Taiwan Bound -Navigating Taoyuan Airport and the ever-changing quarantine policy

I had a chance to visit US for a business trip in early June. The thought of flying was nerve-wrecking and exhilarating at the time. Leaving Taiwan wasn’t too complicated because there’s no need to quarantine in the US. Coming back to Taiwan, however, is another story. Originally, I booked the quarantine hotel for 7 days and was mentally preparing myself for my first quarantine experience. Little did I know that the government was going to shorten the quarantine date just 1 day after my arrival day. Quarantine was going to be shortened from 7 days to 3 days. I miss it by 1 day… 1 day! I was determined to do whatever it took to shorten my quarantine time. Since flights coming back from Seattle did not run daily, I decided to fly out of LAX. I had to pay extra for rebooking my flight and also transfer to LAX. It was all going to be worth it in my opinion.

According to the new quarantine rule, you quarantine for the first 3 days and for the next 4 days, you can leave your quarantine place, IF you have a negative rapid test result. You should only go outside to make essential errand runs or meetings. Huh??? …… Confused? Yeah, me too. For those of you who can read Chinese, here’re some QAs that tells you the dos and don’ts.

In principle, you should do entire 3+4 quarantine at the same location. However, you can move to a new location (return home) after the initial 3 days and finish the 4 days there. You can only move IF you get approval from CDC. Your friends and family can NOT stay with you in the same apartment. On the 4th day of quarantine, if you get a negative test result, then you are allowed to leave your quarantine place to attend meetings, work and/or buy groceries. You should avoid public transportation and need to wear a mask at all times.

Today is the first day since they shortened the quarantine days, and at the airport it was busy at 6am. With the more relaxed rule, it just seems more people are heading to Taiwan for the summer. Here’s my recommendation on how to make arrival easier

  1. Have in advance a Taiwan SIM card. If you don’t have one or have access to a Taiwan number, you need to join another long line to purchase it first.
  2. Fill out the Quarantine System Entry form in advance so you don’t have to wait in a long que to have it fill out on paper. You can fill it out here – https://hdhq.mohw.gov.tw/ It’s a long form that asks a lot of detailed questions about your trip and your quarantine accommodation. When the form is filled out, you will get a confirmation with all your information. You will need to present this, along with your passport, negative COVID test results to the officers at check point.

After getting through all the paperwork for quarantine, the hardest part is done. You can go through immigration, get your luggage, and then go outside. No not leaving yet. One more thing, you have to follow get tested for COVID. Just follow the signs to a testing area. Testing is just spitting into a cup.

After you hand the cup back to nurse, you don’t even have to wait for the results, you can just go! Starting from 6/15, travelers can be picked up by friends and family so you can avoid the long que at the taxi stand. Friends and family can even come inside to hang out!

And just like that – I’ve checked into my quarantine hotel and I’ll post about that later. Today I’m at Day 0 of my quarantine. The airport staff said they are seeing more travelers coming back as the quarantine restrictions loosen. As much as I love to complain about the TW quarantine policy, one thing we can all agree on that it’s moving towards the right direction.

And for those parents contemplating on coming back to Taiwan for the summer – we still have space at Fun Taiwan Camp: Immersive Mandarin Learning 2022 – Fun Taiwan Kids. See you in Taiwan soon!


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