The newbie thread


If you already have a job lined up and your future employer has applied for a work permit for you, then it is possible to apply for and enter Taiwan on a Visitor Visa for Employment Purpose ( However, this is not the usual method that buxibans follow; as far as I know, only Hess does this regularly.

As you stated, most of us looking for work (again, AFAIK) arrived either on a...

Yes, this seems to be the least stressful way to do it. The reason is that, once you have a job, the Visitor Visa for Visiting Purpose (VVVP) can be converted to a Residence Visa-->ARC without leaving Taiwan. Additionally, the time limit on a VVVP can be extended if you give a valid reason ("I want to see more of this great country" etc.) and you can show you have enough funds to support yourself.

Regarding Visa-Exempt Entry (VE), some people on this forum have stated that they've converted a VE to a Residence Visa-->ARC without leaving the country, and the BOCA's website states that this is possible under certain circumstances. However, it would be best to talk to someone at the immigration office to make sure in your particular situation.

Entering Taiwan on a Visa for Studying Chinese Purpose ( and then later converting to a work-related Residence Visa-->ARC seems to be a matter still up for debate.

I've never heard this as a requirement, and it's not listed in the above referenced links. Unless something has recently changed, AFAIK a home country criminal background check is only required when marrying a Taiwanese national (, or under certain circumstances when applying for permanent residency (APRC).


Thanks so much for the reply/confirmation, Steve!

I am a bit of a worry-wart by nature so I always imagine the worst-case scenario, even though I am better equipped than most to survive in Taiwan. Now I just need to figure out which city to live in...


If this isn't the right place to post this question just let me know and I'll put it elsewhere, but I have to ask:

Can anyone vouch for the safety/validity of My friend and I are planning to come to Taipei in late July or early August and I want to at least have a job interview lined up so that we aren't completely without a game plan when we land. I started looking through jobs on tealit, but another friend of mine who has been living and working in Taipei for the past 10 years told me to not trust tealit saying that most job postings there are scams. He also said to not look for an apartment on tealit either. Can anyone vouch for or disprove this opinion?

Do most people just show up in-country without a job interview lined up and just wing it from there? How would you go about looking for an English-teaching job or an apartment any other way?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.


If your friend thinks tealit is useless, then perhaps he can give you some helpful alternate suggestions.

I would advise looking through ads--wherever you find them--and contacting the schools that interest you beforehand. Let them know when you'll be in Taiwan and ready to have an interview. Some buxibans are not proactive and want to hire someone to fill a vacant position today; they don't want to waste time on someone who isn't even in the country yet. In my case, I sent my resume to several schools before leaving the U.S., and they all said the same thing: Contact us when you're actually in Taiwan.

Once you're in Taiwan, you can follow up on the places that you contacted previously. At that point you can get a feel for which areas have concentrations of schools, then visit those places in person to submit your resume.

As to whether tealit is useful or not, YMMV. I found the job that I have now through tealit. That was 5 years ago and I'm still there.

As for finding an apartment, tealit, forumosa, and craigslist are possibilities. I think your best bet is finding a place through someone in the know--perhaps another teacher, student, or Taiwanese coworker. In my case, the buxiban boss asked what I wanted in a place, then one of the staff drove me around on her scooter to look at places. If you can read Chinese or can get a Chinese-speaking friend to help you, there are public boards around town with rental ads, as well as real estate offices everywhere. If you can muddle through Google Translate then there are online sites like In Taipei there's also Tsuei Ma Ma.


Hi Guys,

Not sure if here is the right place but i'm sure you will let me know :wink:

I am wanting to come and teach in Taiwan. It would be my first job teaching English and am currently in HR/Admin. I am A white Australian and a native speaker. I will undertake my TEFL before I arrive. Just wanting to confirm/ask some things however.

  1. I should come on a visitor visa so I am ready to apply and interview immediately. This is visa type is easily changed to an ARC plus working permit and most companies are willing to do this.

  2. Ideally I would come at the beginning of March, which I know is not the high season for hiring and will be just after Chinese New Year. Is this a terrible idea and there will be no jobs available? should it be ok? Ideally I would like to stay in Taipei

  3. Is TEFL a value add in finding positions?

Thank you in advance!


Hi guys,

This seemed to be the least obtrusive place to ask some fairly simple/noob questions, specific to my circumstances.

I am coming to Taiwan to start studying (Mandarin) from the 1st of September. I've spent the last year in the mainland (and I' :aiyo: ) and slowly improving, and hope a semester or two in Taiwan will 'fix' my language skills for future self-improvement.

My current job is teaching in a University in China, on a good wage/contract/visa, and I have a few years teaching experience from before (Thailand, Vietnam) and am confident I get good feedback - especially in one-on-one high level lessons etc.

I am heading to Tainan, but I have to go via England (for my sisters wedding). I have also just ended my relationship of the last two years. Essentially, my problem is I'm a little bit with where to start, and have got pretty tired of the Universities one word responses and links to eye-raping websites full of luminescent 繁体字.

So, could anyone please answer a few question, that are best answered by people 'on the ground'.

1) Do I enter Taiwan on a tourist visa to study, and then upgrade? I am British, so get automatic 90 day as long as I have a -completely real and not forged - return ticket booked. If I have to get a student visa in advance, can I upgrade to a work visa from inside Taiwan? Essentially, how do I play the visa shuffle?

2) In China (I'm in Hefei, Anhui now), all the African/East European etc students teach English at the language centres, for the going rate of a NES, and no one cares. Fair play to them, but it shows a lack of attention to the law here. Glorious greedy little buggers that they are. Now, in Taiwan, is it similarly easy going in regards to not having all I's and T's dotted? Can I just come as a student, and set up lots of casual private/language centre classes without hassle. I had heard they can be strict, and I should be amply qualified to get legal work, but my contract may only be for 5 months and they (the contracts) seem pretty one sided. My studies are the important thing, I just want a few hours for beer money/not biting in to my savings so much.

3) I really want to immerse in Chinese while in Taiwan, so will only speak English when paid to. I'm thinking of staying in a dorm with Taiwanese. A) Are the universities capable of putting you with locals, or will I be with a lot of foreigners? The university seems very confused with the request. B) Will I want to kill myself rapidly? If it will be hell on earth, I'd rather set up a 'man-cave' somewhere near the university, and lure people there with a playstation 3 and booze... but how annoying are short term leases to set up? They are a total git in China.

4) Motorcycle licenses. Do you have to convert your foreign license, or can you just use that? I have an English motorcycle license (Full), and an Australian (WA) car/bike one (sadly out of date because the bugger expires every year :loco: ). In China there is a long and drawn out (and expensive) rigmarole to get your license switched over. I looked in to it. And tried a bit. Then I realised China has no traffic rules or police really, and all white-people are stupid... of course he won't know :stuck_out_tongue:
Do I just change licenses inland, do I just use my foreign one, or do I have to make international licenses etc?

5)Also, what is the general deal with motorcycles and the law? Are they welcomed, tolerated or barely legal death traps in the eyes of the police? Is there a good supply of cheap second hand 250/400cc bikes about? Years or stepthroughs (and a 1000cc flying armchair in Australia) have made me hanker for something a bit more grunty. Maybe dirtbikey. Can you legally own, insure and register them as foreigners? And how bad is theft (like I say, I'm off to Tainan).

6) Any other general advice? I have 3 or 4 months left before I show up, so lots of time to get things done (if I can). I'm slowly getting more used to traditional Chinese. Other than that, I heard they use Zhuyin instead of Pinyin... what fresh hell is that? Is Tainan still a seedy gangsterish town, or has it calmed down now?


If everything is arranged beforehand through the school, then you can enter on a student visa. It depends on how much time you have and how the school wants to handle it. Most of my recent classmates arrived on a 90 day visa free and then the school helped them to convert to a student visa.

Note that you are not allowed to work on a visa free entry, and you must wait a period of time on a student visa (6 months? 1 year? Not sure) before you can legally work part time.

Of course, there are students who work part time teaching privately, although illegally. Whether you want to risk fines and/or deportation is up to you. It's not common as far as I know, but it can happen.

I'm not promoting illegal actions here. That said, you'll probably find lots of opportunities to teach illegally, both privately and through buxibans. Read through the experiences here on Formosa of people who have been caught working illegally at kindergartens or without work permits, then decide for yourself if you are willing to risk it.

(A) I'm sure the school will try to fulfill your request for Taiwanese roommates it possible.
(B) I think it depends on your own personality. Have you lived with roommates before? When I considered living in a dorm at Tzu Chi University, I decided that I personally couldn't handle four people to a room, no air conditioning, and no meat on campus.

Short term leases are possible but you have to find them. Being able to speak some Chinese is in your favor. The school may be able to help you, and you can also look on websites like

Converting your license depends upon whether or not your country has reciprocity with Taiwan, and even the Department of Motor Vehicles seems to be confused on that point. As an American, I know most state licenses can't be converted. However, an international license can be used in Taiwan for up to one year, I believe, as long as you take it to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Taiwan and register it there.

Scooters are ubiquitous, but I see plenty of larger motorcycles as well. If you have an ARC you can legally register a vehicle in your name. A couple of my friends have had their scooters stolen, but to me it seems like theft is not nearly a problem as it is in the United States, for example.

You're right, whIle a lot of people here are somewhat familiar with Pinyin, they use Zhuyin in day-to-day life. My experience has been that the teaching materials used in language centers generally use both Pinyin and Zhuyin, so no worries there. You can get by without using Zhuyin, but it's pretty easy to learn.

I've only been to Tainan once, just recently, didn't see any gangsters, lol.

My only advice is that if you do come, remember that many Taiwanese judge all foreigners by the actions of a few, so please, please don't be the kind of person that ends up on Apple Daily News. Keep your nose clean and enjoy your time in Taiwan.



Here's my situation:

I'm going to be starting a long-term language learning programme that starts in September, however I want to come over to Taiwan in July so that I can find a job to support myself and require a work visa. I can't book a return ticket as I don't know when I will be leaving and I can't acquire a work visa without a job lined up before I go. It says on the BOCA I need a return ticket to acquire the 90 visa exemption status. What should I do?

Edit: I've done a bit more searching and had my question answered. Refundable ticket to Osaka it is!


Hi all,

Does anyone know anything about the Sesame Street School in Beigang, Yunlin?

I'm supposed to be teaching there very soon, and I have found it quite difficult to find any information about the institution.

Thank you in advance for your help! :wink:


If nothing comes up on an internet search, then sometimes no news is good news, as people tend to take the time to write about bad working conditions more often.

If you can't find any English info, perhaps you could try Googling 芝麻街美語北港 and run any results through Google Translate if you don't read Chinese. Just a suggestion if no one has any personal experience to share.


:wink: Thank you for the quick response, comforting words, and sound advice. Much appreciated!


I don't have any firsthand experience, but I used to have two roommates that worked part-time at Sesame Street in Beigang. I never heard them complain about it. I should say they never complained about the school. Beigang on the other hand...


Hi everyone,

I just wanted to introduce myself, as I am a newbie.

First off, I would just like to say, I love this forum. It is absolutely wonderful. The content is amazing, the people are great, and its very helpful.

I'm Jonathan, I live in Canada and I have a BA Hons. Communications and Cultural Studies, and have been working in radio for the last 3 years. I will be completing my TEFL degree by the end of the summer with hopes of going to Taiwan or South Korea in the fall.

That's about it for now, hope to meet some great people in here :slight_smile:


I'm also a newbie (not to this forum) but in regards to thinking of packing up and becoming an expat in Taiwan. I've visited on 4 occasions thanks to my now ex wife but I am strangely attracted to it despite no longer being married to a Taiwanese. I quoted your post because I also spent some years working in radio. I hosted my own show and produced as well. That well dried up years ago for me but it was an incredible journey and a part of my life I am glad I got to live.

About me, I'm 35 and have decided I am going to follow my dream and live in a foreign country for a few years. I've been divorced for about 2 years and in general don't mind the rat race but I want to at least have a unique experience while being part of it. I haven't 100% decided on Taiwan but it has many advantages for me that give it a good place for me to consider.

I guess the biggest thing is do I absolutely need a TEFL to teach in Taiwan? I don't have one and don't really want to unless I absolutely need one. I would likely arrive in Taiwan and begin looking for work as I don't really see much chance to find a job over here that would relocate me there.


Hi Chris,

The short answer is no, particularly if you're looking for a job at a buxiban. However, some schools do require some form of TEFL and those that do tend to offer a better working experience. A TEFL also allows you to demand a higher salary, which will usually offset the cost of the course itself within a year. Year two and that's all profit.

How did you like radio? Sure is a difficult biz eh? I like it but I find I am now stuck in my market and have decided to take a break from it for a while.




Hello everyone!

Sorry, a few newb questions to throw your way. I taught in Japan for a year and a half and now I want to move to Taipei and get a cram school job. I will be done saving in time to move to Taiwan during December. I have been researching as much as I can. Older info claims you could hop off the boat and get a cram school job easily, newer info says this is not so anymore. 1)Is it going to be nearly impossible to find a buxiban job right around December and January? I have to add that I am an African-American female so I am anticipating having a bit more of a struggle than someone who is, well, not black. 2)Are there substituting jobs around Taipei to do while I am looking, and how do I find these?


So I don't need the TEFL... I don't see myself doing this long term as I have a 6 year old back the States. It's only a temporary thing until my fiance can get her visa but we are encountering a hold up there. I'd be arriving with about 5K US in pocket so I do have some cash but obviously I'd prefer not to spend all of it. If I did a TEFL I'm looking at about 1600 US right? I'd be overseas roughly 2 years so knowing I'd make that back might be a good investment. That coudl be my plane ticket home

Radio was awesome, I worked in sports radio so I was living the dream, Laker games, NCAA Tournament, World Baseball Classic, Super Bowl, US Open are just some of the perks I got out of the deal. The pay sucked but I was in a really large market but once our economy crashed in 08/09 I was reduced to part time, lost benefits, lost my show and most of those perks went the way of the dodo. I was stuck looking for real work as I had a family. If I was single I would have upped and moved to a smaller market but my wife at the time had root here, when she came from Taiwan this was the only place she knew. Her mom, dad, brother, sister, aunts, uncle and cousins were all here. I couldn't take her away from that to move to a place like Casper, Wyoming or El Paso.


I just recently found this forum, totally fell in love with it!
I plan to move to Taiwan by the end of this year or beginning of next year, and I want to know if I should get a visitor visa for 90 days first, and then get the resident visa and ARC once I find a job over there. What is the procedure on that? do most people move to Taiwan on a visitor visa first?


yes to poster above and to those with radio experience. Any chance to work for ICRT? The local english radio station?