Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) Taiwan will reopen its borders in March to around 5,000 international language students who do not hold the Ministry of Education's (MOE's) Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, the ministry has announced.
The new regulations will apply to non-scholarship students wishing to study Mandarin in Taiwan for at least six months, and universities can start making applications on behalf of students from Feb. 14, according to the ministry.
The entry dates have been scheduled to avoid an influx of passengers around the busy Lunar New Year travel period, the ministry said.
Eligible students must present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within three days of boarding their flight, and must also take a PCR test upon arrival and before the end of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.
After quarantine, students will be required to follow self-health management guidelines for another seven days and take a rapid COVID-19 self-test before they can set foot on a school campus, the ministry added.
Following an unprecedented surge in domestic COVID-19 cases last year, Taiwan banned the entry of all arrivals except for citizens and legal residents beginning May 19, 2021.
International students who have been accepted to higher education institutes for programs lasting a year or more are usually eligible for an Alien Residency Certificate (ARC), and as a student can only apply for and obtain an ARC in Taiwan, the current restrictions mainly affect newly enrolled students who are still overseas.
Taiwan began to grant entry for international students without an ARC in late August, although only to those enrolled in degree programs at Taiwanese universities or who have received the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Taiwan Scholarship or the MOE's Huayu Enrichment Scholarship.
Under current rules, non-scholarship language students are still barred from entering Taiwan, regardless of the length of their program.