Moving from Visa-Exempt to Visitor for marriage-based ARC


Greetings! I know that there are a lot of threads on the JFRV and this process, but after spending literally all day on this site and others, I haven’t found the answer I am looking for (thread >10 years old, different situations, etc.). I would really appreciate your help! I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

-I am a U.S. citizen who married a Taiwanese citizen in the United States
-My spouse accepted a job in Taiwan and moved back
-In preparation of acquiring a “JFRV” we had our relevant documents authenticated/translated
-I now have all appropriate supplements to the application except the health examination
-I made the mistake on coming here on a visa-exempt status

My question is, what must I do from here for my “JFRV”?

My understanding is that I must go to a different country’s TECO and first apply for a visitor visa to Taiwan, but do I also apply for the JFRV from there? How long does this process take? Should I anticipate spending an extended amount of time there? Are there any recommended countries to do this from, based on the cost/ease (would it be easiest to return to the US?)?

Thank you all again for your help… I really screwed this up!


It’s easy.

Fly to Macau and go to the Taipei Cultural and Economic Representative Office in Macau. Apply for a resident visa based on joining family. They have an express service if you apply when they open at 9AM. You will pick your passport up with your resident visa based on marriage as a big sticker inside the next day at 10AM. Once you come back to Taiwan you will have 15 days to apply for an ARC, and then you will have open work rights and the ability to stay in Taiwan forever as long as you are still married. When you give your passport to Taiwan immigration, make sure they see the visa sticker.

You can also do it at other Taiwan representative offices, but Macau is where I did it, and it was easy.

From memory, you’ll need:

  • Wedding certificate (authenticated by Taiwan mission)
  • Your Taiwan spouse’s household registration showing you are their foreign spouse
  • A photocopy of your Taiwan spouse’s national ID card, or passport
  • A criminal record check from your home country (authenticated by Taiwan mission)
  • Health certificate (preferably issued by a Taiwan hospital, Renai is good)
  • Photocopies of all previously mentioned documents

Your spouse does not need to go with you to the Taiwan overseas mission, but it might help.

Before you go leave Taiwan, call the office you are going to and confirm what documents you’ll need.

You could also apply for a visitor visa, and then switch to the joining family visa later, but this is pointless, will be more expensive, will take longer and will be more of a hassle. Additionally, since you are American, they will be hesitant to give you a visitor visa since you don’t need one for Taiwan.


yes, that is right.

5. Those who enter the R.O.C. (Taiwan) without a visa or with a landing visa and those who currently stay in the R.O.C. (Taiwan) as blue-collar workers may not apply for a Resident Visa on the ground of joining R.O.C. (Taiwan) spouse.”

you can enter with a visitor visa then convert it (apply for ) a resident visa in taiwan. Though, if you have all the documents, you can apply for a resident visa from an R.O.C. (Taiwan) overseas mission.

“Application Procedure
2. Applicants who enter the R.O.C. (Taiwan) on a Visitor Visa with annotation 「TS」 may apply for a Resident Visa 7 work days before the duration of stay expires. Applicants may, without having to leave Taiwan, apply to the Bureau of Consular Affairs or any of its Central, Southwestern, Southern, or Eastern Taiwan Offices.”

At Hong Kon, they need 1 work day to process a normal case.

“Submission time of Visas application : 9:00am to 12:00pm
Release time of Visas : 14:00pm to 17:00pm
Processing time: 1 work day (extra time might need, depending on cases)”


Thank you both for your detailed responses. I had never left America before I came here, so I never really had to deal with anything like this before; it’s extremely overwhelming, and the fact that I came unprepared only made it worse! You were both extremely helpful though, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.


Add me on LINE if you need any help. I went through this exact same process.

ID: emjroc


I did this because I was too dumb and got my health check done too late, so would not get results before my visa-exempt time ran out. I went to the Tokyo office and applied for a regular visa stating the reason and gave them spouse’s passport copy and household registration doc copy. Done the next day without rush fee. Applied for ARC after arriving with the health exam results in hand.


Would you agree that it would be better for him to just wait in Taiwan till he has all the docs and then leave and apply for the marriage ARC straight away?


Probably. The only benefit to the two-step method is you barely need any docs to apply for the visa. No chance of forgetting something important and having to do another run.


I guess he can plan to apply for marriage ARC and if it doesn’t work out just apply for the visitor visa instead.


Almost the same, but exactly saying, apply for a resident visa based on marriage at any TECO outside of Taiwan, then apply for an ARC in Taiwan.