Health Check


I am conducting a research on the types of discriminations against foreigners in Taiwan.

Would any body kindly inform me where I can find the details about foreigners’ health check regulations?

Who needs to have what kind of health checks, and how often?

Are checks of AIDS, symphilis, hepatitis, malaria, intestinal parasites, amphetamines and morphoine part of the health check items?
Or, do the items for health check vary according to one’s occupation?



As far as I know, the type of health check required varies according to two criteria – the country from which you are coming and the government ministry that issues your work permit.

Are they discriminatory? No more than other countries’ requirements, I don’t think. Disorganized would be closer to the mark. I don’t require a health check at all for my work permit or ARC, but if I were to apply through the Ed. Ministry (e.g. for a permit to teach, I would need to give blood, urine sample, etc.)

Of course, this is because all teachers are disease-riddled junkies. OUCH! STOPPIT! I WAS JUST YANKIN YER CHAIN!

However, if I were to apply for an ARC through my marriage, I would have to take a dump in a little cup, an AIDS test and all kinds of things. (I wonder what they think I might have caught off her?).

Just another case of the Taiwan government’s right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.


This letter was printed in a local newspaper:
Testing the wrong people

I read with great interest your article about the Chinese wife who was infected with HIV by her foreign husband, and would like to add some comments.

Being a foreign spouse, I have also faced, among numerous other forms of discrimination applied to foreign spouses, the HIV test. For the last year, this test has not only been requested in the case of applications for permanent residency, but even if the spouse wants to apply for a six-month visa based on his marriage certificate. [I don’t write “her,” because everybody knows that female spouses get preferential treatment regarding residency and even citizenship]. So if a male spouse stays in Taiwan for six months, then goes to Hong Kong, for example, to get a new six-month single-entry visa, he must go to a registered hospital in Taiwan for an HIV test. If he does this, let’s say, four times in two years, there will be virtually no chance of his having been infected with AIDS other than in Taiwan.

The real problem behind the increase in HIV infection is not with foreign spouses, who usually raise families in Taiwan, and are thought to be “respectable.” It would be wiser to screen all the young, white, single males going every two months to Thailand or Cambodia to renew their tourist visas; all foreign businessmen travelling around Asia; or even all Taiwanese male tourists going on tours to Macau, Thailand or China.

The only reason why Taiwan deports foreign nationals infected with HIV is that it doesn’t want to carry the financial burden of treating HIV. When a foreigner applies for residency in, for example, my country, France, and has a job, he has to pay his taxes and health insurance premiums just like French citizens, and, like them, is entitled to treatment for any medical condition from which he may suffer. Foreign residents of Taiwan are also obliged to pay taxes and medical insurance premiums, just like Taiwan citizens, so why can’t they be covered by health insurance for all the same diseases as Taiwan citizens?

Taiwan has been lucky to keep the number of HIV carriers relatively low in comparison with those of its neighbors – until now. It is time now for Taiwan to face the problem frankly like most nations in the West.

Alain Roubi



Schnell’s comment that “everybody knows that female spouses get preferential treatment regarding residency and even citizenship” may have been true before February, 2000, however it is no longer true.

As to the other complaints that many have voiced about the unfair treatment of foreigners in regard to Health Checks, if anyone would like to make an appointment to talk to me about the valid concerns in this area, I will be happy to do that, and to try to evaluate what legal action might be possible. Feel free to contact me directly by email.


Gee, it seems if one were to get HIV, then like in the EPMD song Golddigger, there goes the job, wife, car, house, visa, etc. I bet the much vaunted permanent resident card [APRC] is not immune either.
[house minus visa = inaccessable house] shows the name of a HIV help group:
TEL: 02-2311-0333
(The above AIDS Rights group has web address also:


Persons with HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy Association of Taiwan
Tel: 02-2312-2859
Fax: 02-2375-9150

By the way, I recommend getting one’s health check done after starting to assemble all other relevant immigration documentation, otherwise it will expire in 3 months and the X rays, HIV test, etc. will have to be done again!


I received this email recently.

The Persons with HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy Association (PRAA) in Taipei is calling upon the Taiwan government to review its discriminatory policy on the ban of foreign citizens infected by HIV.

According to the amended AIDS Prevention Regulation (APR), expelled foreigners can make a plea to the Department of Health (DOH), and theoretically, the deported would have the chance to re-enter Taiwan. But a recent case revealed the true colors of the DOH.

Rachel (pseudonym) married her Malaysian husband in 1997. To be domiciled in Taiwan, the Malaysian went through a health check at an officially designated hospital and was found to be HIV sero-positive. The couple were not around when the result came out. The police, nevertheless, felt free to share the information with Rachel’s colleagues. However, this was only the start of their nightmare.

In January 1999, Rachel sent a letter to the DOH to learn how to make an appeal. After three months’ waiting, the DOH replied that the administration would consider, on a case-by-case basis, the merits of granting re-entry. With the support of the PRAA, Rachel met the vice-director of the Center of Disease Control (CDC, under DOH), Ms. Hsu Hsu-mei in May, and was promised a careful review of her husband’s case.


After a chaotic period of boundary-defining within the health authorities, finally, Rachel’s plea was admitted in June 2001, when the CDC required all medical records of her husband to be examined by the Taiwanese consulate in Malaysia. Three times within four months, the whole application was repeatedly rejected on technical grounds, which invariably involved lengthy, bureaucratic interactions between the Foreign Ministry and the DOH. Eventually, when the meeting of the Re-entry Referee Taskforce of DOH took place on November 23rd, her plea was flatly dismissed, citing the absence of responsibility on the part of the Taiwanese spouse and the Taiwanese medical establishments, as decreed by item 14.1 of the APR.

Three principles were indicated by the DOH as the
criteria for the final decision of entry permit:
First, whether the patient would receive proper medical care; second, whether his/her entry would jeopardize the domestic prevention efforts; third, whether s/he would occupy the limited medical resources of the country. IN OTHER WORDS, THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY UNION AND HAPPINESS HAS NEVER BEEN TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. In the mind of the bureaucrats, Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs/PLHAs) seem to be a bunch of people thinking only of themselves: Selfish, reckless, and definitely a financial liability. Clearly, the practices of the Taiwanese health authorities manifest a stark contrast with the statement issued by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, August 1996), which pinpointed that: First, restricting freedom of movement based on HIV status alone is discriminatory in singling out HIV, as opposed to comparable conditions. Second, such a measure cannot be justified on public health grounds. And third, “human rights imperatives, such as a claim to asylum or family reunion, should prevail over economic concerns.”

In the United Nation (UN) publication “HIV/AIDS and Human Rights: International Guidelines,” the application of specific human rights in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic includes the right to marry, to found a family and protection of the family (paragraph 96), the right to privacy (particularly paragraph 99), and the right to liberty of movement (particularly paragraph 105 and 106). Although Taiwan is denied membership of the UN, the government has, over the years of exclusion, reiterated its commitment to complying with the UN standard of universal human rights. Indeed, when the incumbent president, Mr. Chen Shui-bian took office in May last year, one of his main pledges was to consolidate the domestic infrastructure of human rights principles. Against such a background, we find, therefore, the actions of DOH profoundly disturbing and stigmatizing in its blatant disregard of the values ostensibly embraced by the government. All in all, guidelines published by the UN are online and downloadable anytime for anyone – certainly including the DOH officials. Ignorance is simply no excuse.

In accordance with the tenet of human rights, we

  1. A comprehensive review of the rationale and
    practicality of the current referee practice, which should lead to the establishment of a swift and user-friendly procedure to deal with re-entry pleas made by PWAs/PLHAs and their relatives;
  2. the renouncement of the guilt/blame doctrine
    embedded in the item 14.1 of AIDS Prevention
    Regulations, in favor of human rights guidelines as recommended by the UN;
  3. The participation of PWA/PLHA groups in the AIDS policy-making processes as well as taskforces
    involving the interests of PWAs/PLHAs;
  4. Further human rights education for government

Persons with HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy Association of Taiwan
Address: Suite 802, 8th Fl., No. 1 Taoyuan Street, Taipei, 100 TAIWAN
Tel: +886-2-2312-2859
Fax: +886-2-2375-9150

Originally posted by Schnell: having been infected with AIDS

You don’t get “infected” by AIDS. Do you know what AIDS is?


It is standard practice to screen immigrants for HIV/AIDS, TB, and other health problems and exclude those who test positive from coming to the USA. Exceptions are made for some if their condition is curable. However, I think that long term non-immigrant visas like H-1, E, and L may not be subject to any sort of health screening.

These particular examples are categorically similar to the F-1 student visa. While family-based or employment-based immigration visas have the safeguards of health screening, the cited non-immigrant visas don’t.

Health-risk individuals could avoid screening but still reside indefinitely in the USA much like an immigrant. Is this pure xenophobia, bureaucratic bungling, spendthrift policy, or some type of prejudice? Maybe all of them to some degree.

The ROC attempts to screen for all longer term residents or “ARC” foreigners – which includes both non-immigrant and immigrant categories of the above American visas rolled into one.

Perhaps a more uniform and perhaps humanitarian visa policy would be to require proof of having a six month term of approved “international health insurance” policy of foreigners, which carries a clause for their treatment “back home”, if deported for health reasons. Germany requires this of some folks seeking a visa, sometimes including Taiwan.


When I came here to work in the IT industry, I simply got a working permit and ARC and no healthcheck was required.
However, when I wanted to attend mandarin classes at NTU extensive medical examination was required. Maybe the Taiwan government thinks that anything remotely related to education is an AIDS risk. :?


Hey Martian, do a google search.



had the check a few days ago.

When I went I thought it would probably take all day but I was out in 15 minutes. They gave me the Philipino procedure.
This is done in a separate barracks of the hospital.
The tests include:
Giving blood
Stool sample (no toilet where you can sit, just a hole)
Urine sample
Blood pressure
Height and weight
Eyes test
Chest Xray (in a truck outside!)

The funny thing is that on my report they state that my ears are OK eventhough they never tested those. They also state that I am mentally alright and I never saw a schrink. I could be a crazy as a taxi-driver and still pass.

It is all about heart, lungs, HIV, sifilis, malaria, parasites etc.
Report ready in 4 days, bring 2 photo’s, passport and ARC.


Oh yeah? Go to Taiwan Adventist Hospital. They take a great more of your time there. Did they give you a leprosy checkup?


This was Taipei Medical University Hospital and yes Leprosy is also on the report as are many other things of which I have no clue as to what they mean or how they are detected. However, as long as it states “negative” I am fine with it.


Leprosy detection is done by visual inspection of the body. In other words, you get your clothes off and they get their looking glassout and start inspecting.


well the report says it is negative but I never took my clothes off. Except on the toilet but I am sure I was alone there.


when I applied for my and my family’s arc , all I did was give the passports and two photo to the office admin, in 15 days I had the arc, multiple entry permit and the NIH card.

but to get a driver’s license they say they need health check !!! plus all the documents to be noterized by taipei guys back home.

I cannot figure out the laws applied by different gov depts.


Well, the health check for the drivers license is a 10 minute joke, if you ask me. The one for foreign spouses applying for an ARC is much more thorough.


I just got back from getting my latest health exam at Ren Ai Hospital. When I had one about a year and a half ago for my work permit, I had everything tested (except no stool sample, thankfully). This time, I had to get it in order to apply for grad school here … I was quite surprised at the differences between the health checks for English teachers and students. This time, only a blood test and X-ray, no urine samples, no questionnaire about diseases, no questions whatsoever from the doctor. Just height, weight, eyesight, blood pressure, one tube of blood, and a quick X-ray. Also, the cost was only NT$460 (I believe the medical exam for teachers is over NT$1,000). Talk about stereotyping English teachers as being disease-ridden drug addicts!


Well, I don’t blame them. I’ve met so many English teachers here that I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them, let alone with children.

The stereotype is here to stay, and there’s nothing we can do about it… except not teach English :wink:


They are testing for AIDS, and not serious about the drugs thing. As discussed in a previous thread they don’t test for marijuana. Apart from AIDS it is a rubber stamp job and a half-warm corpse could get through it.
I remember asking a doctor if he had ever failed anyone. He hadn’t.

Does anyone recall filling out the old health test form which had a section with the ominous words