Complete Guide to Opening a Rep Office 2011 Update

I’ve just got my documents from the MOEA for my rep office and next stage would be to apply for the work permit. However, given the current situation it’s looking unlikely I will be able to actually be able to conduct many duties as a rep here, so I am looking at leaving for a while until the situation gets better and returning. Has anyone applied for the work permit and arc whilst abroad? Is there a time limit that the rep office can go without an employee? I’m not sure whether to chance applying for everything now and then leaving or trying to apply abroad for my return.

If you don’t have an ARC already, even if you’re able to get the work permit step completed while you’re abroad, I don’t believe you will be able to enter the country under the current restrictions. The only people being let in now (with few exceptions) are citizens and ARC holders.

I don’t believe that there’s a requirement for the rep office to have an employee. The rep office isn’t really a company and doesn’t pay tax. So if it just sat there, I don’t think anyone would care.

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I’ve had a letter from the work permit department today who are asking for share capital of my home
company. I went through the list of required documents on the phone with someone at the office who said these documents wouldn’t be required. I only applied for 1 year. I’ve seen a few posts having similar issues and stating that providing share capital proof is not a legal requirement, but I’m not sure how to counter the argument and provide proof of this. Has anyone had similar issues recently and could share how they managed to get them resolved or have the laws changed?

I wrote directly on my application that there was no capital requirement in my country.

I guess if I were you I’d phone the person handing your case (phone number should be on the letter) to tell them there’s no capital requirement in your country. There should be no need to explain. They’re just not used to handling these cases TBH. All the normal cases they see do have this requirement, ie. Taiwanese companies applying for foreign devil work permits need to have a certain capital to hire.

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I started preparing to apply for a rep office May 14 Saturday and submitted my application on May 16 Monday, received rep office approval letters/document on May 19 Thursday after I had to re-send in the rep office application form due to several errors on May 17 Tuesday. Front desk people were not that helpful as they said they only receive the forms and don’t know how to check if there are any errors etc, and the CPA at MOEA was not in due to covid. The person who called me to inform to make new changes and resubmit was helpful though and clearly outlined what I needed to change for the RO to be approved.

Have applied for the work permit May 26 (last Thursday) and was informed it will (or may) take up to 12 working days before I hear a reply. Front desk here also seemed to be clueless and were not able to check if my documents were sufficient/correct.

I will look to update the guide with latest info/links once I have some more time and have gone further into the process.

A bit crunched for time right now as my current arc expires June 22, so hoping the work permit process doesn’t take too long and there isn’t a whole lot of back and forth that goes on as there may have been a few things I should have done so that they don’t get back to me asking for re-submissions or further documents (aka putting a 3 year employment contract, whereas others in this thread have said that RO managers are supposed to start off with 1 year, I had a friend given 3 year work permit however that may have been due to him supplying company capital documentation, which is the standard requirement for branch offices receiving work permits etc)

DATED 8/6/2022.

An update to the 2015 update that this post is a reply to.

Step 1: Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), No. 15, Fuzhou St, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100

You have to submit in person or mail in the documents to the above office.

List of documents required and where to download them (PDF, word…): Documents for the Application for registration of a Representative Office in the ROC

  1. 申請書 Application form.
    You can use PDF software called PDF xchange to type on any PDF and print. (If you use Word, make sure to save as PDF format before printing then use PDF to print so the format doesn’t get screwed up).
    It might be good to visit the MOEA and get help filling it out, as it’s not clear when to write Chinese and when to write English, etc.

Download from #1: Documents for the Application for registration of a Representative Office in the ROC

  1. 其他機關核准函(依法應先經目的事業主管機關許可者,應檢附許可文件影本,無 則免送)
    Special permission letter, no need unless you plan to operate in one of these industries: [the old link doesn’t work and I’m not sure where/how to find the current list of industries requiring exception, to me it seemed that this was more required for Chinese companies]

  2. 其公司登記主管機關核發之法人資格證明文件(附中文譯本) Certificate of incorporation of your company.

It’s easiest to set up if you have a corporation, there are instances of other forms of company being allowed but it’s best if you set up a proper corporation that is a legal person (法人). If you are from Canada, you can do the whole thing online for 200CND, I’m sure most other gov’ts have similar systems. You could also form a company in a 3rd country like Hong Kong, I hear it’s pretty straightforward, ask in the forum and I’m sure you’ll get some advice.

The certificate must be translated into Chinese. If the original document is in English you may translate it yourself, or get a friend to do it. Other languages will require a certified translator to do it. Confirm with the MOEA first if you want to avoid hassle.

There is no need for legalization or notarization for this document. Although that may depend on what country you’re from or where your company is incorporated in (higher risk countries may require notarization/authentication - check with MOEA)

  1. 在中華民國境內指定之訴訟及非訴訟代理人授權書(須經驗證並附中文譯本)

Power of attorney (POA) giving you the right to act as representative, and should state your exact responsibilities as rep. This will have to include the full name of the representative in Taiwan, and be signed by a person whose name appears among the company directors, or the company owner.

It will have to be translated into Chinese and notarized if you are in Taiwan. Notarization prices are fixed by law: 2022 prices are 750 NT for Chinese documents. 750NT should get you unlimited copies, get 2~3, who knows when you’ll need them. [I was also charged a further 500 NT on top of the 750 NT, I’m not exactly sure why]

If applying outside of Taiwan, you most likely have to get this document certified at your local TECO office.

Search Google for 代理人授權書 to find a POA.

Here’s a very helpful notary near Shi-Da: 陳永星 台北市羅斯福路三段126號4樓之3

Just in case, bring proof/evidence that you are the owner/major shareholder of the company because the person notarizing it is essentially confirming that this is the case and the certificate of incorporation by itself does not prove this. (My notary asked me for proof of this, yours may not but better safe than sorry)

You sign and stamp the POA (English and translated versions) in front of the notary before they notarize it.

  1. 在中華民國境內指定訴訟及非訴訟代理人身分證明文件
    Your passport, and chops/seals (大小章).

If you don’t have a small personal seal and a Chinese name, get one. You also need your company owner’s personal seal, get one.

Your company will also require a Taiwanese seal. It must read X商YZ有限公司臺灣辦事處 where XYZ are:
X: your country name in Chinese
Y: your company name in Chinese (make one up)
Z: 股份 if your company is limited by shares; if not then don’t include anything here

Example: [country name]商[company name]有限公司臺灣辦事處

Note 1: Never pay more than 70NT for a chop of any kind. Here’s a place that does laser-cut chops in 5 minutes: g.co/maps/exnqt . It’s the best place you can get your chop as it’s very fast and also cheap (one time i got a chop at a shop on Xinyi Road and they charged me 450NT :fume: )
Note 2: At the same time you might as well cut another chop with the word 辦事處 added to the end of your full company name as above. It’s pretty likely you’ll need this when you apply for a tax account. New Taipei City certainly will demand it.

  1. 建物所有權人同意書正本(應載明同意提供使用之公司名稱)及 最近一期房屋完 稅稅單(或所有權狀)影本。(建物為公司所有者或檢附租賃契約影本,免附 同意書,仍應附最近一期房屋完稅稅單影本或所有權狀影本)
    If you can’t read this, don’t worry, the important parts, which are in bold, are written out at the end of this item.

This part will be the most difficult for most people, although there is no need for it to be hard. You need to find a place to register the office. This can be an office, or your home. Most residential landlords will break into a cold sweat at the mere mention. Here are some options:

a. Sweet talk your present landlord and promise to pay, under contract, whatever increase in tax there might be as a result of registering. You can register as little as 1/6 of the living space as a business, and the tax only increase 1 or 2%, so this should not be a big deal. You will hit a wall if the landlord isn’t paying rental tax on your apartment–very likely to be the case. Same for the fifth floor of 4-story buildings, etc. (加蓋).

b. Raise the issue when finding an apartment–at least here you have some leverage. Sweet talking will still be required. Note: If you register at your place of residence, note that you may receive a visit from tax officials to verify that there is indeed a legitimate work space and that it more or less matches the space declared. This is a gray area, but as with many things in Taiwan, if it looks legit, it’s legit. So it shouldn’t be a problem.

c. Rent a small office. Offices go for as little as 10k per month. Look on 591.com.tw .

d. Use one of the innumerable “services” offered all over Taiwan where you can rent a “space” to register your business for NT$2000-3000 per month. Most ask for 12 months rent upfront, however. No big deal, just be sure any contract you sign has a bail-out clause where you get the balance of your money back if you shut down/move/etc. You can use 591 to find these services too. Also enquire if/when an inspection comes if they are able to help set you up with a space at the office on the day so you can receive the inspector and show them that you ‘work’ there.

You will have to get two things from your landlord.
i. A letter stating that the landlord agrees to have your rep office established at the address, full address and your company name must be stated. OR If the lease is in the company’s name, you can provide that instead.
ii. A copy of the most recent tax statement for the place you’re registering. It must show the same landlord as the name on the letter/lease in part i.

Note: Make a copy of all these document for your own records. To make a wanton generalization, landlords are a very shady lot and will get all antsy when you start asking them for various tax stuff so once you have the docs, copy them so you won’t have to ask again and make them nervous for nothing.

  1. 外國公司指派代表人(變更)報備表(一式兩份) Registration card.

Must be 100% filled out by computer with zero mistakes. This is going to be your official certificate showing you have a rep office in Taiwan. Don’t worry about going into too much detail with the sections on what your company does, etc., a sentence or two is fine. You need to submit 2 copies of this.

Download under #8: Documents for the Application for registration of a Representative Office in the ROC

  1. Registration fee is 1000 NTD.

Some notes about the MOEA:

i. There is a CPA desk which can answer all kinds of questions and most of the people there are very friendly. Go and talk to them.
ii. They have a website, which is awful, but it’s still useful: gcis.nat.gov.tw . Find the link for 資料下載, which should have a section called 應備文件, under which rep office registration is referred to as 外國公司報備.

For this step I would recommend doing things roughly in this order:

  1. Get seals made and done
  2. Sort out POA + company incorporation translations (ask a local/friend, hire someone online, or get it professionally done)
  3. Find/sort out an office address and get the required documents/lease sorted
  4. Fill out application forms, double, triple check details are correct then print out
  5. Notarize your POA (translated + English versions)
  6. Prep any other required copies/documents (ARC, passport etc)
  7. Stamp the shit out of your documents and write “same as originals” on all copies
  8. Send through documents in person or via mail (I don’t recall there being an online option to submit, perhaps you can check)

All documents should look something like this:

  1. Application Form
  2. Certificate of Incorporation (+ Chinese translation)
  3. Power of Attorney (+ Chinese translation)
  4. Copy of ARC or Passport (with additional requirements if using passport)
  5. House ownership certificate for the office of the RO or latest house tax for the address
  6. Original rental lease contract or agreement issued by the house owner
  7. 2 copies of the Rep office of Foreign Company Registration Form
  8. (Proof of ownership of company for notarization, perhaps a company statement or any other legal document that shows you are the owner of the company / on the board of directors)

I did this step in May 2022, MOEA were very quick to process my application (submitted Monday, informed Tuesday there were errors so I resubmitted forms, then received approval/documents for next step that week Thursday).

Office was empty when I went around 9 AM, not sure if this was due to covid at the time or something else but it was insanely quiet with 7 or so staff members there serving essentially just me.

Step 2: WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (Cross-border Workforce Services), Address: Fl. 10, No. 39, Chung-Hwa Rd. Sec. 1, Taipei City.
map: goo.gl/maps/Ns3x

You can apply in person at the WDA office above, apply online if you have an online ID with Taiwan government, or mail in the documents/application to this address, it must be submitted through this office or done online, other Taiwan WDA regional branches/offices do not process work permits or help you submit it to the Taipei office.

I will provide further updates and details on this step once I receive my work permit. Thus far the work permit has taken the most time, inline with what friends and consultants I reached out to have told me.

It takes (up to, or at least) 12 working days for submitted applications (in person or via mail) and 7 working days for online applications granted that everything is correct, otherwise they will send a letter to you informing you what is incorrect and needs to be resubmitted / rectified

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How much was the rental?

I contacted the same guys that Davi used, they quoted me NT 31,500 / year, roughly ~2.6K ntd per month, not sure if there were other fees beyond that

I got my work permit yesterday at the last moment then went straight to the NIA to apply for a work visa. My student visa expired today so I got a bit lucky there, no issues or dramas applying/changing to the work visa at NIA and now just waiting for the ARC card to come through in about 2 weeks.

Will post an update for steps #2 (work permit) and #3 (applying for ARC) when I get around to it. A few things learnt and also things that could have been avoided to avoid some of the delays that I faced

DATED 8/6/2022 - update to the 2015 guide

Step 2: WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY,
Address: Fl. 10, No. 39, Chung-Hwa Rd. Sec. 1, Taipei City.
map: goo.gl/maps/Ns3x

This step MUST be done online or in-person/mailed to the above address/WDA branch in Taipei, any other sub branches of WDA do not accept or process work permit applications.

To apply for a work permit you will need (see here for the full details in 2022: EZ Work Taiwan-B00.Overseas Chinese or Foreign Investment Officer):

  1. Application form (you can fill it out by hand at the CLA office) or download it here B00 Application Form
  2. Photo of you, visa format. They’re not too picky but it should be visa/passport style. (I didn’t submit a photo for the work permit and received it, this step also is not specified in the above link as a required document so is no longer required)
  3. 1x copy of your passport, prep copies before you go, there’s a 7-eleven northwest of the office which you can use.
  4. Your two chops, 大小章
  5. Employment contract, any contract is fine. Requires Chinese translation!
  6. Registration documents (公文) given to you by the MOEA from Step #1. They would have emailed or mailed this out to you.
  7. If you currently have an ARC, provide a copy of your ARC.
  8. 500NT cash for the fee.

Note: There is no official minimum wage in this case. Your home country’s minimum, or Taiwan’s minimum are fine, although if you are reporting too little tax here you might find yourself being asked a lot of questions. (MINIMUM WAGE to be inserted in 2022 is ~26,000NT$/m and your salary in the contract should not be lower than this amount.

IMPORTANT Notes:

  • If you apply for 3 years (possibly 2 years or any period above 1 year) on the application form for the work permit, you WILL (may) be required to submit company capital documentation that shows 500,000 NT or above in capital - TO AVOID THIS ONLY PUT 1 YEAR ON YOUR work permit APPLICATION form - the period of time on your contract doesn’t matter, it can be 1 year or longer.
  • Online submissions will receive a response in 7 working days, whereas physical submissions require 12 working days. To submit online, I believe you will need to register for the Taiwan Digital Certificate (or whatever it is called, you will see it when you try to submit online) - I’m not sure if going via an agent gets rid of the need for a digital ID certificate but I would suspect not.
  • If there is a need to resubmit documents/forms, WDA will require a FURTHER 7 or 12 working days from the following business day of receiving your new documents to continue the process of your application…
  • To try and speed things up - granted you have a viable reason, or you are simply a persistent bugger - you can call the number of the person who is handling your case, but beware of pissing them off/annoying them, they are the ones who will be handling your case and ultimately approving/disapproving
  • If you only apply for 1 year on the work permit and your representative office is less than 1 year old, you are NOT required to submit capital company documentation. If they get back to you saying they require you to submit this, you may need to enlist the help of a local to call the main office of WDA in New Taipei to explain the situation if the person handling your case is unaware or unwilling to budge on this.
  • To pick up the document in person at the office, you need to submit a form that requests this when you submit your application. Also if you apply with physical documents, you will likely be required to send any further requested documents via mail (and also receive the work permit via mail), unless there is some exception to your case (such as your ARC is quickly going to expire and there isn’t any time to waste - but this also depends on who you get handling your case)

Step 3: National Immigration Agency (NIA) - this one can be done at your local National Immigration Agency, does not have to be a specific Taipei branch
map: goo.gl/maps/wMmt

You will need:

  1. 2 visa format photos
  2. Employment certificate, which they can give you one on the spot–it will require your signature and 大小章. Ask them to give you this form if they don’t provide it
  3. Application form, fill out by hand at the NIA
  4. Work permit from the CLA
  5. Passport and one copy (they have a copy machine there)
  6. Copy of the lease for the place you live, or a letter from the lessee stating you live there (may not be required if you fill out your address in Chinese, etc., I’ve only rarely been asked for this)
  7. 2200NT + 1000NT/year. You can choose to pay every year, or pay all at once. NOW you have to pay at once (I paid 3000 NT for a 3 year work permit)

It takes exactly 14 days where you will then get mailed your new ARC card or go pick it up in person (up to you). NIA will give you a stay duration as shown on your work permit.

Note: It may be necessary to go to Foreign Affairs to get a resident permit, depending on your status at the time of application–ie visa free treatment. To avoid this, come on a visitor visa. I’m not sure about switching from another ARC. What is clear is that the likelihood of being forced to do a visa run is almost nil.

Note for working holiday visa holders: This is a non-convertible visa and you will be required to do a visa run and probably visit a TECO office to have the visa formally canceled. It would be useful to apply for a visitor visa at the same time so you can avoid the application for a resident permit as stated above.