Early Retirees Moving to Taiwan



Hi there! I’m new to the forum. My husband and I are in our mid 30s, and have saved enough to retire by the time we’re 40. We have a 2 year old son, and another baby due in July. We are hoping to embark on an adventure by living abroad in about 4-5 years.

We are thinking about Taipei because we 1) love the food there, 2) people are friendly, 3) we want our children to learn Mandarin, 4) we want modern conveniences of a big city, and 5) the cost of living while not cheap is still less expensive than where we currently live (San Francisco).

Our plan is to move, and perhaps enroll at a local university to study Mandarin while our kids go to school during the day. We may start an online business - we’re still figuring this part out but our situation obviously poses a couple of challenges:

  1. VISA - Since we won’t have a job there, it seems like the only option is a tourist visa but we’ll have to do visa runs, which seems highly inconvenient with 2 little ones. Are there any ways around this? Would a student visa work if we were to enroll in a university? My husband could negotiate with his company and work remotely in Taipei, but this is not our first choice.

  2. Schools - International schools are too expensive, so we prefer to enroll our children in local schools that cater to kids whose native tongue is not Mandarin. But is this even possible if we don’t have a resident visa? And - can we apply for a resident visa given our circumstances?

Thanks in advance for your advice!


Why not set up a branch company? That way you can sponsor your own visa.


Um…isn’t that the definition of an international school? Your choices are basically an expensive international school or sink or swim in a regular Mandarin-speaking public or private school.


I think you’re going to be unable to enroll in any schools unless you are an actual resident of some kind.

As far as “local schools that cater to kids whose native tongue is not Mandarin”, Do such things exist in Taiwan? You might try a bi-lingual school, which I think can be public or private.


As for retirement, I assume you would buy a place to live. Do you have 200,000 USD to 1,000,000 USD saved up for an apartment here? Cause as a foreigner in Taiwan, you ain’t getting a loan for a house without a Taiwanese co-signing the loan.


The whole plan sounds like pie in the sky.
But don’t let me discourage you :slight_smile:


Retiring in what should be the prime of your career? God, you’re gonna get bored. If you hate your job so much why don’t you retrain and do something else? You clearly have the financial resources.


Welcome to Taiwan!

Guess people are trying to be helpful but it didn’t seem to me you were asking for career advice…

I think it’s a great idea to come to Taiwan if you can make it work.

I wouldn’t suggest tourist visa and visa runs - ok short term but stressful after a while - not just the flights but the unsettled status here.

Agree starting your own business here or opening a branch office of an existing overseas business is a good way to go - again if you can make it work.

Also studying Mandarin can help you get a visa but may not be a great long-term plan for family.

Another option is to take a low-key English teaching job that will give you a resident visa.

I think with determination you can make it work - don’t listen to the naysayers!


Hmm, not a bad idea. Never considered this before, we’ll look into it. Thanks!


That’s what I thought initially. But then I read this thread and sounds like there are local schools that cater to students who aren’t fluent in Mandarin. One of them is Xinsheng Elementary in Da’an district, and we’re hoping to find another option if possible. If I’m mistaken about this, someone please correct me!


I’d be happy to be wrong on this one…more choices is always better.


Oh so we must have a resident visa in order to apply for any school? A work visa wouldn’t suffice? We could buy property but we plan to stay in Taiwan for only a few years and return to U.S. Of course we could always sell but prefer not to deal with the hassle. :slight_smile:


Lol, I know, it sounds outrageous! In fact, we haven’t told any family or friends about our plan because everyone would say we’re out of our minds. But living abroad has been a dream of ours. We were born and raised in California and pretty much lived here our whole lives. Although we traveled a lot, we feel like our perspective of the world could be broadened. We were also inspired by a popular US blogger, Go Curry Cracker who retired at 30 and moved to Taiwan. His situation is a lot less complicated though, because he doesn’t have school-aged children. :slight_smile:


Most foreigners with permission to work actually have work permits (issued to their employers), not “work visas”.

When you talk about residency, keep in mind that being a resident for tax purposes is measured only by the number of days per calendar that you stay in Taiwan (at least 183 days), and being a “resident” for conventional purposes usually means having an ARC (separate from your visa).

The two don’t always go together. You can stay the whole year on visitor visas, visa exempt entries, and/or extensions but still not have an ARC and therefore not be a “resident”.

About work and boredom, some kinds of volunteer work are permitted for some foreigners, but the legal situation is still quite restrictive.

It’s even more restrictive for online work, which you basically can’t do (legally) unless you’re a permanent resident or married to a Taiwanese, which obviously you won’t be.


Yes boredom is definitely a legit concern after retirement. If we weren’t planning to move abroad, we would find another job, probably part time. We don’t hate our jobs - in fact - we both agree this is the best jobs we’ve ever had. But even so, we’re still part of the rat race and prefer to do something exciting that doesn’t involve clients, meetings, and office politics!


Thanks! It’s cool…I like hearing all different perspectives! :slight_smile: I have considered teaching English. Would that grant my family a resident visa as well? Or just me?


You get a resident permit (ARC) when you have a work permit or a school visa. I think there are some other things that also qualify you for an ARC (like the representative office) but enrolling kids on a tourist visa or visa exempt is not likely.


See what I mean? We do need a retirement visa category. People with the means but no desire to work, but can still be of great benefit to Taiwan society and economy.

If the OP sets up his own office here, then hsi family is sponsored for residence visas, and they can enroll in school. I know many kids who just start Mandarin at local schools. Scary at firts, but they eventually adapt, kids are more resilient. parents will need better language skills, though. I’d say start learning abroad so you are not taht lost when you get here.

Ditto for not using the tourist visa. Not compatible with your situation/plans.

That said, are you sure you want to live in te city? How about the east coast by taitung or the mountains of Nantou? Taiwan gets prettier the further you get away from cities.


OP, so you actually don’t plan to retire in Taiwan. You just want to live in Taiwan for 3 to 4 years and then leave?

In that case you might consider teaching English to get a work permit, then residence visa. You should be able to bring your kids and spouse on that. Your husband could also work if he got a job teaching English.


However, if they do create a retirement visa, they’ll probably include a minimum age that would still exclude people like the OP. :doh:


Okay…let’s get creative.

Between now and the time you are ready to apply for residency, you should try to get all 4 of you in front of cameras, in the press if possible, as performers of some ilk. If we can prove some level of professionalism, we can apply for PWPs or Performers Work Permits. Ostensibly, you can apply for a 1-year Open Arts Work Permit. You could then roll that over 4 more times and get your APRC and…a passport. (Mortgage?)

Of course, there are hurdles to jump all along the way. You’ll need to earn taxable income to make it worth the gov’s desire to consider you “professional” enough to re-grant being one such hurdle.

As it happens, I can and have and am actively sponsoring artists in this manner. Your kids? Sight unseen, I predict they will make enough money to support the entire family in just the seasonal fashion shoots. And China…well…that is one massive market.

Should you so desire…