Can I work legally with a marriage-based ARC?

Hi everyone. This is my 2nd topic I’ve created here. First, I can’t thank you guys enough for the help last time around.

Since then I’ve found these forums extremely helpful for me and my friend as well. I may make further topics in the future but this one is more general and involves VISAs.

First, I want to share some important info, some of which I ain’t too proud of, but knowing it may help you help me.

When I graduated from high school, my family expected me to join the US military. Long story short, at the time I didn’t see eye to eye with them and backed out last minute. With no back up plan or money for college I was stuck working 2 jobs. I saw an opportunity to come live and work in Taiwan a while until I discovered what I wanted to do next.

I became an ESL teacher working off the books. I had no choice since the only way a school would apply for an ARC was if you graduated from college which I didn’t. Eventually I started taking classes to learn Chinese as well before reverting back to only teaching. So as you can imagine, I’ve been in and out of Taiwan quite a few times and to the NIA office to get visa extensions. I didn’t think I’d be here this long, but it happened.

I’m now approaching 10 years here and changes are coming. The first change happened this summer when I screwed up by over-staying my visa extension in early July. That gave me a bad stamp in my passport preventing me from getting landing visas. I had to go to HK to apply a 1 year visitor VISA which thankfully worked.

The main change coming up for me is I’m planning on getting married to a Taiwanese next year. It is my hope that after getting married I can receive an ARC though marriage and in return I can legitimately apply for a working VISA.

Is this possible? If not, what is my best course of action? I definitely have regrets over the past 10 years but all I can do now is look forward and legitimizing my stay here is a big step towards that. I shared my backstory in case those kind of details will make things trickier.

I thank everyone in advance who has taken time to read and respond to my current situation. If you need more details, please ask, I’ll be checking on this thread frequently.

First of all, please don’t call a visa exempt entry a landing visa! :doh: :praying:

Keeping in mind that we don’t give legal advice, and we don’t promote or condone illegal activities, for information purposes only, a foreigner planning to get married should note the following:

  1. It’s not the ARC that lets you work legally. It’s the work permit, which is the thing that would let you get a work-based ARC.
  2. However, a foreigner married to a local can apply for a JFRV (joining family resident visa) and an ARC based on marriage (two things that are often mixed up because they go together). Once you have a marriage-based ARC, you can work without a work permit.
  1. Basically, there’s no “working visa” you can apply for. Visas indicating permission to work do exist, but all you need is that marriage-based ARC.
  2. Once married, don’t forget you will be subject to employment insurance (not just labor insurance) and the “new system” of the Labor Pension Act, which is explained on the website of the Bureau of Labor Insurance. Also, having an ARC of any kind makes you subject to NHI, and being married changes your tax situation.
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10 years of working illegally! You could have gotten an APRC, gotten married to another foreigner and SHE would be almost ready to get an APRC.

Yeah, well great. Of course it’s not your fault! It’s just that the laws are so unreasonable to have minimum education requirements for foreigners to live and work here. THAT is the typical American privilege attitude in Taiwan (and elsewhere).

Now back to your question. As YYY pointed out, yet it is entirely possible. But there is something I would like to suggest you: as the spouse of a ROC national you qualify for special scholarships in addition the the already generous scholarship offerings provided to foreigners. You should seriously consider attending night school to get a bachelor degree. You are not getting any younger and it might come handy one day. Despite the scolding in the beginning of my post, I do hope that you can improve your situation on this island.

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Thank you, that is a good idea. I appreciate that, it’s exactly the kind of guidance I’m hoping for.
Going to night school and earning a Bachelors degree would be a great step to getting back on track.

If you are a US citizen, distance education would be virtually free for you. Do it. It’s worth it.
I say it’s free because based on tax returns the IRS considers you to be at the poverty level, which means pretty much a free education.
A degree from a decent school and a JFRV will get you a job just about any Taiwanese public or private school you want in Taiwan.

Unless things have changed, Taiwan doesn’t recognize online degrees.

They do.
Check the listing of schools they accept degrees from. Ashford university, Phoenix university and dozens of others are on the list. Not to mention I got my degree through The University of Arizona. 100% through their distance education program. Cost me 8000 USD for 8 semesters. The diploma and transcripts say nothing about it being a distance earned degree.

Part two of this is that with a JFRV or APRC you can apply to schools without them having to apply for an ARC for you. That means they don’t care where the degree came from. I know dozens who are working at solid jobs this way. Heck, I know decent private schools that hire teachers who have a JFRV or APRC and just a highschool diploma.

12 years ago Taiwan frowned upon distance education. Now, it’s fine.

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Interesting development, thanks. Let’s continue the discussion here:

Follow that link.
Ashford is right on there.
Ashford is a 100% online school. Not brick and mortar. There are many other schools that offer distance education that are brick and mortar schools. UCLA has a fantastic distance program. The benefit of going through a normal university is that your diploma is no different than if you did it in state. No designation it was earned by distance at all.

With zero income being reported to the IRS, one would qualify for generous grants. Money you don’t have to pay back. Free education, almost. You still have to pay for your text books. But 8K USD for a legit degree = a no brainer. Do it.

Once again, thanks for the replies.

Long term, seeking out further education and obtaining a degree is a must. And with the info showing both options to study in Taiwan or online to get a bachelors degree leaves me no excuses so thanks again. I must research this more to get the best education for the best price.

More immediately, I need to take care of this marriage business and work towards getting my JFRV.

I called the hotline at BOCA in Taipei to get further information. The call was much needed and pointed me on what I think is the correct path to take. However, they mentioned something at the end that seems to effect my situation from what has already been stated.

For the sake of being thorough, I’ll post the steps I will have to take.

  1. I must get married in Taiwan. In order to do this, I’ll have to go to AIT and sign an affidavit that I am single and able to wed. Then my wife-to-be and I will head to her HHR building and get the marriage certificate.

  2. Once having the marriage certificate, I must take the transcript they give me to an overseas Taiwan immigration building like the one I went to in Hong Kong. There I must present them with all of the following documents.

In return I will receive my resident VISA.

  1. Now back in Taiwan with my Resident VISA, I will head to NIA with all of the following documents filled out.

If all goes well, I will then be granted my JFRV. This will allow me to work freely in Taiwan without a working permit. And I was told my employer can register me in Taiwanese Heath insurance or I can join after 6 months with the JFRV.

First, if you can double check and add to the above info, that’d be great.

With all that said, there are 2 points I want to mention.

First, in Hong Kong, I will need to provide a background check from the FBI. Must I go back in order to get this?

Lastly, and this will change my first question into a definite yes.
The person on the phone realized something towards the end of our call. He said in my case, since I’m marrying without an active ARC, I would need to prove that me and my wife were married in my home country first. If you get married off of an ARC, you can bypass this it seems. So if I want to get married to her in Taiwan, I will first need to return to the USA first. Is this true? If so, I guess my follow up questions will be how would I go about this. I’m assuming I’d need to return to my home state, but I’d need to know what other things since I’m marrying a Taiwanese.

Alright, that’s a lot, so I’ll leave it here for now. If I left something important out, let me know, or PM me. Thanks!

Nope. When I got married in Taiwan, I had no ARC. I was here on a visa free entry. I did have to have a sworn affidavit from AIT saying I had never married before. That is simple to get.

Just a minor correction.

What you would get in HK is a JFRV (resident visa to join family, based on a marriage), then you would convert it to an ARC based on the marriage. Yes, I know JFRV is used to mean ARC based on marriage to Taiwanese, but, referring to ARC as visa is somehow strange.

So if what I get in HK is the JFRV, why am I going to the NIA office in Taiwan after? If I get the JFRV in Hong Kong, can’t I start working legally in Taiwan?

JFRV stands on a Resident Visa for the purpose of Joining Family. It’s one of several categories of resident visa, and is an entry permit. You need an ARC to reside in Taiwan. A person who enters in Taiwan with a resident visa should get an ARC at NIA within 2 weeks after the entry. A spouse of an ROC citizen can legally work without a work permit if having an ARC.

What many say JFRV is ARC for the purpose of joining family as a spouse an ROC citizen, in other words, ARC based on a marriage to an ROC citizen.

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I believe Tando is correct. The difference is discussed in agonizing detail in the “What exactly is a JFRV?” thread linked to above.

You can request the FBI background check from the FBI remotely – there is no reason to apply in person and I’m not even sure that you can apply in person. You’ll have to get fingerprinted at the Taiwan NIA office – make 2 or 3 sample cards so you’re certain that at least one will be accepted by the FBI. Check out the FBI’s website for details, but make sure you use the FBI service directly and do not use one of their “channeler services”. To keep the process and your life as simple as possible, just get the report from the FBI directly.

This can be a long process. It will take something like 3 months for them to issue and deliver the report as they are slow to react and won’t use courier services. You then have to send the report to TECRO in Washington for authentication. I called TECRO D.C. twice to make sure my paperwork was right before sending it, and they were very fast and efficient – the process took me exactly one week including two-way shipping from Taiwan and back by DHL.

All in, obtaining the required Tecro-authenticated FBI check will probably take you 3.5 months – by far the biggest time constraint for the paperwork that you’ll need to apply for your spousal ARC. So start this process early.

I’ll start in that process immediately then. I’ll take a look later when I’m first unless someone can send me a link to get started for that background check.

This site claims to be able to get it done in 24 hours.

Is this snake oil or can this get the job done?

It’s one of approved channelers, so not a snake oil. Actually, most of channelers may do the same. Though, @gator said as follows. I would recommend to check NIA or BOCA whether a report from a channeler is accepted.

Canada seems not to accept a report from channelers. And, BOCA page says “Original and one photocopy of proof of no criminal record issued by competent authorities of the applicant’s country”