American with child, want to move to Taiwan

Good afternoon, everyone!

I’m a 29-year-old woman with a 3-year-old daughter living on the East Coast in America. Given how bad our healthcare is, how women’s rights are being taken away along with LGBT rights, and the increasing amount of mass shootings, I’ve been looking at moving to Taiwan. Specifically, Taipei.

I just started a small business selling handmade skincare and haircare products, with some profits going to an organization working to save elephants. Am also starting to resell elephant-related items to help the business. I’ve been told that homemade skincare products is saturating the Taiwanese market, though.

I also have a cat, whom I’m not willing to give up. Pet-friendly rentals seem hard to come by.

We wouldn’t move for a couple of years, because I need to be making money first. But I’m wondering if my small business would make it in Taipei, or if I need to get a ESL certificate to teach English. (I do have a 4-year business degree.) I also have great writing skills and have recently started blogging for my business, if that helps at all.

I just want my daughter to be safe, healthy, and happy. Do you guys think I’m better off bringing her and my business to Taiwan? Or should we stay in America and hope it gets better?

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Depends on what you wanna do! You could get the ESL cert to fall back on. Do you have or can you save $500000 TWD? If so, then you’d be able to continue your company here on that visa. Do you make more than (iirc) US$5000/m? Then the Gold Card may be a possible route.

Also, teaching isn’t the only thing. I work in an office. Sales and marketing are popular jobs for foreigners as well and definitely compatible with your degree.


With a young kid, without family here you need consider child care costs which might eat up much of your earnings.


I’m not a parent. I’d like to hear more.


Forumosa also has a Woman’s forum where you might get extra feedback based on what it’s like to be a single mom here.

I don’t know where you received your business degree. If it’s a well-regarded university, you may be eligible for a Gold Card—you can search that on this site if you have not done so already.



read here

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are you Taiwanese ? do you speak Mandarin ?
otherwise i would recommend not to do this move, TW can be harsh to unprepared immigrants without money.
your business might work, but without language skills it will jot go far, you are selling to Taiwanese buyers after all…
being Taiwanese will make the legal aspects of the move easier (visa and work permits )
there are ways around this, but not sure its worth the trouble. if your concern is the future of your child, either move within the USA or i would suggest considering Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or a european country with good health care and a safe environment.


a good kindy is 30K a month, private school the same if not more.
sports cost extra (soccer, basketball etc.)
summer camp 4000 a week…
it adds up :slight_smile:


I’m a legal resident of both Taiwan and Japan and I think Japan might be a better choice.


Why wouldn’t one just use the public system?


This thread may be helpful to read through.

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you could if you want.
kindy is difficult : not everyone can get in a public kindy, so many have to go private.
schools are more easy to get into, but they vary in quality, as in the west, if you live in a good neighborhood the schools will be better. some parents choose private schools since they prefer a different teaching method and mindset to that of the public school.

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Thank you.

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@elephantsRcool , 3 things will help make it work, in my opinion:

  1. know some (better yet, a lot of) Chinese before you get here; ONCE you have decided to come to Taiwan, start learning it somehow in the U.S. and not just 30 minutes a day; it will make your life here so much easier
  2. do NOT live in the north; all-around expenses there are much greater than, say, in Taichung, Tainan, or Kaohsiung. Taichung and Kaohsiung already have a decent MRT system and linked to HSR, and Tainan is building its own MRT
  3. have a fall-back plan; don’t rely on that small business; come here to teach first, as it’s easier to get into country with teaching visa; then, if your business really talks off (based on revenue/salary), you can try applying for one of the other visas like gold card

Good luck. Lots of references (and tons of searchable information) on this site. Use that magnifier search function at top-right (on laptop/desktop).


You could apply for the JET English teaching program in Japan. My understanding is JET teachers are eligible to apply for dependent visas for their children. I know you can bring cats into Japan because my immigration lawyer just arranged import for an American client of hers. A bachelor’s degree and clean criminal record are required for the JET program, which pays around 3.5 million yen a year plus benefits, including healthcare. Life in Taiwan outside Taipei is more like the wild west. Japan is safer, cleaner, and more organized everywhere.


Public elementary school finishes at 12. Unless you want them sitting in 課後班 staring into space in silence for six hours, with their masks on, you have to put them in school run afternoon clubs or private 安親班. The absolute cheapest option is school run clubs and after school care. 4 days of clubs and after school care for a kid is about NTD70-80k a year. Books, excursions and lunches are billed separately, roughly 16k per year. There are lots more bills here and there, nothing is included. Those naff looking sports uniforms are actually not cheap, and add up. Then there is the monster summer and winter breaks. Local private buxiban for 80k per year for holiday care. In total, roughly 180k per year per child.

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On the business front you have to be prepared to do things very differently if your biz will be registered locally or serve local customers. There is a lot of red-tape, and marketing has its own opportunities and challenges. As a foreigner you will have to overcome the language barrier, however you will also get the benefit of doubt.

Financial and non-financial costs depend on where and how you will work and live. Hospital out-patient costs are pretty low for kids. Just watch for unnecessary procedures as they try to upsell sometimes unnecessary medical procedures.

Daycare quality varies so you likely kiss a lot of frogs before you find a good one. Government-sponsored facilities are usually the safest, and charge about NT$165 (~US$5.5) per hour in Kaohsiung. Depending on how far your commute will be if you have to teach (many do so at different places in a day, some mornings, then late afternoons and evenings), daycare could range from 7 to 12 hours, costing between NT$1,200 and NT$1,980 daily. This adds up. Non-financial costs to consider are water and air pollution, and traffic safety. Air quality is mostly terrible in winter, particularly in the southern and central parts. On bad days kids are recommended to stay indoors. You can’t let your child roam on her own unless if in the deepest rural areas.

For your toddler, intergrating will be a mixed bag. She will learn Mandarin pretty fast. At the very least she will be treated as a social curiosity or oddity. This could be an opening for making friends or source of unwelcome attention. Mind you, getting to have play-dates for your kid will likely be a challenge: most kids are shunted off to kindergarten or grandparents.

Housing: In my experience a lot of landlords are averse to tenants with kids/pets.


If you are confident you can make this move work for you I will offer some advice that may be less traditional.

Yes it will be possible to move to Taiwan as a single parent. You will need to make some compromises though.

Taipei will be outside your budget. At least for the first few years.

Have a look at cities like Hsinchu, Zhubei City. They don’t have the public transportation options like Taipei. But they offer a very child friendly environment with many of parks and places that are safe and friendly for families.

One thing you will need to do when you first get here is join a parents group or find some families to help you. Many families in Taiwan are willing to care for your child if you are willing to help their children learn English. Like a contra arrangement. This will ensure you have child care.

Also, how old is your child? If they are kindergarten age you can find work in the afternoons teaching English in a cram school and your child can attend a class. You will pay for this but you can negotiate an arrangement with the management of the school.

Taiwan is a great place to make money and have a very lovely lifestyle. But you have to work for it and fight for it.

Taiwan is not a place for wallflowers who go with the flow, if you are a foreigner.

Of course someone named ‘KHHville’ would say that.

Kidding. Couldn’t resist. :grin:

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She said three.