Click here to find out more!
Welcome to the complete guide for obtaining a visa for Taiwan!
Here are the subjects that I will consider in this article:
- Do you need a visa to visit Taiwan?
- How to obtain a visitor’s visa;
- How to obtain a student visa for Taiwan;
- How to obtain a work permit and a resident’s visa;
- How to get a family reunification visa;
- How to get a permanent resident certificate (APRC).
Do I need a visa to visit Taiwan?
If you have a passport from a country belonging to the European Union, or an Icelandic, Israeli, Japanese, New Zealand, Norwegian, Swiss, or American passport, or a passport from Liechtenstein or the Principality of Monaco, then you can enter Taiwan without a visa and stay for a maximum of 90 consecutive days.
If you have an Australian, Canadian, Korean, Malaysian or Singaporean passport you can enter Taiwan without a visa and stay for a maximum of 30 consecutive days.
Even if you don’t need a visa, to enter Taiwan you must still satisfy the following requirements:
- Own a passport that is valid for at least six months.
- Own a return-trip air ticket.
- Have a clean police record in Taiwan.
Those with an Indian, Thai, Filipino, Indonesian, or Vietnamese passport that have a resident’s permit or a valid visa for Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand or Australia can enter Taiwan without a Taiwanese visa and stay for a maximum of 30 consecutive days so long as they meet the criteria listed above and possess an Authorization Certificate, that can be requested online at Taiwanese Immigration Office web site.
How to obtain a visitor’s visa (tourist or business)
If you own a passport for a country that I haven’t already listed or if you would like to stay in Taiwan for a period longer than the exemption (from 30 to 90 days) then you must apply for a visa at a Taiwanese consulate or office of representation (you’ll find the entire list here). These visas are granted to those who come to Taiwan for tourism, business, schooling, work, marriage or family reunification.
A visitor’s visa lasts between 15 to 90 days (depending on your home country). So long as it does not contain the wording “No extension”, it may be able to be renewed another two times in Taiwan, for a maximum length of 180 days.
Here are the necessary documents:
- A copy of the application form, that you must fill out online at site of consular affairs of Taiwan, print and sign.
- Two recent photos (passport format).
- The passport and a photocopy of it (valid for a period of at least six months).
- A letter from the company you work for (necessary only for business visas).
- Any other document they might ask of you.
A visitor visa costs 50 USD (160 if you own an American passport), is issued within one business day and expires if it is not used within 90 days of the date of issue.
It is also possible to apply for a multiple visa with a maximum length of 60 days for every entry. That visa costs 100 USD (160 if you have an American passport).
Student visa: Necessary Requirements
These are the necessary documents to apply for a student visa in Taiwan:
- A copy of the application form, which you must fill out online at Web site for Taiwanese consular affairs, print and sign.
- Two recent photos (passport format).
- Your passport along with a photocopy of it (valid for a period of at least six months).
- A copy of your airline ticket.
- An admission certificate issued from a linguistic center affiliated with a university or from an institute accredited by the Taiwanese Ministry of Education. You would then be able to enter Taiwan without a visa and stay for 90 consecutive days.
- A study plan.
- A bank statement or another document that proves that you have the economic ability to provide for yourself in Taiwan.
The visa allows you to stay in Taiwan for 60 days (but may be renewed while there), costs 50 USD (160 if you have an American passport), is issued within one business day and expires if not used within 90 days from the date of issue.
If you intend to stay for a maximum of 180 days, you can renew your visa two times (so long as you remain enrolled in the school). If instead you intend to remain more than 180 days, apply for a resident visa (and an Alien Resident Card, ARC). The resident visa and ACR can be requested beginning with your 121st day in Taiwan on your student visa.
Important: while in the past it was possible to obtain a student visa and stay in Taiwan also for long periods without going to school, today it is no longer possible: to get – and renew – a tourist visa, you must enroll in a course of at least 15 hours a week. If you skip 11 or more hours of lessons in a month, the immigration office will refuse to renew your visa.
Here are the necessary documents to renew your student visa:
- Document of enrollment from the school.
- Document showing the hours you were in class the month before renewal.
- Document showing the hours you were in class the month of the renewal (necessary only if you are renewing your visa after the fifteenth of the month).
- Passport and photocopy of the passport.
How can I get a work permit, a resident VISA and an ARC?
We’ve already seen how one can get a resident visa and an ARC (Alien Resident Card, or the document that allows you to enter and exit Taiwan without needing other visas, to live there, to enter the national health system, etc) as a student. If however you intend to work in Taiwan, the procedure is a bit different.
In particular you must arrive in Taiwan (for example on a visitor or work visa, for which an invitation is necessary), find a job, get a work permit (which you must get from your Taiwanese employer, how it goes in China), get permission to live in Taiwan long-term (or a resident visa, which again would come through your employer) and, lastly, obtain an ARC (which you can apply for at the immigration office once you have your work permit and resident visa). Many foreigners come to Taiwan to teach foreign languages.
Important: The only way to legally work in Taiwan is to have a work permit. As was already mentioned, it is your employer that must request the permit, presenting their business license, your contract, your resume and your passport to the Labor Department. To get the permit requires several weeks, and until you get it, you can’t work.
If you found work before coming to Taiwan (perhaps you found it on the internet) you can ask your employer to request your permit right away so that it will be ready when you get there. In this case you can begin working right away.
One last note: a work permit is valid only for the company that has requested it. In the event that you wish to change jobs, you must first find a new employer that will request another permit on your behalf.
Can I get a visa while I’m already in Taiwan?
Yes, in certain circumstances it is possible to come to Taiwan without a visa, obtain a work permit and apply for a visitor visa. When applying for your ARC you must however change your visa (from a visitor visa to a resident visa).
Joint Family Residence Visa (JFRV)
If you are married to a Taiwanese resident you can apply for a Joint Family Residence Visa (JFRV). If more than simply living in Taiwan, your wife (or your husband) is also a Taiwanese citizen, then the JFRV also gives you permission to work.
Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC)
If you manage to keep your ARC for five continuous years (as an employee, not as a student) or your JFRV, then you may get an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC). This document will allow you to reside in Taiwan and work at your leisure without requiring an employer to sponsor you.
Click here to find out more!
[Photo Credits (Flickr Commons): www.flickr.com/photos/tza/, www.flickr.com/photos/jennifer-kecl/]