Visas and Permanent Residency in Taiwan


Visa-free Entry

Visitors from most North American and European countries don’t need a visa to visit Taiwan, and will be granted a 90-day visa-free stay upon arrival.

The government recently loosened rules for most residents of other East and Southeast Asian nations in its New Southbound Policy in an effort to replace declining visitor arrivals from mainland China. In most cases, travelers are required to have an international travel history and an onward ticket. The length of the visa-free stays varies depending on the country. Visitors from nations that previously required a visa should check with Taiwan immigration to confirm requirements for visa-free stays.

Most airlines will ask if you have a return or onward ticket before you check in for your flight to Taiwan. For the visa-free stay, travelers are required to have an onward ticket. You should have the onward ticket printed out — airlines may not allow you to board your flight without a printed ticket out of Taiwan. Many Westerners have never been asked about such travel plans at immigration at Taoyuan Airport, but it’s best to have a return or onward ticket even if you plan on staying for the full 90 days.

Obtaining Residency

The landing visa can be converted to a residence permit. If you are offered a job after entering Taiwan, you will be required to obtain a physical visitor visa, which will be immediately cancelled to process the residence permit.

If you plan to live and work in Taiwan, you will need to obtain an alien resident certificate (ARC) through the National Immigration Agency. In many cases (for US and EU citizens), it is possible to arrive on a landing visa and have it converted into an ARC after obtaining employment.

Many employers will handle the process of converting a landing visa to an ARC. Most cram schools, however, will only provide the paperwork for you to take the National Immigration Agency to handle the process yourself.

The government recently enacted laws requiring foreign employees to submit official background checks (otherwise known as police clearance forms, or morality certificates) from their home countries in order to obtain an ARC. In the case of US citizens, an FBI background check is required.

The current cost of an ARC for one year is NT$1,000 in cash. After the first year, it can be renewed for a two-year period.

If your employment contract is terminated, you must go to the National Immigration Agency with a stamped copy of your termination letter within 10 days or leave Taiwan within that time. At immigration, you can request a six-month extension to your ARC in order to look for employment.

Information about the requirements for the ARC can be found on their website.

For long-term residents of Taiwan, an APRC is available. This residence permit allows a foreign resident to remain in Taiwan without employer sponsorship. Foreigners with an APRC may work for any employer without altering their status.

The requirements for an APRC include that the applicant “legally and continuously resided in the State for five years and has stayed for more than one hundred and eighty-three days each year, or the alien spouse and/or children of a national with valid household registration in the Taiwan Area who have legally resided in the State for ten years.”

Additional information on APRC requirements can be found on their website.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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