Mail Diploma or arrive with it in hand?

This question may belong in the Open Forum, but I figure since most everyone in this forum has gone through this, then you would be able to answer my question easily.

I’ve read that some teachers didn’t need the actual copy of their degree to get their ARC and others did. I’ve decided to bring mine with me, but have a question regarding customs. Since I’m arriving in Taiwan as a tourist, it would of course look bad if they checked my luggage and found my original degree. Why does a tourist bring their college degree? (of course they don’t. So…) What experiences have you had bringing your actual degree?

I’ve had a friend who was looking for a job in the US (she was Japanese) and had multiple copies of her resume on her person. When found, she was immediately sent back. Granted, getting in the US and getting into Taiwan are completely different situations, but with the amount of preparation I’ve gone through to get to this point, the last thing I need is some trouble with customs.

All of this is probably just last minute paranoia, but I was thinking of having someone FedEx my diploma to my school on the day I leave. I figure it would arrive about the same time I did.

Should I take it with me, hidden somewhere in my baggage…or mail it?

Thanks for the advice.


We were also VERY paranoid when we first came to Taiwan. We were also coming on a tourist visa with our degrees in our carry ons. We were searched because we cam shortly after the Sept11 bombing. The people who search are searching for bombs and drugs not degrees. The case might be different in Japan, I dont know.

To get an ARC before your VISA expires you will want to get the paperwork started ASAP. So, that in mind, I would suggest you bring your papers (originals) with you. If you do get stopped, say you are visiting a friend and if you like Taiwan you MIGHT apply for a teaching job AFTER your visa expires. A good white lie is gold!

But if asked. NEVER say that you are in teacher in Taiwan until you have the ARC, you never know who might try to screw you!

I couldn’t agree more with the last reply. Ditto on all. Think up your little white lie about why you have your diploma, and bring it on your carry on. It’s too valuable to do otherwise. All jobs will ask for it.

Just smile and tell your little white lie. Don’t feel guilty. They’ll know your lying and smile right back. Welcome to Taiwanese culture! Occasionally, it does work in your favor!

The TECO in HK recently gave me a 2-mnth visa with my purpose of visit given as`take up employment’.

All they asked for was a letter (with letterhead and chop) FAXED from the school to confirm that they intended to apply for all the necessary permits.

Carrying a degree cert under those circumstances would hardly be a crime, but no one checked my bag - again - anyway.

I also scanned all my valuable docs and emailed them to my hotmail address so that they’re available from anywhere, anytime. Passport, resume, degree, photos etc.

Great, thanks for the advice. I imagine the chances of me getting searched are pretty slim (only been searched once in all my years travelling in Asia). I’ll just tuck it away real good somewhere (inside of a large book?) and if they find it, then hopefully I’ll have an ingenious whitelie thought up.

So what’s the best lie you’ve thought up for this?


You ARE ALLOWED to come to Taiwan on a tourist visa to seek employment or to enroll in school. But you’ll have to make a trip to HK once you find work or enroll in classes if you’re on a non-extendable visa(eg a 30-day visa-free entry “visa”).

Haha, you could do what some people do and buy a degree online, that way you won’t have to carry with on you. :wink:

Has anyone here actually been checked at CKS airport? Those custom guys are so lazy, I’m shocked anybody actually lines up in the “red” line to declare anything! Just follow the mass crowd thru the “green” line and you’ll be fine.

When returning to Taipei from a diving trip in Thailand, I was a little surprised and rather miffed to notice - that after waiting about an hour - my gear was not actually “lost”, but simply “last” to arrive on the luggage carousel (warning: let this be an omen to any travellers).

Without thinking much about it at the time, I scooped up my bag and turned around to head towards customs. To my surprise I was suddenly surrounded by 3 police who quickly escorted me to the v.i.p. desk for some questions. The conversation went something like this:

Custard Police: “Are you carrying any weapons?”

Innocent Aussie: “No, of course not!”

Custard Police: “Open your bag.”

Innocent Aussie: “Sure, which one would you like me to open?” (displaying 3 bags and a box)

Custard Police: “What’s this?” (pointing to my diving bag)

Innocent Aussie: “It’s a scuba diving bag”, I answered.

As soon as I had the bag unzipped, they basically dove inside and pulled out my wetsuit, regulator, fins, torch and of course, my little diving knife, at which point, the tones of their voices changed to something a little less friendly…

Custard Police: “What’s this?” (pointing to my diving knife)

Innocent Aussie: “It’s a scuba diving knife”, I answered.

Custard Police: “What’s it for?”

Innocent Aussie: “For lifting and cutting things, er… while I’m diving in the water”, I answered. Things weren’t going so well… Then I pulled out my scuba diving license, which had the heading “Rescue Diver”. I’m guessing the translation in Chinese gave the title a little more authority than it actually deserved, because as soon as they saw the i.d, they apologised profusely.

It was all smiles after this, as they then repacked my bags, and to my surprise, even carried them for me as they helped me out of the building, v.i.p. style, and into a limo…

I still don’t understand what all the fuss was about. I’ve since enquired with various airlines, who said I had nothing to worry about… just so long as I don’t carry stuff like this onboard… :unamused:

I wouldn’t worry about this. It isn’t illegal to bring in a college degree. But if you are that paranoid, why don’t you have someone FedEx it to you when you get here?

Yeah, I guess it never actually occured to me that it wasn’t necessarily bad to bring it with me. I keep forgetting the different views of different countries regarding foreigners showing up for work. I mean, have someone from whatever country come here (US) on a tourist visa with a copy of their degree, transcripts and resume and see how far they get if found.

My mind is more at ease now…so thanks for that.


Hey oZZo paranoia is good, keeps you alive longer.

Don’t worry about the papers. I got all my degrees and transcripts notorized at the pseudo-embassy in Vancouver before I came over. Got myself an extendable tourists visa at the same time. I told the visa guy i was going to Taiwan to look for work and got a “Good luck” and “Hope you enjoy Taiwan” to boot.

About customs: yah they x-ray all the bags before they hit the carousel. They are ONLY looking for weapons or explosives. Great experience with the scuba gear! I’ve brought over bags of pills, bottles of booze, cartons of cigs, cosmetics and always walk out the door no problem.

Back in Canada though, they’d care less about the weapons but stop you in order to make sure you pay the duty on the goods! O Canada!

Just a follow up. I’m in Taiwan now and found that getting through customs was as easy as pie. Granted, it was in Kaohsiung, so not sure how it compares to Taipei. The guy took one look at me (dressed nicely, almost business-like), smiled, and pointed to the door.

All that worrying for nothing. Anyhow, now I get to start my REAL