Changing Arc to student visa

Does anyone know the way to change an ARC to a Student Visa? I have decided that I would rather be a student then a teacher. I am really confused about all the details that seem to go along with this process. (Yes, I will contact the foreign affairs office…but I’d like to get some feedback before I go in there with a blank-eyed stare)
Some of the details that confuse me…
So, If I leave the country will my ARC be cancelled and then I bring the appropriate docs(school acceptance stuff) to the visa office(in HK or wherever) and they issue me a new 2 months tourist visa which I can extend monthly as a student? What worries me is that the ARC documentation will be in my passport and somehow that will disqualify me from getting a student-visa. Does anyone have any ideas on this ? Also, canceling my ARC will be breaking my contract with the school I’m with …can leaving them also get me banned from the country ie I won’t be able to get any other visa?

Hi Cat (Catheter?),
I don’t think there’s really technically such a thing as a student visa. If you study fulltime at a proper university liek Shida, you can then get an ARC, but you have to be there for 6 months before they give it to you, so this ARC becuase your a student would be referred to by some people as a student visa. It’s just an ARC, not a work permit, the two are separate things.

Secondly people studying at other schools like TLI or CLD, or those in theirfirst 6 months at uni, can use the documentation from their school to get a 60 day visa, which they then get extended at the police station monthly for up to 6 months. I did this for a long time and although people often refer to it as a student visa, it’s really just a visitor visa.

I don’t really think you should have too much trouble. They’re usually more worried abotu people going the other way, which is why I had to get papers saying that I’d stopped studying beofre I was allowed to apply for a work visa! Seems crazy that they’re alomost saying “if you’re going to work here, you’re not allowed to study Chinese”.


Thanks for your reply. I’m nervous that when I make the switch it will seem odd that my passport has an ARC sticker and I want to “step-down” to the tourist visa with study as the purpose of stay. Do you know if I can change my ARC to the tourist visa while in the country? or do I have to leave and reapply for a visa?

You have to leave the country.

When you come back, you have to be enrolled for 6 or 7 months before you get a new ARC. While you’re waiting, you have to remember to renew your visitor’s visa on time. This can be confusing. It’s a 60 day visa that can be used within 90 days. So make sure you go to the police station to renew your visa within 58 days from the day you entered Taiwan. 58 days because I’m not sure if the first and last day actually count.?.?.

I had a big temper tantrum about this, but it looks like Hartzell removed that thread. Thanks, Hartzell. I’ll try not to have too many more temper tantrums.

Big DORk

funny you should mention this…

I just quit work(had the whole shebang ARC, multiple reentry visa) and started studying in Shi-da. So I went up to the Waijiao bu and asked them can I apply for the student/visitor visa in Taiwan since that’s where I am, then asked the police. Eh no says they as this is normal for all countries…so I had to spend a whole bloody day in HK yesterday. I applied for the visa in the morning and got a 60 day NON EXTENDIBLE visa that afternoon. Now why they wrote non extendible I don’t know perhaps it’s because the woman behind the window was shall we say argumentative and clearly having a bad day so was I.

She asked me where was my round trip ticket. I said hello can’t you see I’m returning to Taipei tonight? She said no the one where you’re leaving Taiwan? She was so kind for this one instance she made an exception the sweet thing…

My question is I am going up to the Waijiao bu today or tomorrow to see if I can get an extension. From anyones experience is it possible even though it has those words NON EXTENDIBLE on the visa and given the fact that she only gave me a 60 days visa which will last 6/19 to 8/19 even though she clearly saw my first semester didn’t finish until 8/31!!?!!

I can start the application for an ARC from Shida after 4 months of study there…


It is possible to change a 60 non-extendable to a 60 day extendable, but I’m not sure of the exact process and of course it might change depending on where you go, who you talk to and what color shirt you’re wearing. I remember a couple of years ago you were supposed to have documentation from your school a letter saying why you wanted to stay in Taiwan and learn Chinese and a statement showing you had X amount of cash to support yourself. On the other hand I know of someone who did this with the school documents alone


The Taipei office in Bangkok was much more helpful than this. I think if you have the papers and you’re already enrolled at the school, Bangkok will be no problem.

I think the Bangkok office wants to avoid the multitudes of backpackers. These are the people who have big problems with the Taipei Office in Bangkok.

But, if you’re already enrolled at a school in Taiwan or already have work and the papers to back it up, then, in my experience, the process is very smooth. It just takes two days instead of one. You have to apply in the morning of the first day, and you get your 60 day extendible on the afternoon of the second day.

Plus, you’re in Bangkok, which is a refreshingly different break from Taiwan.



did martial law end in 1987 or what??

fugitive from the thought police 1984.

time for some murphocracy!

I’ve done this stunt before: had a work ARC and then tried to magically get a “student” visa without having to leave the country.

As you can see, it doesn’t work. And this was after running around for several days at the police station and waijiaobu.

Thing to note: You must do exactly as Shida or any other school tells you as far as documents are concerned. They have a sheet just for the purposes of a visa run. The list has the exact items you must produce to Chung Hwa Travel Service in HK or elsewhere.

If I remember correctly, the list includes a stamped certificate from the shcool that shows that you ALREADY paid your tuition for the next term and then possibly a stamped past attendance record if you are a continuing student. You will also need to be prepared to show a financial statement showing that you can support yourself in the country. The particulars of what qualifies for such a statement should be given to you by the school.

(What the xiaojie at the counter actually asks for depends on her mood.)

The return trip ticket is important. I didn’t have it because that stupid list Shitda gave me fogot that part. The HK gal gave almost didn’t give me a visa at all. But in the end I got a visa that could be extended twice up to 6 months. Good thing I brought that list along from Shida to shove in her face. “See, they told me I didn’t need a return ticket!” She would have lost face then to refuse me when I followed the rules the school was publishing (always have some sort of bizzare backup document).

Therefore, I have a suggestion: Always get one or two contacts at the school. Have them write their names and extension numbers down on that requriement sheet I just told you about. If you have problems (the kind you always run into even if you did everything correctly) you can always ask the xiaojie to give your contact a call in Taiwan to confirm.

From my expeience and from some others, this usually works since the don’t want that kind of mafan.

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Finally I was able to get my “no-extensions” stamped 60 days visa changed to a normal 60 days, extension allowed, visa at the foreign affairs department office, after writing a little study plan letter, showing them my bank account details, and the school details again. They didn’t need a ticket I guess because I had money in the bank…

It was that same Shida list that confounded me too