Complete Guide to Opening a Rep Office 2011 Update


Any suggestions for where to register an office address on the cheap? The office where I’m currently registered is shutting down and I would rather not pay $3k+ to some accountant just for an address.



Hello everyone! Newbie here. I am actually currently in Taiwan to set up a representative office for my New Zealand registered company. I created a power of attorney document and signed it but nowhere here will notarise it. Everyone says it needs to be authenticated back in NZ - so a long way to travel only to have to go back again.

Any advise? How did you register a UK company and then notarise the POA without going to the UK???

Any help would be appreciated.


Uk office has notarization services for legal documents. DHL saved the hassle for that trip.


Thanks to all the contributors so far this thread has been very useful.

I am finalising my representative office in Taiwan and have come into some problems.

My Singapore company was incorporated in July 2014 and I have had my company recognised by the MOEA in Taipei and been given a work permit (valid till January 2016) by the council of labour affairs. My last step was to apply for ARC.

Currently I am on a working holiday visa as an Australian which expires in April 2015 and was told while applying for my ARC at the NIA I need to change visa’s over at the department of foreign affairs.

I went in to the department of foreign affairs and they told me I need to go overseas and cancel my current visa (working holiday) at a TECO office and re enter on a visa exempt (visa free) visitor. Then come in and apply for a resident visa and take that to NIA for ARC.

However they guy working at department of foreign affairs also said they reject 50% of representative office cases and would not tell me why. Saying they have their ways of checking these companies.

I don’t want to cancel my current visa which is valid till April and enter Taiwan on a 30 day visa only to have my representative office arc application denied.

Anyone heard of this? or had this happen to them?


@trem - I am in the identical situation - with near identical timing it seems :slight_smile:

I have confirmed that a working holiday visa cannot be converted into an ARC. An official document here entitled "Application for Alien Residence Status (ARC) by Foreigners (Initial Application) - National Immigration Agency (NIA) - Taipei Service Station (June 2014)

5. Applicants wishing to convert a Visitor Visa to ARC should hold a valid Visa with a permitted stay of at least 60 days and not marked with “No Extension”. Visitor Visas with a permitted stay of 180 days but marked with “No Extension” are acceptable. Working Holiday Visas and Visas marked “Not Eligible to Apply for a Resident Visa or Resident Certificate” are not accepted.[/quote]

My information says that a “visa exempt” entry will not be able to be converted to an ARC - what you need is either a Resident Visa (you should be able to get this with your work permit) or a Visitor Visa within the restrictions noted above.


Confirmed - from BOCA site (

2. Visa-exempt entry cannot be converted to other types of visas, unless the following exceptions:.

A. Foreign visitors entering the R.O.C. through visa-exemption may only apply for converting to visitor visas within their legal stay at the Bureau of Consular Affairs or branch offices of MOFA in case of: severe acute diseases, natural disasters or other force majeure reasons, which hold them back from leaving the R.O.C. In addition, white-collar professionals who have obtained the work permits within their legal stay may apply for work visas, together with their spouse and minors (under age 20) entering the R.O.C. at the same time.

B. For U.K. and Canadian passport holders, please refer to “Notice for British & Canadian Passport Holders Who Enter Taiwan Visa-Free and Apply for an Extension of Stay”.(doc檔案)[/quote]


… and confirmed - the Working Holiday Visa cannot be converted to another visa type (for Australians at least).

The Chinese site at … e=738&mp=1 has a statement that is not found in the English site:

translated roughly, that’s basically:

After entry: Holders of working holiday visas, after entering may not apply to change to other visas within Taiwan.

Linked from this page is: … 492271.doc
which is, surprisingly, an English language document: “Guidelines for Visa Application to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Australian Nationals Joining the Working Holiday Program”. In this document there is a statement:

One reading of this is “if you’ve stayed more than 180 days, you can’t convert to another visa”, but more likely it is a translation error and should be read “No changes to visa type permitted.”


hey mate

yeh pretty sure I just need to leave Taiwan and visit a TECO office and apply for the 60 day visitor visa and cancel my whv. Teco office in Singapore said can be done in a day. Then once got visitor visa and with my work permit NIA can convert it to ARC with application form and employment certificate.

Dude at foreign affairs scared me a bit about it could still not be a guarantee to get arc but guy at immigration (NIA) said it is a guarentee pretty much when have work permit and there is a lot of confusion about rep offices in Taiwan of late due to some changes?

anyway cool we in the same boat, lets talk more pm your email




Just confirming the process I followed

  1. Be in Taiwan on Working Holiday Visa while all the business stuff is set up
  2. Go to Japan and cancel Working Holiday Visa, apply for an extendable Visitor Visa (arrive TECO 9am, collect 4pm)
  3. Re-enter Taiwan on Visitor Visa
  4. Apply for ARC (Visitor visa is cancelled at this point)
  5. Receive ARC (after 10 working days)

Note that between step 4 and 5, I was able to leave the country and get back in (twice!) using only the receipt the NIA provides you when you apply for the ARC.


Thanks for the update. Interesting case.

You couldn’t just do an afternoon trip to Hong Kong airport and upon arriving back in Taiwan tell the customs officer to ignore the WH visa and give you a visa free stamp instead? Anyway I suppose it’s all the same in the end.

I’m surprised anyone would ditch the WH visa though!


Apparently not. The best guess I have based on all the conflicting information given to me so far is it’s something to do with the fact that the WH visa is a work permit, and you can’t have multiple of those at once shrug. The NIA did explicitly ask for the WH visa to be cancelled. Though, the cancellation stamp they use is a pretty standard one that just says “VOID” . . .

I travel quite extensively for work … the immigration agents were increasingly asking more and more interesting questions about my status, probably since I usually also use my APEC card to get into the diplomatic queue. Now I can use the eGate - which means my battered passport will stop losing blank pages at such a high rate :slight_smile: I also had a couple of bad experiences in foreign airports flying back to Taiwan without return tickets to my passport country.

… now if I can just figure out where I’m at in the NHI registration process, all will be good.


Good luck with that!

Having an ARC does make travel a breeze. No more filling out that form on the airplane.

For anyone getting hassled by airlines (Cathay! ><) just tell them you travel very frequently and have never had a problem. If that doesn’t work tell them you will simply buy a ticket with your credit card if need be. If they’re really being a pain ask for a waiver. I’ve signed a few of those in my day.


Hi, I’m thinking of setting up a rep office too. I’m an Aussie, but planning to set up a HK company with a Taiwan rep office
I’ve got 2 questions:

  1. When I set up the rep office, is there any suggested minimum amount of business (dollar wise) that the parent HK company should do with Taiwan suppliers? Is there a different minimum amount in the first year versus years after?

For example if I’m thinking of starting out doing about around $500 USD per month (or about $16000 NTD per month) of purchasing from Taiwan suppliers? Is that OK or too low?

Is it OK if there is no purchasing in the first few months since I need to set up the rep office and get quotes from suppliers first???

  1. Is the rep office allowed to get Taiwan suppliers to do services (such as having Taiwanese do outsourced IT work or web design)? Or is the rep office only allowed to get Taiwan suppliers for tangible products only (such as manufactured goods, etc)???



Your questions:

  1. There is no standard whatsoever as far as I know. It’s up to the civil servant in charge of your case at the Council of Labor Affairs to decide whether or not you’ve been sufficiently active when considering your renewal application. I think as long as you can bombard them with paperwork you’re ok. Keep records of all communications, quotes given, quotes requested, contracts, invoices, etc., that result from dealings with any Taiwanese business.

Perhaps you’ve encountered this phenomenon in Taiwan: when you go to transact some bit of official business they always start with, ok, give me your documents and we’ll get started. When asked “what documents” they just repeat, just give me your documents and I’ll tell you what you need. Point being, give them documents!

You may have some luck going to the CLA and asking what you’ll need to provide but when I did this I basically got the “documents” answer. Someone else on here might know better but you’ll have to get lucky or search through this thread and send some PMs.

As for purchasing, note that you cannot export with a rep office. Bizarre point of law. You will have to export anything under your own name, which is ok although too much will raise flags. $500 USD per month should be fine but YMMV and you’re technically liable for taxes of some kind. I never looked into that fully since I had a separate local company set up to handle export.

  1. You are more than welcome to outsource whatever services you like, of course. You are allowed to hire any sort of employees and buy any goods or services. Why not? (That last why not should be your hint that I actually have no idea but why would they ever limit your ability to buy/hire in Taiwan?)


Finally got my arc, just for anyone thinking of doing this all the information is this thread is still accurate and it can be done. MOEA are also really helpful for any advise on what documents to submit. As step 1 is by far the hardest. I think it was also mentioned here also to have your salary as 28,000 on your employment contract to reduce tax (no longer needs to be 48,000)



Thanks! Glad to hear that.

Why 28,000? I had 20,000 at the time … I think? That’s what I declared at tax time anyway. I have another friend who used the minimum wage from his country, which is lower than the minimum wage in Taiwan.

Note of course that a suspicious wage may hinder your application. Be honest about everything and you’ll be fine. Tax in Taiwan is quite minimal, and the government operates with a high degree of efficiency (for a government… come on).


One important question regarding Taxes

The Rep office itself receives salary from overseas and is only taxed on income. Got that. Pretty straightforward.

However when it facilitates sales for the overseas company there would be purchasing/sales between a local and Foreign company, which I think would get taxed.

What would be the taxes involved for a local company buying services from a foreign company? Would that be the 20% withholding tax?


Did a bunch of research and the situation seems to be:
-Taiwan sourced income of foreign companies is subject to 20% withholding.

-The definition of Taiwan sourced income depends on who you ask.

Officially according to “The Guidelines”(2009, a crystal clear but very long and involved chinese only document) it’s income for services rendered in Taiwan, but in practice the Supreme Court tends to rule in favour of more taxation(who wouda thought!?) which means Taiwanes companies have every right to withhold the 20% – and probably should for their own liability.

More information about this is available online - look up “Guidelines for Taiwan Source income” and google the tax guides published by PwC, especially the later ones published 2012 or later.

-There is a special, complicated sounding approval process for providers of certain specific technical services which meet a number of guidelines, which can reduce the withholding rate to 3%. I have not done the full investigations on this but as mentioned, it is a bit complicated and difficult to setup and probaby would need the help of a chinese speaking CPA.


Strictly speaking this issue only affects local businesses, who should have access to a local CPA who can help them understand/reduce/avoid taxes.


Another interesting question.

As an individual taxpayer it’s possible to deduct rental payments up to $120,000 a year.

As a rep office paying only income tax is it possible to still deduct rental payments? And is this affected by the 1/6 space declared for business aspect if using your own domicile?