Ideas to help me visit son? ARC maybe?

UK guy, married a Taiwanese in Australia. Lived in UK as a family. She divorced me in UK couple of years back. Marriage was never registered in Taiwan.

I have a 6 year old son in Taiwan who I visit each year, except with recent coronavirus restrictions I can’t visit on a normal visitor’s visa anymore.

I read I might be allowed to visit my son if I had an ARC, even during these restrictions.

Is there any chance I could go the joining family ARC route, joining to be with my son? He has dual nationality.

I think it’s unlikely and more designed for spouses or dependents to join adult Taiwanese nationals.

The UK have a family visa that allows foreigners to apply for residency if they have children living in UK, does Taiwan have anything like this?

Any and all ideas welcome, I’m missing him badly and don’t care about costs or hoops I’ll have to jump through.

I’m guessing spousal visa (ARC) is a no-go, because you divorced your (Taiwanese) wife, and hence you 2 are no longer spouses.
If it was me, I’d get an appointment with Taiwan’s de facto representative office in UK, closest to you, and bring all kinds of documents to show relationship, etc.
Barring that, other users here (who are better in the loop of Taiwan’s laws) may chime in with something more concrete.


You can apply for an entry permit:

From June 29, 2020, foreign nationals who wish to travel to Taiwan for reasons other than tourism and regular social visits may apply for a special entry permit with an R.O.C. overseas mission by submitting relevant documents and forms. Applications by students and people wishing to study Mandarin in Taiwan will be handled by the Ministry of Education in line with its related measures.

Upon entering Taiwan, all foreign nationals must present an English-language certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding the flight to Taiwan and undergo a 14-day home quarantine period.


Is that what the ARC visa is known as (spousal visa?). Thought that might be the case, was hoping the joining family bit of an ARC might have included me joing my son.

I’ll call up the Taiwanese embassy in Edinburgh and see if they can advise / suggest other routes.

Thanks for your reply.

Thank you I will look into this.

The stand out for me is the “negative COVID 19 test result”. I’m not sure there is an accurate scientific test that can identify / report either positive or negative for Covid?

Europe uses the antibody test but that doesn’t really isolate Covid, just tells you if you have antibodies in your system (viral, bacterial, non specific).

Is there a more accurate test Taiwan is using? You guys are usually far more advanced than Europe on these things. I’d probably struggle to get an accurate test confirming negative or positive in UK.

This isn’t correct. Any (useful) antibody test identifies particular antibodies of interest, in this case those against this specific coronavirus. Everybody always has antibodies in their system, unless they’re severely immunocompromised to the point of needing to live inside a sterile bubble. A test just for any antibodies wouldn’t be useful for this purpose.

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That was kind of my point. I think (but could be wrong) the antibody test we use in Europe at present is just a broad strokes “oh look you have antibodies from something” type test. Which isn’t that useful at all.

If there’s a specific Covid 19 antibody test available that would be great. Do you have a link to that specific test? Or where it’s available?

At this stage I’ll take any test going to get my acceptable negative result and be able to fly and visit him.

Just FYI: I think I had possible symptoms way back in Feb. Oddly short of breath and randomly wheezy for a couple of days. Fever at night for 1 night. Very mild overall. I appreciate that could be symptoms of a wide range of things. Covid 19 wasn’t really on UK radar at that point.

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I don’t have a specific link, sorry. My point is that the antibody tests referred to anywhere are always specific to this coronavirus - they detect antibodies toward this particular coronavirus (at least in principle - it’s possible/likely that the test has less than 100% specificity, i.e., exhibits cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses, but this should be minimised when the test is being developed). Just testing for “antibodies” wouldn’t be useful, because those are always present in any blood sample.

I think what you’re thinking about is that the antibody tests don’t distinguish whether someone has a currently active coronavirus infection - just that their body has had to respond to this coronavirus in the last several months or so.

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I’m not so sure UK / Europe antibody tests are specific like that. Hope I’m wrong. I’ll keep digging around the current testing available.

If anyone has any other ideas or info on the ARC “joing family” path I’d be very grateful.

I think it’ll be a long time before normal visitors are allowed back in Taiwan. He’s going to a new school in September and would love to take him.

the ARC (Alien Resident Certificate) has multiple reasons/choices to be issued, of which one common choice is “spousal”.
A company that hires you (like English bushiban or finance firm) can apply for one on your behalf as a “job” reason. There are a few other reasons you can apply for ARC, but those 2 are the most likely.

Sorry to hear about your son.
I have a 11 year old son from from usa with a tw wife.
After she divorced she took my son to tw , for 6 years i had zero contact. Now i moved here im fighting to see him.
I hope your ex lets you see him.
I can go ask the BoCA or NIA offices for you
Glad to help you!


Actually they were just talking about this issue on the news: different countries use different tests and criteria to interpret the tests, there is not a worldwide Accord or SOP on tests.

Hence, whatever the Taiwanese representative says, that goes. As far as testing, just comply with what they ask.

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And again, they have to work like that - everyone has numerous antibodies in their blood and testing for antibodies in general isn’t remotely useful. For example, antibody tests are routinely used prior to vaccination to see whether someone already has immunity to a particular disease.

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Covid-19 antibody tests are not what you need. They don’t test for current infection. They just show whether you have been exposed, and usually are not positive till a week or 2 (or longer) after exposure.

You will need a COVID-19 RNA test (also called a COVID-19 nucleic acid acid amplification test, or NAAT). It is usually done by a method called PCR.

Unlike antibody tests, it is NOT a blood test. It’s the one where they stick a swab deep into your nose (till it tickles you brain almost) or mouth, or sometimes is done with oral fluid. I don’t know what sample types Taiwan allows, but I imagine the application will specify.

If the application does not specify, your doctor should be able to point you in the right direction.

Good luck!

Thanks for that.

Anybody want to give me a job?! Half joking…

I’m going to call the embassy on Monday and see if there’s any other reasons I could apply for ARC.

I have a good job and career in UK, and I need that to keep going so I can send enough money. Salaries aren’t huge in Taiwan compared to living / rental costs. We’re better off as a “family” if I stay and work in UK and visit when I can. Not ideal.

That’s tough buddy. Very limited / frustrated access for 3 years here. Not fair but you’re not alone, just one of many many cases. Keep slogging on.

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To be useful (indicative) they have to work like that 100% agree. But the antibody tests we have been using to positively ID Covid 19 haven’t been specific or useful. I’m sure the vaccine people have isolated Covid 19 by now, and maybe a more specific antibody test is here.

The first couple of months we were confirming positive Covid 19 cases on symptoms alone. Symptoms which could also just be normal seasonal colds and flu.

It’s pretty shocking. But explains such a huge rise in Covid 19 positive cases.

The RNA testing is a lot more accurate (still not 100%) but that’s just come on board towards the end of the pandemic.

Basically, the reported cases in the first couple of months could be accurate. Could be under stated. Could be over stated.

I’m willing to take any test the Taiwanese government ask for specifically just to get the negative result they want.

This is gold thankyou. And agreed this is the most accurate test we have to date. Still not perfect.

I’ll also ask the embassy which test Taiwan government want and follow that to the letter.

I’m happy to be corrected, but I’m pretty sure the PCR (RNA) tests came into use way before the antibody tests (I think a month or two at least - about February or so, these were the first tests to be developed).

To clarify, the RNA tests involve amplifying and detecting the viral RNA. A positive result means that the nasal swab/surface swab contained some amount of the viral RNA, whether or not that means “live” virus. There’s a number of these tests depending on the country and which/how many RNA sequences are being detected, but as you said these are usually specific and sensitive (assuming no contamination etc.).

The antibody tests look for anti-this coronavirus antibodies in the blood, showing that the person has been exposed to the coronavirus in the last several months (but little more - these tests don’t reveal too much about current status or time of infection, as the antibody titer varies with the person and time since infection etc.).

I think the tests being discussed for entry purposes are PCR tests based on nasal swabs, which show the presence/absence of viral RNA in the person’s upper respiratory system, i.e., the current or recent presence of live coronavirus.


Yes. PCR tests were developed early on. In the US, commercial labs started offering them in early March, but CDC was doing them much earlier.

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