As Taiwan is a country of natural and cultural diversity, many people decide to stay here longer than the 90 days visa-exempt entry and start living here on the Ilha Formosa.
But as you’ve probably already expected, to apply and receive an Alien Resident Certificate is not as easy as spreading butter on bread. So what are the requirements and what do you have to be aware of? In this article we’ll answer everything you need to know t before applying for an ARC’s!
The Alien Resident Certificate or short ARC allows foreign nationals to work or study in Taiwan for up to three years without re-application. Multiple entries/re-entries are permitted, but it does not include the same working rights and other benefits that a permanent alien residency or a resident does.
On the other hand we have the APRC is for people, who have already been in Taiwan for at least 5 years and want to stay here indefinitely. You will have the same working rights as a normal Taiwanese resident. That means as a new alien resident you don’t have to even think about which residence visa to choose.
Important to note is, that the Alien Resident Certificate is not a visa, it is proof of a visa to be used in your daily life so you don’t have to carry around your passport. That means at first you have to get the resident visa status before you can apply for the ARC. You have to apply for the ARC within 15 days from the day of arrival or from the Resident Visa issuance date. Also, a ARC and APRC allows you to live/stay in Taiwan, but if you also want to work, you need an extra working permit.
According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs there are 13 different types of resident permits:
In this article I will focus on visas for foreign students and workers, I will work through all the underlined visas above. On this website you can also find out the requirements of the other types of resident visas, you only have to select the Nationality, Duration and Purpose and a window pops up, telling you what documents you need.
Before I work through all the different requirements for all different kind of visa types, I’ll list all the necessary things you have to think about while planning your residency in Taiwan.
Lots of universities offer consultation or will even take care of most of the things to do. Like, get in contact with the partner university overseas, make clear what can be accredited to your current study program, get student on-campus housing, get you all the necessary documents and sometimes they even arrange your visa completely. If you have to apply for a resident or visitor visa yourself, here are the necessary documents you need to apply at the Taiwanese Representative’s office or online:
As a student you can apply for a visitor or a resident visa before entering Taiwan, but if you want to stay longer and leave and come back, it’s advisable to get an resident visa and then an ARC. Also, they don’t always ask for other supporting documents, but sometimes they still do. After your resident or visitor status has gotten approved you can make yourself ready for living in Taiwan for however long your studies will take. After you arrive in Taiwan and you’ve already got the resident visa, you have to go to the Service Station of Residence , which is the one nearest to the place you’re living, within the first 15 days of arrival. The necessary documents you will have to bring, are:
Nowadays it is also possible to do the ARC application for students online and you only have to pick up the AR Certificate after three working days at the service station.
If you have already found work in Taiwan, you just need the work permit, issued by the company employing you and apply for the resident visa. After your resident visa got approved, you just have to get ready relocating to Taiwan and you’re all good. Again, many companies do everything for you, but here just in case you have to do it yourself. Within the first 15 days of arrival in Taiwan go to the Service Station near your Residence and ring the following documents:
For internships everything is the same, except that you will need an approval letter issued by a government agency (e.g. Permit issued by Ministry of the Interior; Ministry of Economic Affairs; Ministry of Health and Welfare) instead of a work permit.
If you think about working here, but haven’t found anything fitting yet, then go to Taiwan with a Visitor Visa or Visa-exempt and look for something there. As soon as you’ve found something, get the resident visa and apply for an ARC in the country. Don’t apply for a resident visa in your home country without having a job or proof of reason to go first, otherwise you will certainly get declined. Normally in theory it shouldn’t be possible to change a Visa-exempt to a Visa without leaving the country for a short time, but in reality in most cases they let you change to a Visitor or Resident Visa.
If you only come to study Chinese to Taiwan, you need the same documents as for an internship or work, except you will need a certificate of admission issued by the Chinese language center affiliated to one of the universities or institutions accredited by the Ministry of Education. (original and photocopy) and no work permit or approval letter.
To keep it short and simple, it may seem complicated, in reality it’s just a lot of paperwork. In general you just need to decide for one of the 13 reasons to come here, find an institution/a job, getting the necessary permit or prove that you’ll do something here, get the permission to be in Taiwan and apply for and pick up your ARC. If you need additional information, the following sources contain all websites you could ever need to find out the rest. Enjoy Taiwan!