ARC/APRC: "work based" vs. "marriage based" (vs. "gold card") advantages and disadvantages

(Last edited 2019/08/14 according to other Forumosans’ input in the thread below)

Yes I searched, and I found lots of questions about which one is better - but the discussions after those questions didn’t really go much into the advantages or disadvantages of either. I am now wondering which one to choose (or maybe a “gold card” in case one is eligible). My case is: German citizen, just married, spouse is ROC national, I’m in Taiwan since 2.5 years on a work ARC (and before 3 years work ARC from 2008, in between working in Germany with no ARC). Plus, I’m generally wondering if I could somehow get my ageing retired parents here permanently to take better care of them personally.

Here is my current understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of different ARCs and APRC:

1. Work Permit:
:green_circle: Marriage ARC: Don’t need a work permit (can change employers, have multiple employers, have own business, …)
:yellow_circle: Work ARC: Employer needs to apply a work permit for you. You can only work for the employer and at the place stated on the ARC (Possibly can also work for others in parallel, maybe with or without additional permits).
Note: If you are married to an ROC national, then you don’t need a work permit.
:green_circle: Gold Card ARC: open work permit (similar effect to being married to an ROC national)

2. Applying for APRC after X years
:green_circle: Marriage ARC to Marriage APRC: can apply for APRC after 5 years residency (183 days/year) out of the last 10 years (arbitrary, not necessary continuous - as long as you had residency eg. an ARC during the whole time). APRC is always permanent, you can keep it even after divorce.
:yellow_circle: Work ARC to Work APRC: Can apply after 5 years continuous residency (183 days/year)
:yellow_circle: Gold Card ARC to gold card APRC: Can apply after 5 years continuous residency (183 days/year). According to @irish91 there might be plans to allow APRC application already after 3 years residency.


  • you can only apply for the APRC type according to your current ARC. So if you for example have a work ARC and want a marriage APRC, you first need to change your ARC to a marriage based one.
  • According to information I got from NIA, changing ARC types between marriage, work and gold card ARCs does NOT reset the timer for the residency, as long as there are no gaps in between (ARC expiry or having a different ARC like Student ARC or Blue collar work ARC).

3. APRC vs. staying outside Taiwan
:yellow_circle: Marriage APRC: Need to stay 183 days per year in Taiwan (can stay away up to 2 years if you apply first)
:green_circle: Work APRC: no limitations
:green_circle: Gold Card APRC: no limitations

4. National Health Insurance - NHI
:yellow_circle: Marriage ARC: After 6 months you can enroll through your spouse, or immediately if you have an employer
:green_circle: Work ARC: Enrolled in NHI through employer
:yellow_circle: Gold Card ARC: After 6 months you can enroll on your own, or immediately if you have an employer (note: there seems to be a new law on the way where the 6 months period is waived for gold card holders without an employer)

5. Pension
:green_circle: Marriage ARC: yes, due to being married to an ROC citizen (Thanks, @tando)
:yellow_circle: Work ARC: only when married to an ROC citizen, or work APRC (Thanks, @tando)
:yellow_circle: Gold Card ARC: only when married to an ROC citizen, or Gold Card APRC (Thanks, @tando)

6. Employment Insurance
Employment insurance is only if married to an ROC citizen

7. Can foreign parents join the ARC holder in Taiwan permanently
:red_circle: Marriage ARC: No
:red_circle: Work ARC: No
:yellow_circle: Gold Card ARC: Not permanently, but for longer at a time than other ARCs

8. Validity
:yellow_circle: Marriage ARC: first 1 year, then can chose 1, 2 or 3 years for renewal
:green_circle: Work ARC: first up to 3 years (depending on contract - thanks @tando), then 3 years if keeping same job (experience of @squall1)
Note: The first work ARC of foreign special professionals (those who would qualify for the gold card ARC) can be for 5 years
:green_circle: Gold Card ARC: Can chose 1, 2 or 3 years at application

9. Extension in case of ARC reason gone
:red_circle: Marriage ARC: No extension possible if divorced
:green_circle: Work ARC: If quitting job or having been fired, you can extend for 6 months while looking for a new job. Can also extend a 2nd time, for a total of 12 months.
:red_circle: Gold Card ARC: Not extendable, need to apply again for a new gold card ARC and then be judged if you still meet the criteria


I’m pretty sure your marriage-based APRC doesn’t get cancelled if you get divorced. APRC is APRC.


Pretty sure your parents can come with the gold ARC.

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Thanks a lot. I researched that a while ago before getting divorced, and back then was convinced that a marriage based APRC gets cancelled after divorce. Looking around on Forumosa now (since the Taiwan immigration website is currently down…) it looks like you are indeed correct. I’ll check directly with the NIA when I go to apply. I believe I’m already eligible for an marriage based APRC now, so if this is not an disadvantage it would be perfect :+1:

So far I saw that yes they can come, but not permanently - just for a year or so. See "Employment gold card" for some foreigners

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I got a 3 year work ARC after my initial 1 year expired. I think it’s standard as long as you keep the same job.

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No such thing. APRC is APRC regardless. After you receive an APRC you will not lose it if you divorce. The 2 are not linked.


You need to be here for 5 years straight (183 days at least per year) on the ARC in order to apply for APRC. If you lost the ARC status, meaning you had ARC during 3 years, then out of Taiwan for longer than 183 days , then came back to Taiwan and have been the holder of ARC for another 3 years, you are not eligible for APRC via marriage ARC criteria.

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I’m a bit confusing on OP’s situation.

Is this correct?

3 years (2008-2010) on a work-based ARC
5 years (2011-2015) on a marriage-based ARC
2.5 years (2016-2018) on a work-based ARC

If the above is correct, I’m afraid that your eligibility for APRC by the 5 years on the marriage ARC might be already invalid, because you should apply for it within 2 years. In addition, I’m not sure whether you can apply based on marriage after your divorce. You may need to check it at NIA.

Must still be married for apply for APRC based on marriage ARC. They interview you and possibly your partner too during application.

To the OP, unfortunately it is more valuable to Taiwan foreigners that have work ties here than foreign husbands/wifes and parents of their citizens, even if they have been working the whole time they have been living here.
So if you get an APRC via work ARC you won’t need to stay 183/year here, whilst if you get the APRC via marriage ARC you still will be required to stay 183 days every single year. I guess they think that work is a stronger and deeper root than family. *** holes


there is no way for foreign parents to reside in Taiwan based on their relationship to their child on ARC/APRC. Iirc, they cannot get ARCs even if the child has a citizenship.

I think there is no limitation for work ARC too.

spouses of ROC citizens and APRC holders: basically yes


Thanks a lot for the comment. I believe the NIA says these criteria are correct for foreigners NOT married to an ROC national with household registration in Taiwan. If you are married, though, I believe it’s 5 years out of the last 10 years. The NIA website seems having troubles, here is the google cached version:

The application for permanent residence demands legal residence exceeding 183 days each year for consecutive 5 years and a foreigner meeting said circumstance may apply for an APRC within 2 years thereafter. The foreign spouse and children of a national whose household is registered in the Taiwan Areas are subject to the application for permanent residence demanding legal residence exceeding 183 for 5 out of 10 years. Those meeting said circumstance may apply for an APRC within 2 years thereafter.

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Hi @tando, thanks a lot for your comments. For reference, my situation is:

3 years (2008-2010) on a work-based ARC for company A
5 years (2011-2015) worked outside Taiwan for company A
2.5 years (2016-2018) on a work-based ARC for company A

first marriage ARC should be 1 year by law, but work ARC can be 3 years. I think it is basically the same length with your contract/work permit.

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Thanks a lot! This is exactly the kind of advantages/disadvantages I was looking for.

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Thanks, very helpful. I edited that in the original post.

I guess for that post to be good as a reference, I should add links to the relevant laws. I hope the post is editable for long enough that I get the chance to do that…

For your reference

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Just at NIA, some confirmations and updates:

  • the information counter said: "Yes: if married to ROC national then you can apply for an APRC not only after 5 continuous years of residency, but also after 5 arbitrary years within the last 10 years. Note: Another clerk there told me these 5 years need to be continuous, but I’ll clarify.

  • in the case above, you can also apply for a work-based APRC, if you are married but your current ARC is work based (also doubted by another clerk, I will also clarify)

  • with marriage based APRC you indeed need to stay 183 days in Taiwan in order to not lose it. But: if you apply in advance, you may stay away for up to 2 years.

  • once you chose APRC based on work or marriage (or gold card), you cannot change the purpose later

  • parents can only join on visitor Visa, so need to extend and leave Taiwan regularly

  • gold card holders can also apply for APRC after 5 years residency with gold card


They already passed an amendment getting rid of this requirement (one visit every five years is enough to maintain it), but I guess it hasn’t been enacted yet? As I recall, it was supposed to be enacted by the end of the year. Maybe midnight on December 31st?


If you are referring to the new regulations , that stated that APRC holders will be entitled to the 5 year rule, that is not the case. They failed to make clear that it ONLY applied to “Professional” APRC’s and not marriage based .
Very important difference, that should have been clearer.
If you refer to another amendment, that has just been issued , apologies.
Yes, it says “APRC holders will no longer be subject to 183 day rule” BUT only professional ones. Please check with NIA , as always, for verification.

I’m pretty sure “professionals” just refers to white collar foreigners, as opposed to SEA worker drones, and not those extra-special “high class professionals.” But I could be wrong. Hopefully there will be some clarification soon.