Reminder issued by MOFA about travel to Europe
by Shih Hsiu-chuan
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday reminded the public to check they have applied for the correct visa before traveling to Europe.
The ministry issued the reminder following the EU's announcement on Wednesday that it would abolish travel borders with nine new members: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Starting next month, the EU will abolish checks at internal land and sea borders, while checks at airports for those traveling between the new states and the rest of the EU will be abolished by March.
The nine states will be included under the Schengen visa, which now covers Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
All of these are EU members except Norway and Iceland. The Schengen visa is not valid in European countries that are not party to the Schengen Agreement.
With 24 countries to be covered by the Schengen visa, "this will make travel to Europe more convenient," said Sung Wen-cheng (宋文城), Deputy Director of the Department of European Affairs.
Sung said travelers should remember that the Schengen visa is only valid for three months.
"People who plan to work, study or take up residence in Schengen countries for more than this amount of time still need to apply for visas from the country of destination," he said.
Sung said the ministry hoped Schengen countries without offices in Taiwan would open an office or entrust representative offices of other Schengen countries.
"For example, Greece doesn't have representative office here, but it has commissioned the Spanish representative office in Taipei to deal with visa applications," Sung said.
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