “self-initiated epidemic prevention” period. The rules are different than the previous “self health management period”. Before, that basically meant you could leave, go out, stay with family, live like normal but just avoid crowded indoor places and monitor your health situation. For the new “self initiation epidemic prevention” period, the rules are stricter. See the next section below.
- On the day of your arrival at your place of quarantine, and every day or other day after that, an English-speaking agent will call you to check in on you and ask if you are feeling okay. Make sure your phone is charged and that you catch the call. If you miss it, they may send someone to check on you (although the agent admitted to my wife that they are too busy nowadays, so they will probably just try to call you again later. You can also ask this guy about garbage pick up.
- If your airport saliva test turns out positive, they will contact you and advise you on how to proceed. If you’re alone, there’s a chance you will be able to stay where you are in quarantine but for an additional set number of days, or they may come pick you up and take you to a government facility. If you’re a family and only one tests positive, that person will may be taken away.
- It is possible an agent will come to check your quarantine location to make show it meets standards, but they seem to be doing this less now. My wife also got a call from the local neighborhood leaders. He then dropped off a package for us containing some garbage bags and masks.
- Obviously, do not leave your place of quarantine, even stepping outside or down the hall, for the first 3 days (technically 4 nights).
Post Quarantine: Self Health Management Period VS Self Initiated Epidemic Prevention Period
In the past, arriving travels had to undergo a period of “self health management” after quarantine. This meant always wearing a mask, watching your health, and avoiding busy places. You weren’t supposed to eat in restaurants (in practice, nobody was checking), but convenience stores or shopping for groceries was allowed. Public transportation and exercising outside were OK, too. You weren’t supposed to visit a hospital/clinic or make any doctor’s appointments during this time.
Under the new 3 + 4 program (technically 8 nights), the first 4 nights (day zero plus 3 days) is strict quarantine. The last 4 days is called “self initiated epidemic prevention”, and the rules are different. It started out as being much stricter (you basically had to stay in the same quarantine location, and could only go out with permission for “necessary tasks”). Since then, the rules for the last 4 days have loosened a lot. You are now allowed to change to a new place, go out more easily, and can move into a place where other people are living, as long as you have your own bedroom and bathroom there. You are still supposed to avoid going to very crowded places or hospitals in that time, though.
From September 29 to October 12, you will be allowed to do all of your quarantine in a house where other people (friends or family) live, so long as you have your own room and bathroom. You still aren’t supposed to do it in a regular hotel though, and Airbnbs have never been allowed, as they are technically not even legal in Taiwan.
Until spring of 2022, everyone was supposed to download and use the Taiwan Social Distancing App (臺灣社交距離). This was the country’s way of tracing all COVID cases and notifying those who have been in contact with a case. However, with the explosion of local COVID cases in May 2022, the contact tracing system collapsed. They are no longer attempting to trace every case, so you don’t have to do this anymore.
If you were vaccinated in Taiwan, you can apply for your digital vaccine certificate, which may be required to enter some restaurants, gyms, night clubs, and so on in Taiwan (Note: in the two months I recently spent in Taiwan, I was never once asked for this). The system only works if you got your vaccines in Taiwan, because then you will already be registered in their system.
If you got your vaccines abroad and have a good vaccine card issued by your country, you can just show that, if you’re ever even asked for it. Just have the document/QR code ready to show on your phone if needed.
Do I have to wear a mask all the time once I’m in Taiwan?
Not quite, but almost. For most of the pandemic, Taiwanese have followed the rule of near universal mask wearing while in public. For example, most locals can be seen wearing masks even outdoors, even while walking down an empty street by themselves. The rules were slightly loosened on July 19, 2022. Currently, these are cases when you DON’T have to wear a mask, but some locals may still wear them in these cases out of respect for others or because they are still worried about getting COVID:
- While at home or inside your hotel room
- While riding a scooter or bicycle
- While exercising (indoors or outdoors), playing sports, at the pool, jogging, etc.
- While hiking or at the beach, forest, or mountains
- While taking photos, videos, giving a speech, etc.
- While eating, drinking, or smoking
For more information, see the official announcement here.
Even at the time that Taiwan fully opens to tourists and drops quarantine on October 13, 2022, these mask rules will stay until winter or longer in Taiwan. So if you can’t stand the thought of wearing a mask almost all the time while in Taiwan, you may still want to further postpone your trip until the mask rules change. And even when they stop enforcing the mask rules, many Taiwanese people will probably still continue to wear them for months or even years to come, as mask wearing was already common even before COVID started.
What Happens If I Test Positive on Arrival?
Every day, several people test positive upon arrival in Taiwan. Because they now only do saliva tests at the airport and you leave before the results are ready, you’ll be notified later.
If this happens to you, you are expected to report it, and you will most likely be asked to stay at your current quarantine location (in the past, you would have been picked up and taken to a quarantine facility).
In the case of traveling with family members, I used to recommend packing your luggage separately (one bag for each person) in case you got separated at the airport, for example, if only one person tested positive and was taken away. Now, I would say to at least be mentally prepared for the possibility that, within a day or two of arrival, if only one of you tests positive, they may suddenly call you and tell you that you have 30 minutes to pack a bag before they come pick you up.
The government quarantine facilities vary, and aren’t much different than a regular quarantine hotel. They could be located anywhere in Taiwan. The same friend I mentioned above got sent to one in Nantou, in the middle of Taiwan, where he had a lovely natural view out a large window that he could easily open (a much desired feature in regular quarantine hotels).
However, many people complain that the government facilities are stricter than the regular quarantine hotels. They may check your luggage for liquor and other prohibited items, which regular hotels won’t do. They are also stricter about ordering food in, like it can only be done at very specific times or can’t be done at all. And instead of self-administered rapid tests, a nurse will actually come in and do the test on you.
On the plus side, these facilities are free! However, if you’ve already booked a quarantine hotel, it may be too late to get your money back. You could at least try for a partial refund. At the end, when you take a taxi onward to wherever you’re going next in Taiwan, you’ll need to pay for that.
In the case of families traveling with children, if only a child tests positive, one parent will be able to go with him or her. When separated like this, if the quarantined COVID-positive person tests negative on the first two tests done in room (days 2 and 4), he or she will then be allowed to rejoin his/her family wherever they are quarantining. It might take a day to process, so you could expect to be rejoined on day 5 or so.
What happens if I test positive later in Taiwan, or come into contact with a positive person?
As of Tuesday, April 26, 2022, the rule for those who’ve been in very close contact with a COVID-positive person was “3 + 4”, meaning you had to isolate for 3 days then follow self health management for 4 days but on May 16, 2022, the government announced this was no longer required. Now, if you’ve had three doses of vaccine, you don’t have to isolate, even if a close contact (like family member or close coworker) tests positive, so long as you yourself aren’t showing symptoms.
If you’ve done a rapid antigen test on yourself, come up positive, and you have no symptoms or mild symptoms, you should call 1922 to report that you have COVID and then follow their instructions. You will most likely be told to isolate until you recover. Do not go to a hospital or clinic. Elderly people (75+) or babies (2 and under) may still be sent to a hospital, even with mild or no conditions.
If you have serious conditions, such as strong chest pain or trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.
If you suspect you may have come into contact with a COVID case, do not go to a hospital for testing; the hospitals are overwhelmed and have asked people not to do this.
Taiwan’s quarantine hotels are essentially regular hotels that have adopted all the protocol in order to qualify as quarantine hotels. Choose carefully, as you’ll be stuck in the same room for the duration of your quarantine period!
Prices include three meals a day, which are brought to your room. Unfortunately, most of them only offer a full refund up to two days before arrival, so if you test positive at the airport and get sent to a government quarantine facility, you may not get all of your money back from the hotel. (Note: at least the government facilities are free).
How to Book a Quarantine Hotel
If you are arriving in Taiwan before October 13, 2022, you will still need to book a quarantine hotel.
There are so many hotels available that choosing one can be intimidating. Also, the Mr. Host site can be difficult to use (when I tried, the “check availability” on some hotels button didn’t work), and sometimes the final price or room features are different that what is first shown, which is frustrating.
However, the Mr. Host team is very helpful, and you can even message them with a list of things you are hoping for in a room (for example, window, balcony, adjoining rooms, children’s facilities) and they will give recommendations. Their staff is highly knowledgeable about current restrictions, and they publish some useful flowcharts explaining the quarantine process in Taiwan; follow their Facebook page linked above to see them.
You can also contact and book hotels directly. The government has prepared this website listing all the quarantine hotels by location across Taiwan. Unfortunately, they don’t provide emails or website links.
Two other sites where you can book Taiwan quarantine hotels are AsiaYo and KKDay. Don’t use regular booking sites like Booking dot com, which I normally recommend, for booking your quarantine stay in Taiwan.
If you find the quarantine hotel booking sites difficult to use (or the end results aren’t matching what showed when you originally search), you can always just use these sites to find hotels, then contact the hotels directly to book.
When contacting hotels, many will ask you to use the LINE app (which is universally used in Taiwan) to communicate, fill out necessary forms, etc, so you’ll definitely need to download that.
How Much is a Quarantine Hotel?
Deals on quarantine hotels can run as low as NTD500 per night, but this is not easy to find. 2000+ is the norm. It’s easier to find cheaper ones if you look outside of Taipei.
At the other end, they can easily cost well over NTD5000 per day, meaning you’d be dropping $55,000+ for your stay. For that price, why not book a trip to Hawaii? I recommend booking your quarantine room at least a month in advance.
Recommended Quarantine Hotels
The following are quarantine hotels that have come highly recommended by other travelers:
For families: Freedom Design Hotel (富立登國際大飯店), close to airport and offers various items needed for young children, such as cribs and bath tubs at no extra cost.
Another family-friendly option: Amba Songshan, adjoining rooms available
For those who can afford it: Hotel Proverbs, deluxe rooms have balconies, exercise equipment, and more.
Another luxury choice: Miramar Garden Taipei
Another option with balconies and exercise equipment: Chez Nous Da An
Low-budget quarantine hotel in Taipei for solo stay: Meander 1948 (pictured above)
What’s it Like Staying in a Quarantine Hotel (including the food!)
Quarantine hotel rooms vary quite a bit. Some are small windowless boxes, while others are luxurious, multi-room suites. The owner/staff may or may not speak English. They may provide you with the LINE address so you can communicate with them throughout your stay. Most provide all the information you need and a detailed list of rules for your stay.
Getting a room with a window is highly recommended for sanity’s sake, especially for those wishing to adjust to the time change after a long flight from around the world. Balconies are rarer in Taiwan, so you’ll have to pay more for a room that has one.
You’ll want to come prepared with ways to pass the time, especially with kids. Consider bringing a yoga mat for exercise and sticking to a regular schedule. Many people have reported that the meal time becomes their favorite, most exciting part of the day. Is this what prison is like?
Some of the most common complaints about quarantine hotels are about the food. I’ve seen a lot of pictures, and the food looks fine to me. It’s mostly Taiwanese, so you can expect sandwiches or steamed buns for breakfast, lots of lunchboxes (a bed of rice with veggies, meats, eggs, tofu, etc. on top), noodles, soups, and the like. Those with dietary restrictions of course should inform the hotel in advance and they will cater to it.
Some people get tired of eating Asian-style food every day, but the biggest issue is that the food comes lukewarm at best, or often cold. Microwaves are rare in Taiwan, so don’t expect one in your room unless it is explicitly stated. Many people say they wish they’d brought in a hot plate, or actually did (this may not technically be allowed). I’ve ever heard of people using things like hair straighteners to warm up their food.
You’re allowed to order food and groceries to your room. The most common delivery services are Food Panda and Uber Eats. Some hotels many only allow you to order at specific times, or they’ll hold it until that time (so it will be cold). Most hotels also allow you to receive packages from friends or family on the outside, but some many check them for prohibited items before giving them to you.
Is alcohol allowed in quarantine hotels?
Most quarantine hotels technically don’t allow alcohol in the quarantine rooms. That means you can’t order liquor in with your groceries, nor can friends drop it off for you. However, some quarantine hotels DO allow it. If you really want to be able to, you can ask hotels about their alcohol policy before booking. I would say there’s a good chance this would be easier to find outside of Taipei.
Having said that, hotels won’t check your luggage when you arrive, so you can take the chance bringing some hard liquor or wine in them.
Note that government quarantine facilities (where you’re sent if you test positive) are stricter, and may actually check your luggage and confiscate prohibited items.
If you’re quarantining at home, you can of course enjoy whatever drinks you want, so long as you know someone nice enough to drop them off for you. You can’t order liquor online.
Applying for a Quarantine Subsidy
When Taiwan first started its mandatory, self-paid hotel quarantine system, the government offered subsidies (around NT1000/day/person) to everyone who underwent it.
Now, however, it’s much more difficult to get one. Only Taiwanese citizens can apply, and they need to demonstrate a very compelling reason they had to leave the country, for example treatment of a life-threatening disease that can’t be done in Taiwan. You also can’t be earning income while in quarantine, among other rules. In other words, don’t hold out any hope for getting one.
Having said that, we recently found out that we actually do qualify because we left Taiwan before COVID started and haven’t been back since. So if you find yourself in this case as well (citizen or ARC holder, left Taiwan before COVID started, coming back and quarantining in a hotel, not earning income while you quarantine), you may be in luck. Also note: if you feel you qualified for the subsidy in the past, you can apply for it up to six months after the quarantine time. In the end, we didn’t get it, because we ended up staying in a friend’s empty apartment instead of a quarantine hotel.
Quarantining at Home
Ever since mid-March, 2022, people have been allowed to quarantine at their home in Taiwan instead of a quarantine hotel. At first, there was a “one person per residence” rule (exception: travelers with children), but in early April 2022, this was further loosened to “one person per room”. In other words, two people arriving together can quarantine together, as long as they arrived in Taiwan together, or even on different flights but the same day. No one else can be allowed into the house though, including family members who lived there before you arrived.
As of early September, you are allowed to do the second part of your quarantine (the 4 days) in a house with others, as long as you have your own room and bathroom. As of September 29, you can do the whole quarantine (3 + days) in a house with other people, as long as you have your own room and bathroom. From October 13, all these rules are dropped.
How to Quarantine at a Residence in Taiwan
If you’d like to quarantine in your apartment in Taiwan, or even that of a friend, the apartment must abide by the following:
- No one else can be in it during your stay, unless they arrived with you and you are quarantining together.
- The apartment has to have its own number. For example, there are many illegal top-floor apartments in Taipei. Their number is the same as the apartment below them. These do not qualify.
- The apartment has to have its own entrance. For example, if you have to walk into someone else’s house/apartment in order to access the staircase to that apartment, it doesn’t qualify.
- Communal staircase or elevator up to the main door of your apartment (like most residential buildings in Taipei have) are fine.
- The apartment can be anywhere in Taiwan, but you’ll have to pay the set fee for taxi transportation to get there from the airport where you arrive.
- There’s nothing else you have to do besides provide the address, and nobody will come to check on it. However, I’ve heard of people being forced to leave their apartment and check into a quarantine facility because of the apartment number issue.
- Note that the government will track your location during this time using your phone, and leaving your residence (even just stepping outside the door) can incur a huge fine. There have been several cases of people receiving enormous fines for leaving their residence during quarantine; one of them just walked down the hall.
Are Airbnbs Allowed for Quarantine?
In the first few months of Taiwan’s COVID quarantine system, staying in an Airbnb was a popular choice. However, it was never technically allowed. In fact, Airbnbs aren’t even legal in Taiwan. So no, Airbnbs are definitely not allowed for quarantining now, and unlike before, they now actively make sure people aren’t staying in them. Staying in a friend’s of family’s place, however, is fine, as long as those people stay away for the duration of your quarantine, and the apartment complies with all the above-mentioned criteria.
Well, I hope you’ve found answers to all your questions about Taiwan’s travel entry requirements and quarantine system. If you’ve still got questions, please comment below or join my Taiwan Travel Planning group and ask there to get the fastest answer!