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Above: The sun rises over Yu Shan Mountain.

Useful Links

Visas

Do I need a visa to enter Taiwan?

If you enter on a US passport, you can stay in Taiwan for 60 days. You can get up to 2 extensions at the local police station, but after 180 days, you must leave Taiwan. You can make a "visa run", where you go to Hong Kong in the morning, then take a flight immediately back to Taiwan to make it to your night classes. The Hong Kong<->Taiwan route is the most traveled route in Asia and there are many flights per day. I've only flown Cathay Pacific and Eva Air to Hong Kong.

Reminder if you fly Cathay Pacific for a visa run!

If you fly into Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific and on your return flight, when you check in, they may make you buy another ticket back to Hong Kong if you are using a visitor visa to enter Taiwan. Cathay Pacific told me that because you are entering Taiwan on a visitor visa, you need a ticket out of Taiwan so it seems like you are only visiting. I guess this makes sense, but no one carrier does this. The good thing is that you can get a refund for the airfare, however Cathay will NOT deduct the $20 service charge for booking the ticket you didn't need or want.

Each time I have entered Taiwan, the immigration officials have never asked for proof that I would leave. Maybe it was a language thing?

What do you need to do to get a work visa?

A Taiwan company (or language school) must sponsor you for your work visa, this requires paying an application fee, passport sized photos and a medical examination. The medical examination requires a urine, feces and blood sample. Talk about thourough! The Taiwan government will use the specimens to test for drugs and HIV.

My Alien Resident Certificate (ARC)

What if I don’t have a work visa?

Many expatriates ("expats") living in Taiwan and in Asia work without a visa. The only problem is that if you are caught working without a work visa, you can be arrested, and then deported from Taiwan. This will result in you being disqualified from returning.

What are the benefits of having a work visa?

Having a work visa does have it’s benefits though. With a work visa you can:

  • Freely enter and leave Taiwan
  • Alien Resident Certificate
  • Access to the national healthcare system
  • Peace of mind of not worrying about working illegally and getting deported.