This information assumes that you are an American Citizen traveling to Taiwan from The United States. This is the process that I went through to receive a Resident's Visa. I have made notes about struggles that I encountered and how they could be avoided. The idea is to provide a framework for receiving a visa. There is no guarantee, implied or otherwise that this will work. I have no connection to the Taiwanese Government. Finally, there is no guarantee that the process and regulations will not have changed prior to your visit.
A Short Visit
Vistors to Taiwan from the United States for up to thirty days do not require a visa. However your passport is required and must have more than six months of time remaining before expiration. If not, there will be a "fine" of approximately $300.00 USD.
1. There is no Taiwanese Consulate in the United States. There is only the Taipei Cultural and Economic Office. This is a private organization that carries out Taiwanese Consular operations in the United States.
Taipei Cultural and Economic Office
3731 Willshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Phone: (213) 389-8539
2. The same is true in Taiwan. There is no American Embassy. The American Institute Taiwan is a non-government organization that carries out consular operations for the United States Government in Taiwan.
American Institute Taiwan
No. 7 Lane 134, Xin-Yi Road Section 3
Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.
3. Information needed to secure a visa.
A. Valid Passport (more than 6 months remaing until expiration)
B. If You are bringing a family
1. A Marriage Certificate
2. Birth Certificate for each child (Must have both parents name
3. A "clearance letter" from your local police department or the FBI
stating that you have not been arrested or convicted of any crimes.
Note: It is wise to get your clearance letter before leaving the States. If you go through the FBI it is a 10 week process. If you go through your local police force, they will not release the letter to anyone but you. They will mail it to your Taiwanese address, but if there is any kind of mistake, you will have to deal with them to mail another one. A Visitor's Visa is only 60 days, not long enough for FBI clearance. It can be extended but not for the purposes of getting a Resident's Visa. So you would have to leave the country.
4. A Foreign Worker Health Permit. This must be done at an approved
hospital in Taiwan. It is inexpensive but requires 3-2" by 2"
5. An invitation from a company or organization in Taiwan. This letter
must be written in Chinese.
6. Documentation of a place to live. This is a letter from someone
guaranteeing living space or a signed lease.
7. Two 2" by 2" photos on a white background. (Photos must be elss than 3 months old.)
Note: All documents must be certified for use by the Taiwanese Government. The Taipei Cultural and Economic office in the US can provide this service but you must have documentation that they are legitimate. As an alternative all documents can be notarized by AIT for this purpose.
The Bureau of Consular Affairs requires only AIT certified information but the Immigration Bureau requires Taiwanese Government certification (Taipei Cultural and Economic Office(TEACO) certification). Here's why that's important. BOCA will issue a Resident's Visa on AIT authorized documents. It is only necessary that the Head of the Family (HoF) receive an Resident's Visa. The rest of the family can extend their Visitor's Visas for up to the time of the HoF's resident visa. This is done through the Immigration Bureau, but they will not accept AIT notarized documents. BOCA charges $5,000 NTD ($156.25 USD) for a Resident Visa. The ARC is $1000 NTD ($32.00 USD). If you have the TEACO documents you can save $5000 NTD per family member. I recommend that you have all documents certified by TEACO before leaving Home.
4. Apply for the proper Visitor's Visa before coming to Taiwan. If you need to change the type of Visitor's Visa that you have you will have to leave the country to do that. The type of visa that you are applying for will depend on the letter of invitation that you have.
Note: You can get a Visitor's Visa without a letter. This is a Visitor's Visa for a personal visit, but you will need the name of a person living in Taiwan to put on the application. This type of visa can be upgraded to a Resident's Visa without leaving the country.
1. Gather all required documents prior to applying for the Visa.
2. Get all the pictures taken. You will need: 2 photos for the Visitor's Visa, 3 for the Foreign Worker Health Permit report, 2 for the Resident's Visa and 2 for the Alien Resident Card (ARC).
3. Make several copies of all certified and notarized documents. They will use copies to attach to the applications but will need to see the originals.
4. Go to the Bureau of Consular Affairs and fill out the application called, "Multi-Use Application for Foreigners."
Bureau of Consular Affairs
3-5 floor. 2-2 Chi Nan Road
Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.
Phone: (from US) 011-886-(02)-2343-2888
Note: If you plan to have driver's license it is wise to give youraself a Chinese name. This will be used for vehicle title, insurance and your driver's license. The visa will be used to "tie" those names together. The application will ask you for yur Chinese name.
5. Present the worker with your passport, the application, and all original information. They will ask for other forms if they need them. Have them ready, if possible. Have the copies ready to give them so they can "build" your packet.
Note: Unlike America, most bureaucrats in Taiwan will do their best to help you. They are unfailingly polite and want to see you have a successful conclusion to your business with them. Remember, when they ask for a lot of paperwork thay are asking so that they can make your packet as complete and acceptable as possible. So you won't have any problems. They also want to be sure that their butts are covered. They will go out of their way to help you in any way they can.
6. They will take your passport and issue the Resident's Visa. In one week you can return and pick up your passort with the visa attached.
Once the Resident's Visa is Received
Note: Your Resident's Visa doesn't have an expiration date. You must apply for an Alien resident Card (ARC). This card will specify the length of time your visa is valid for. The ARC card can easily be renewed annually, but their are hoops you must jump through and documentation that you will need to supply, with all the appropriate certifications. (Remember the TEACO certification.
1. Take your Resident's Visa to the local immigration office. These are usually found with County Government offices.
2. Present your worker with your visa and a "Multi-Use Application for Foreigners" (It's a little different than BOCA's. Check the box marked ARC
3. Show Passport with Resident's Visa.
4. Give them 2 pictures and you will be able to pick the ARC in two weeks
Welcome to Taiwan