A Complete Guide to Every Resident Visa in Taiwan (Updated 2021)

11th Fleet
19 min readMay 24, 2021

Written By: Kaya Lemaire

Sorting out your visa in Taiwan can be a real pain. As a foreigner in Taiwan, it’s easy to feel like the system is working against you.

We love Taiwan, however the bureaucracy, not so much.

That being said, there are many visas for the different situations foreigners find themselves in. So, if you’re struggling to figure out which visa is right for you, take a peek at this guide and follow your rainbow to the pot of “legal status” in Taiwan. BUT if you already know what type of visa service you need guidance in, please refer to this page for our list of visa services.

What’s Inside:
1. Studying Mandarin Chinese
2. Foreign Students
3. Entrepreneur Visa
a. Individual
b. Team
4. Gold Card
5. Overseas Chinese Students
6. Studying Religious Doctrine
7. Religious Work
8. Foreign Exchange Students (>6 months)
9. Minor UnderAge 20 Joining Parents or Grandparents
10. Foreign Spouses
a. With Household Registration
b. Without Household Registration
11. Internship Purpose
12. White Collar Worker
13. Plum Blossom Card
​ 14. Foreign Professional Artist Visa
15. Job Seeker Visa / ARC Extension
BONUS: Applying for your ARC

Before you dive in, here are some important links and documents to reference during your visa journey:

  • Fees for visas and renewals in Taiwan
  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA)
  • Immigration (NIA)
  • Ministry of Labor (MOL)
  • The Investment Commission (MOEAIC)
  • Ministry of the Interior (MOI)
  • BOCA’s e-visa website
  • TECO Offices abroad

I should also note that if your documents are not in English or Chinese you’ll have to get them translated and authenticated by TECO (overseas or within Taiwan)

And if your visa application is through BOCA, you can use the e-visa application link above to start your application process.

Resident Visas in Taiwan

​Being a Resident in Taiwan gives you the honor of paying taxes, access to NHI (If you are holding the work permit or have been living in Taiwan for over 6 months with your ARC), and an ARC (multiple re-entry permit). This allows you to stay in Taiwan over 180 days in the country and leave at will.

For most of the visas listed below, you will have to submit your application and documents to BOCA. Check the link in the introduction for all the office locations in Taiwan and abroad.

There are 15 types of Resident Visa outlined below. Time to find out if you qualify!

Studying Mandarin Chinese
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes Renewable: Yes
Governing Body: MOE, BOCA

​Things to note
- This visa does not count towards your APRC
- You can work when you have this visa, as long as you have studied for a year with a language center

Foreigners can enter Taiwan with the intent to study Chinese. At first, you’ll hold a visitor visa and will later on become eligible for a resident visa if you:
- Have already studied for 4 months consecutively
- Are enrolled for another 3 months (minimum)
- Have not missed more than a quarter of your classes

You can go to your nearest BOCA at least 8 working days before your visa expires to renew, without having to leave Taiwan.

For all the nitty-gritty details and requirements, check out BOCA’s list and start your application using their e-visa portal.

Once you get your shiny, new resident visa for studying Chinese, you will have to apply for an ARC. Check the last section in this article for step-by-step instructions. You can also ask about your NHI coverage when you go into the NIA to submit your ARC application.

If you’re interested in working part-time you will have to apply for a work permit to work legally in Taiwan. However, ONLY foreign students who are studying a degree program, can work for up to 20 hours a week unless it is during the summer or winter vacation. During these times, you can exceed 20 hours per week. If you are a foreign student studying mandarin, then the student must be studying the course for more than a year before they can apply for a work permit. To apply for a work permit, you can submit your application to the Ministry of Labor.

Foreign Students
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes, your school can help you
Renewable: Yes
Governing Body: MOE, BOCA

Things to note:
- This does not count towards your APRC
- Finding work after studying can be a challenge in Taiwan
- Graduates of Taiwanese universities have different privileges when finding work

Students, listen up! If you want to get Resident status in Taiwan, you need to be studying full time at a recognized institution. However, the student ARC does not count towards the 5 years to get your APRC (permanent resident card)

Foreigners who want to study in Taiwan can apply from within or outside of the country. In Taiwan your place of registration would be BOCA. If you’re applying from outside, find your nearest Taiwan overseas mission (TECO).

All the requirements for your application are outlinedhere.

Once you have been approved and have arrived in Taiwan, you’ll need to apply for your ARC with the NIA and enroll in National Health Insurance.

If you are currently studying in Taiwan and want to get a work permit or do an internship, apply easily through the MOL’s EZ work portal.

If you are about to graduate or graduated recently, you might be looking for work. You are not alone. Many graduates experience some difficulty when looking for a job once they finish their studies.

You are eligible to work if you meet the requirements, however, they have made the requirements somewhat difficult to fulfill.

Students Who Has a Bachelor’s Degree In Taiwan
You are eligible for the Work Permit under the Point System. If you fulfill 70 points or more.

It’s possible to fulfill 70 points if you’ve gotten a bachelor’s degree in Taiwan, but it’s a time-consuming process. That said, be mindful if you are looking to switch your visa in a short timeframe.

Here is a summary of the requirements found in this PDF:
- You cannot apply for this type of work permit if you don’t have at least a bachelor’s degree from Taiwan
- The employment salary / job qualifications can be given by the person or company who wants to hire you
- If you maintain a 60% average throughout your bachelor’s degree you will automatically qualify for the Chinese language proficiency (show report card and grades for proof)
- Using your foreign passport will qualify you for the “foreign language proficiency” points
- As long as you lived in another country for 6 straight years you qualify for “overseas experience”

If you can tick all of these off, then you are more or less at 70 points and can qualify for this type of work permit. You can also start a job with a work permit provided by a registered company.

Foreigners Who Didn’t Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Taiwan

You can get hired by a company that is eligible to provide work permits. The types of work that foreigners can engage in are listed here.

The requirements for working in Taiwan are tricky to fulfill for a student just finishing up their studies. It’s unlikely you’ll have years of full time experience in a profession already or special certificates.

Yet, it is possible that a company (who is willing) can hire foreign nationals and recent graduates who don’t meet all the requirements. Listed here on the EZ Work website you can see all the conditions that are flexible (“exempt from the requirements”).

The exemptions include:
- Applicant doesn’t need 2 years of work experience (as long as they have a bachelor’s degree)
- The company doesn’t need to have a certain amount of capital / revenue
- Foreigners applying for managerial positions don’t need a certain amount of capital / revenue
- Industry-specific exemptions (check site for more details)

Check the link above for more detailed information on the exemptions and see if the job you’re after fits into any of the categories. If you find a willing employer and have a bachelor’s degree, you should be able to acquire a work permit within certain conditions.

The Entrepreneur Visa
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes, after 6 months
Renewable: Yes, but it’s a challenge
​Governing Body: MOEAIC, BOCA

Things to note:
- The Entrepreneur Visa is given for one year, at which point you have to reapply for your second year
- Getting the second year has specific requirements
- This is not an open work permit — you are meant to be starting your own business

There are two streams that you can use to apply for the Entrepreneur Visa. One is with an individual application, the other is with a team.

Both can be applied from within or outside of Taiwan, the only amendment being for Hong Kong or Macao residents: “They are advised to submit their application to the Bureau of Hong Kong Affairs or Bureau of Macao Affairs, Mainland Affairs Council of R.O.C. (Taiwan). The overseas mission will pass the application on to the Investment Commission, MOEA for examination.”

The Entrepreneur Visa is valid for one year and provides you with an ARC. You are only eligible for NHI after 183 days of Entrepreneur status.

I’ll preface this by saying: it’s pretty difficult to get your second year approved. There are requirements that are hard to meet if you are trying to get a business up and running in a year.

Let’s dive in
All Hands Taiwan created an article outlining common questions and hurdles regarding the Entrepreneur Visa, and also echoes that getting your second year is a challenge.

That being said, it’s not unheard of for an Entrepreneur to get their second year approved.

When you go to apply you will need to download and fill out the application form and letter of intent (find them here), along with the other necessary documents.

Some important things to note for the Entrepreneur Visa:

Unless you register a business, you can’t charge clients or give invoices You technically can’t work for other people, but there have been some cases where employers requested permission to employ entrepreneurs and it has worked You need to apply with the Investment Commission (MOEAIC)

Individual Applicant
You can apply if you fulfill one of these conditions:

1. Acquired over NT$2 million in business investments from a domestic/overseas investment business, or an international funding platform recognized by the government.

2. Obtained acceptance into an innovative entrepreneurship park or an incubation center operated directly or in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), or an incubation center evaluated as excellent by the MOEA within the past three years.

This is the most common way that foreigners get the Entrepreneur Visa. You can register with a startup or a co-working space, like Futureward, who will help sponsor your application. You still have to pay for the visa yourself. Check out these organizations that are eligible to sponsor your application.

3. Acquired overseas or domestic patents.

4. Participated in and received awards from domestic or overseas entrepreneur or design competitions, or successfully applied for participation in government-promoted projects for foreign entrepreneurs in Taiwan.

5. Established a new business in Taiwan that meets the innovative capabilities criteria, served as the person in charge of the business, and invested over NT$1 million.

A Team

If you and your business partners want to apply for the Entrepreneur Visa as a team, you need to fulfill one of the requirements within category A or B:

A. Has not established a business in Taiwan See “individual applicant” section above.

B. Has established a business in Taiwan
1. A team member must have established a new business in Taiwan that meets the innovative capabilities criteria; served as the person in charge or the director, supervisor, managing director, or manager of the business; and invested over NT$1 million.

Investment Visa
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: Yes, on a case-by-case basis
Governing Body: MOEAIC, BOCA

Things to note:
- You need to maintain your investment and stay in Taiwan 183 days of the year if you want to keep this visa
- There are different brackets for investment amounts and their benefits vary

This type of visa is useful for foreigners with a lot of capital and an interest in investing in the Taiwanese economy. You need to invest 200,000 USD or more to be eligible for this visa.

There is a long list of documents and instructions for your application which you can check out here. But if you’re ready to start the process, you need to reference MOEIAC’s page for more detailed instructions.

The application process will go through BOCA, but your investment will be authorized by MOEAIC. Make sure you check out the relevant documents for each of these institutions before applying.

It is a long and somewhat complicated application process, so I would recommend speaking to a representative or attorney about all the nitty-gritty details. 11th fleet offers services to help you with the application process, even if you’re in quarantine.

The Gold Card
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: No, you would have to start a new application
Governing Body: NIA, MOI

Things to note:
- The Economic route is notorious for being the “easiest” to get, as long as you have made 160,000 NTD in a month sometime in the last 3 years, then you will be qualified to apply.
- If you’re applying for the other streams, make sure you have all your evidence documented or it won’t hold up
- The Gold Card Office is a very helpful resource, ask them anything!

*At the time of writing, there has been a huge influx of Gold Card applications due to COVID-19 and so the processing time has increased significantly.
The Gold Card is a 4-in-1 visa that gives you re-entry privileges, residency, an open work permit, and an ARC. You can choose to apply for a 1–3 year visa in a number of different categories.

Those include:

The application process is a bit different than other visas. You can access the online application portal here, but before you do, you should check out the wealth of information on the Taiwan Gold Card website.

The “easiest” way to get the Gold Card is by showing that you have made over 160,000 NTD one month in the last 3 years (with proof). However, this has become more strict due to the amount of people taking advantage of this during COVID-19.

As of recently, they may be requiring applicants to justify their professional experience when applying.

If you have any questions, they have probably been asked and answered in this FAQ, so go take a peek!

Overseas Chinese Students
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: Yes
Governing Body: MOE, BOCA
Things to note
Those who enter on a visitor visa and then apply for a resident visa pay an extra cost of 800 NTD on top of the usual visa fee You must be enrolled as a full time student to be eligible

Mainland Chinese students can come to Taiwan to study. You need to apply with BOCA or your Taiwan overseas mission.

You can check BOCA’s website for the specific requirements based on whether you are a university, high school, or other student planning to study in Taiwan.

Studying Religious Doctrine
ARC:
Yes NHI: Yes
Renewable: Yes
Governing Body: MOI, BOCA

Things to note:
- You can only apply from this visa outside of Taiwan at your overseas mission, however, a religious institution can apply for you from within the country
- Can’t exceed 10 years on this visa

You can only apply for this visa from outside of Taiwan at a registered overseas mission, or a mission with jurisdiction over your country of residence. If you are already in Taiwan and want to change your visa, you’ll need to leave and return to study religious doctrine.

The length of this visa is decided by BOCA and can be renewed, but can’t exceed 10 years.

Based on what the MOI has written on their website, religious groups can also apply for a foreigner to come and study with them in Taiwan. Check the link for more details on the requirements.

If you are applying as an individual you can check BOCA’s site for more details and requirements.

Religious Work
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: Yes
Governing Body: BOCA

Things to note
- You need 2 years of experience in a religious field in order to apply
- You must be invited by a religious organization
- If you are abroad, visit your overseas mission to get started with your application

For this type of visa you need to be invited by a religious organization to come and work in Taiwan. The applicant must have 2 years of work experience in a religious capacity prior to applying.

It’s not completely clear whether you have to leave Taiwan and then return if you initially arrived on a Visitor Visa. If you are already in Taiwan you should speak directly with the NIA to find out whether you can transfer your Visitor Visa to a Resident Visa.

Approval will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Applicants can find the necessary documents on BOCA’s site and begin the process with their religious organization.

Foreign Exchange students (>6 months)
​ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: Yes
Governing Body: MOE, BOCA

Things to note:
- When you enter as a foreign exchange student, you will be considered a “visitor” for the first 6 months
- You have to change your visa to stay past 183 days in the country
- You can find the application process here

As a foreign exchange student you are only eligible for Resident status if you stay in Taiwan for more than 183 days.

The application process is relatively simple. You only need to take your documents and application form to the BOCA office closest to you. Make sure you double check exactly what you need and that your passport is valid for the amount of time you are staying in Taiwan.

You will need to apply for your Resident Visa AT LEAST 8 working days before your Visitor Visa expires. Here is a list of the required documents and procedures.

After you get your Resident Visa approved you will need to visit the NIA and apply for your IC card (residence card). However, if you’re in quarantine or would rather do this online to avoid the lineup, the NIA has set up an online application process.

Minors Under Age 20 Joining Parents or Grandparents
​ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: No, dependent on the primary resident
Governing Body: BOCA

Things to note:
- This Family Visa is valid for 3 months at which point the applicant will have to renew for a maximum of 6 months
- To stay in Taiwan for longer than 6 months, you must apply for an ARC within 15 days of your arrival
- Family with ARC: To work, the family applicant needs to obtain their own work permit
- Family who is Taiwanese: The family applicant is given an open work permit with their ARC

As a family member of a Taiwanese citizen or Resident in Taiwan, you can apply for this residency status while abroad or from within Taiwan. Use the e-visa portal to complete and print off your application before submitting it with the other documents.

There are different conditions depending on your family’s status. Take a peek at the relevant sections below

Foreigners Without Household Registration
There are a number of Resident Visas that allow dependents to join them and live in Taiwan.

Here is BOCA’s list of requirements and conditions for dependents who want to join their family in Taiwan. Every case is different and it will depend on your country of residence and the visa situation of your dependents on arrival.

All resident visas are potentially eligible to welcome their dependents and spouses, but the NIA will decide in the end whether they can stay under your ARC

Family With Household Registration
If a minor is joining a Taiwanese family member, the family must have household registration in Taiwan. You will be applying for the Taiwan Join Family Resident Visa (JFRV).

Your family will likely apply for this visa in the district of your registered address. The list of requirements are linked above and are almost the same as those without household registration

Foreign Spouses
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: No, based on spouse’s status
Governing Body: BOCA

Things to note
- If you are from a country eligible for visa-waiver entry into the R.O.C. (Taiwan) there is no need for a health exam
​- Foreign spouses can apply for permanent residence, if they live in Taiwan for: 1 whole year without exiting, 2 consecutive years with minimum 270 days per year in the country, or 5 consecutive years with minimum 183 days per year in the country
​- Permanent residence for spouses of Taiwanese nationals is determined on a case-by-case basis
- For more information in slightly-difficult-to-understand wording, check theMOI’s FAQ
​- MOL has resources for new spouses looking for work in Taiwan, linked here.

Spouses Without Household Registration
You fall under this category if your spouse is one of these: R.O.C.(Taiwan) Citizens Without Household Registration, Foreigners, Hong Kong Residents, Macau Residents, or Mainland Chinese Citizens.

Get your application process started on BOCA’s e-visa site and then collect all your other documents to be submitted to BOCA.

If you would like to work in Taiwan as a manager or director, you’ll have to apply using the EZ work permit application system. For other types of work you can apply for a work permit with the MOL.

Spouses With Household Registration
You fall under this category if your spouse is: an R.O.C. (Taiwan) Citizen Having Household Registration. You will be applying for the “Taiwan Join Family Resident Visa (JFRV)”.

This application process is the same as dependents of Taiwanese citizens. The requirements and conditions can be found on BOCA’s site here.

With this type of visa you have an open work permit and don’t need to apply for your own work permit when you get a job.

Here is a link with the laws and regulations of household registration & citizenship in Taiwan, put out by the MOI.

Internship Purpose
ARC: Yes, if over 6 months
NHI: Yes
Renewable: Yes, dependent on contract
Governing Body: NIA, BOCA

Things to note:
- An interview might be required
- Length of stay and residency status depends on your contract

For this visa you can apply from inside Taiwan if you change your visa status. Otherwise, you can contact your local overseas mission in your country of residence. The fees involved and the application will depend on your specific internship contract.

If you are only staying in Taiwan with an internship for 6 months you are not eligible for residency, instead you’ll have a visitor visa. Your permit will be determined by the NIA.

For more details on the specific requirements, you can check BOCA’s website here.

White Collar Worker
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes, dependent on your employer
Renewable: Yes, dependent on your employer
Governing Body: MOE, MOL, BOCA

Things to note
- Your employer will apply for this visa for you
- Your visa is tied to your job, so if you quit or your contract terminates you will lose your Work permit and ARC, at which point you can apply for the Job Seeker Visa / ARC Extension

You can find the list of documents and conditions onBOCA’s site. Your employer will most likely advise you on the necessary documents and apply for you.

However, you will have to apply for the ARC yourself, once your work permit has been approved. Be sure you have all the necessary documents, which you can find here, and the NIA’s locations where you can go apply.

Check out the final section in this article for detailed instructions on how to apply!

If you are a teacher in the public school system you can refer to the MOE for information about contract terminations, holidays, and other laws & regulations.

Plum Blossom Card
ARC: Yes, it is an APRC
NHI: Yes Renewable: Not needed
​Governing Body: NIA

Things to note:
- This visa is not subject to the requirement of staying a minimum 183 days in the country in each year
- There are special requirements for this visa, see below

You are eligible for this visa if you are one of the following:
1. Foreigners who have made a special contribution to Taiwan
2. Foreigners who are senior professionals needed by Taiwan
3. Foreigners who are investment immigrants (different conditions than the investment visa)

Here is the link for more details to fully understand what these mean

The application form is written in detail along with all the necessary documents that you will need

You can submit all your documents to the NIA, but if your application involves some investments it can get tricky. I would recommend seeking guidance on this process, which 11th Fleet provides for applicants even if they’re in quarantine.

Foreign Professional Artist Visa
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: Yes, up to 3 years
Governing Body: MOC, MOL

Things to note
- This visa is difficult to get and only a few are accepted
- You can only freelance within the category you applied for

If you’re a freelancer with a wealth of experience, you may be in luck. You can apply for an open work permit as a “Foreign Professional Engaging in Arts and Performing Arts”.

The Ministry of Culture oversees who will be accepted to this type of visa, but you will submit your application to the MOL who will then pass it on.

The eligible categories are as follows:
1. Performing arts and visual arts
2. Publishing
3. Movie, Broadcasting TV, and Pop Music
4. Crafts
5. Other artistic work certified by the Ministry of Culture

There are detailed requirements and conditions listed on this page, which you can reference when starting your application. This is what the application form looks like

If you’re looking for more detailed answers to your questions, there was a piece published here in 2018, Lastly, here is an overview of the Act for Recruitment of Foreign Professionals.

Job Seeker Visa/ ARC Extension
ARC: Yes
NHI: Yes
Renewable: Yes, 2 six month periods (1 year total)
Governing Body: NIA

Things to note:
- You are not eligible to work with this visa, you have to get a job or different visa before starting work in Taiwan
- You can get 1 year total with an ARC and NHI on this visa
- It counts towards your APRC

This visa is not to be mistaken with the Employment-Seeking Visa, which is actually a visitor visa with specific requirements.

If you have had one of these Resident Visas previously, you are eligible for “Job Seeker” status:

  • White Collar Worker (with work permit)
  • Entrepreneur Visa
  • The Gold Card
  • Foreign Professional Artist Visa

There is a detailed explanation of the steps to get your ARC extension in Taiwan linked here, which involves visiting the NIA in a timely fashion with the required documents.

As with many visas listed here, make sure you apply for this within 15 days after your work permit / employment ARC is terminated.

Applying for your ARC
​Bureaucracy is notoriously archaic in Taiwan, so ensure that your paper trail is seamless when going to get your ARC.

The process for applying for your ARC is relatively straightforward as long as you bring all your documents to the NIA. The application form can be found at the office or downloaded here

If you need to take photos or copy your documents, that can be found inside the NIA. You can also find passport photo machines inside MRT stations around the city. Ensure that you choose the 2”x2” photo option!

For a more detailed explanation of the requirements, check out the NIA’s page here.

Your ARC will be ready to go in about 10 working days and can be picked up from the information desk at the front. Make sure you bring your old ARC (if you have it) or your passport, and the form they gave you when you submitted your application.

Feel free to contact 11th Fleet if you have any questions regarding your visa application process. They are incredibly knowledgeable and have been around the block many times when it comes to the bureaucratic system in Taiwan.

--

--

11th Fleet

11th Fleet is a Taipei-based consulting agency that hopes to connect the world and Taiwan by helping firms and entrepreneurs do business globally.