Extending an ARC Because of the Pandemic

Hi everyone

I hope I can ask here for some expert advice on visas.

I have lived in Taiwan for about five years (this time), one of which was as a student, three were working as a teacher at an international school. After my last contract almost a year ago I expected to find work early this academic year, but I didn’t, so for the last year I’ve used my two extensions and written a book, while waiting for the next academic year to start (when jobs in my field come up).

I’ve just been offered and accepted a job at a reputable school from August, but my ARC expires in one month. The school will process my work permit next week, but the job start date on my contract is set in stone for August.

I thought that I would be able to extend my ARC until I started my new work, but the immigration office refused, saying that I needed to leave Taiwan, and then come back on a new visa before my new job starts. They are, of course, absolutely right, and legally speaking I don’t have a leg to stand on: I’ve used my two extensions. But there’s literally no way for me to get home (New Zealand), and even if I can somehow get there and back (perhaps if the situation improves in a month), or possibly do a visa run to Sweden (one country with a TECO office which seems set to stay open) it seems absurd to do a visa run in these circumstances, risking bringing the virus back to Taiwan. I have an apartment and a life here and it seems crazy to leave just for a piece of paper.

I feel confident that if I could plead reason and compassion under these circumstances, that surely someone could rubber stamp an extension until my official start date? Or am I being naively optimistic? And, if I can’t renew it, what would anyone suggest I do? Even if I can find a way back to New Zealand, I doubt I will be able to return, even if I can get the visa, a flight, and quarantine myself in my apartment for two weeks (if it is still required then). I will visit the New Zealand Trade Office on Monday, in the hope that they might be able to help.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions I would be very grateful.

Thank you.

You actually don’t have to go back to New Zealand. Any country will do. The length of time doesn’t matter either. You can be back in even a day if you want. I had something similar happen before and that’s what they told me.

The problem, however, is that he currently doesn’t possess an ARC or an APRC. Therefore, he’s not a resident.

Foreigners are currently not allowed to enter Taiwan at this time due to the current pandemic.

An offer for work doesn’t an ARC make, so he’d have to hope that he would be granted entry based on the job offer.

Thanks Malcom and Wrappy.

I think I have to go to NZ because as far as I know no country other than Sweden will allow me in at the moment. Obvious places like HK and Japan are closed to foreigners. But the TECO office in NZ is probably closed too.

I was told by immigration that a work permit and job offer would be sufficient to allow me back into the country.

I was more wondering what people thought my chances were of getting an extension under these circumstances, or any other ideas?


Excellent information! Thanks for sharing.

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Just putting out ideas here… can you apply the for the New Zealand - Taiwan working holiday visa from within Taiwan?


Thanks for the idea Irish91. Unfortunately I’m a decade too old for it (max age is 30). But I think (hope!) there most be a loophole like that, since the usual procedures are next to impossible.

It just seems frustrating that the nation can defeat the virus without lockdowns, but then send a resident to a country with the virus and through a month’s quarantine just for a new visa.


Place of application: Applicants shall apply for visas at the ROC Embassy, Consulate and overseas missions in the applicable country.


Sorry Malcom I need to clarify something for the sake of anyone else in a similar situation. I have an ARC and have for 5 years. But it will expire before my new job starts and I’ve used both my extensions.
I’m not sure how much difference that makes, but should note it.

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Thanks for the clarification bro.

In that case, you need to leave Taiwan ASAP…before the ARC expires…then hightail it back to Taiwan before the ARC expires.

As an ARC holder, you’ll be let back in,to do your mandatory 14 day quarantine, but at least you’ll be back.

Hurry hurry hurry!

After that, can @JesseD get an extension after the ARC expiration?

Shouldn’t be a problem as he’ll have the job offer and work permit in the pipeline.

The contract and the work permit start from August, though.

Can you get a new ARC a few months before the starting date of the contract and work permit?

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Thanks Malcom and Tando. I don’t think I can get and extension even after doing a visa run? So I’m worried that coming back with my ARC will put me back in the same situation?

One option I have considered is leaving and asking for a visitors visa when I get back to Taiwan. Then convert it to a resident visa in Aug. But I’m not sure if they would give it to me?

Ok. I recommend that you go to the NIA and ask them the following questions.

  1. Can you get your ARC extended just until your new job starts. Reference the pandemic and show all paperwork you have showing your new job which will start in August. I know they already told you that it wasn’t possible, but sometimes you can get a different answer on a different day, but from the same person! Been there.

  2. Show them your paperwork for your new job and ask them if you leave for New Zealand and then return before your current ARC expires, would you be eligible to get extensions up until your new job begins.

  3. It might be possible to extend your current ARC again although you’ve already taken the allowed amount. Why? Because the government has already given an updated extension for foreigners based on the pandemic. It’s possible that if things don’t straighten out soon world-wide, that you might be able to get an extension for humanitarian reasons. You never know.

Second automatic 30-day extension for foreigners entering Taiwan on or before March 21 with visa waiver, visitor visa, or landing visa (no application required) (overstayers excepted)


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These are exceptional circumstances requiring exceptions to be made, so going to the NIA with all your supporting documents is what you need to do, as Malcolm said. Perhaps your new school can write a letter for you as well? Also, if you aren’t fully comfortable with Chinese I’d bring a Chinese speaking friend to help plead your case so there aren’t any “misunderstandings.”


This is just me speculating as I don’t know much about this stuff, but:

  1. Could you explain your situation to the school and get them to move forward your contract start date from August? Perhaps by making it as inexpensive and with as little inconvenience for them as possible, e.g., working fewer hours for a minimum/nominal salary, or even some kind of volunteering/unpaid training thing. Perhaps by gently insisting and explaining that you’d really like to work at this school, but if you can’t move the start date forward you don’t have many other options and may unfortunately need to start looking elsewhere or you’ll have to leave Taiwan.
  2. Could you find something else instead, or are you really committed to this particular employer? Either temporary but willing to sponsor an ARC for a couple of months, or permanent instead of your current position.
  3. Is there any way you could temporarily change your ARC to another type (e.g., studying, internship, volunteering) for a few months to tide you over until August?
  4. Are you eligible for the gold card by any chance?
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for the the reasons of residency other than to be joining family, employment or investment, you maybe should leave Taiwan once.

Hi everyone

Thanks very much for all the suggestions, and sorry for the late reply. I’ll try the NIA and then my school with your suggestions on Monday morning.

The idea of studying Chinese seems good too, and I could actually do with the classes. Likewise I volunteer here sometimes so will see if I can get a visa for it, but I think that’s a long shot. The gold card could work if someone was willing to be a bit flexible on the requirements.

Thanks again for all the help and suggestions!

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If you are planning to give this a shot best get started pretty soon. The entire process takes about a month give or take and noted that you only have a month left on your ARC.

Good luck!