Moving to & Teaching in Taiwan. Need help please

Hi, my name is Kristie and I live in Canada. My husband & I would like to move to Taipei this summer to teach English. We have a Canadian friend (as well as his Taiwanese girlfriend) who is there now and has been teaching there for 5 yrs. He has been encouraging us to come over and is being quite helpful in our relocation plans etc. They have also offered to let us stay with them for awhile until we get set up. I have been reading up extensively on rules, legislation, guidebooks, culture shock info, jobs and so on. I have spoken with the Taiwan Office that you apply to for a visa which is in Vancouver. And I am still not clear on a few things. So… I have a lot of specific questions to ask and I was hoping that people who live there or know from experience (or even know of people etc., etc.) could help. We are bringing our 6 year old son with us, and in that respect it is VERY important to us to do this legally, correctly and safely. I have never ever traveled abroad so in some ways (especially where our son is concerned), I want to be very aware of all that is important.

So… if you would be so kind, here are my questions…

  1. Is it true that you cannot EVER get an ARC without a BACH. degree? I have college certification (3 cert.)in Massage Therapy, as well as TEFL certification, but it still isn’t clear to me what EXACTLY is required, and I’ve been told two different things from the Visa offices bwt. Vancouver and Toronto.
    Is there any other way of getting an ARC?

  2. Do you think it is safe or wise to move to Taiwan if neither my husband or myself have a job in place first?

It is smarter, I almost think to have one before you go, but our friends keep telling us that we will be able to get a job no problem and that everything that I am reading on the internet from the Taiwan Gov’t website to the Canadian Consular Affairs doesn’t neccesarily apply pertaining to actually living and teaching in Taiwan. So different rules apply and it is or can be subjective depending on who signs your paper work, who hires you etc. We have saved a lot of money over time for this trip, so they also think that that will help us.

  1. What would be the best way to carry out our plan:

A. Leave shop open here in Canada, apply for multiple entry visa, travel to Taiwan, start looking for jobs immediately, leave if we have to and come back to Canada and close up shop here if we land a job?

B. Close up shop here in Canada, go to Taiwan, stay with our friends for a while traveling as we go, looking for a job as well, landing a job, and and having our empoyers respectively apply for a work visa on our behalf.

C. Don’t go until one or both of us have a job.

  1. I was also told by the consular office that we could apply for a multiple visitor visa on the condition that our friends in Taiwan write us an invitation letter for us to stay with them as well as the reason for our travel to the island of Taiwan and the area. She said in all likelihood supporting documents such as that would increase the amount of time that our visas are approved for. Does anyone know exactly what these letters should entail?

Another thing our friend said is that if I have formal college education but my husband doesn’t, he would be allowed to stay in Taiwan if I get an ARC. Is this true?

Last question for now (I hope for everyone’s sake including mine) : The Visa Application that I have printed off from the Official Website of the Taiwan Gov’t asks us to state our arrival and departure dates for Taiwan as well as a photocopy of our itinerary and plane ticket showing arrival and departure as well. I asked the Visa Office in Vancouver about the plane ticket because we know how long we will LIKE to stay but we don’t know when we will HAVE to leave. I would like an open ended ticket or one that will expire after a year or something, but not sure what is best. They said in Vancouver that you can’t have an open ended ticket, it must have a departure date on it that isn’t beyond the expiry date of your visa. But how will we know how long our visa will be approved for in order to book the proper time frame for our ticket? So what can I do? I hope someone has some great advice.

Thank you so much in your endeavor to read all of this, sorry to be so long winded. I hope someone will be able to help us. And Keith, I very much appreciate your posts. Thank you for your hard work and info.

Thanks Again !

Kristie in Canada

A B.A. degree is required by the government in order for you to get a work permit, hence an ARC. Also, I think somebody posted here once that a 2-year A.A. PLUS a TEFL cert. is also acceptable. Otherwise you will be teaching illegally.

Since you’ve never traveled to a foreign country before you should probably “leave shop open” in Canada for about 6 months in case you hate living in Taiwan, or you encounter legal problems, and you just might, considering that you don’t have the qualificaitons for a legal job.

Lady K,
I haven’t got time to answer all your questions. I’ll write a proper reply on Sunday.
There’s no need to apologize for your long post. It shows you have done your homework and that you are serious. And the detailed information makes it easier for us to give useful replies.

I am surprised that you would want to bring a six-year-old boy to Taiwan. Apart from the difficulties and cost of schooling, Taiwan is - in my opinion - not one of the best places for a boy to grow up.

Note: As moderator of the travel forum I moved your identical post from there to the flounder forum. The rule here is that you shouldn’t make multiple posts.


Lady K,
I want to explain my doubts about bringing a child to Taiwan.
Firstly, the urban environment is unhealthy and unsafe (because of the traffic). Are you going to live in an apartment? Even if you live in a house, it will most likely not have any garden. There are very few open spaces where children can play.

Luckily, you are considering Taipei; it has good public transportation, and you can get by without a car.

If you are not putting your boy through the local school system, you’ll need to send him to a private school such as Morrison or TAS (Taipei American School). I don’t know the exact figures, but count on something in the region of Can$1000 a month.

Taipei has improved a lot in the last decade and - provided you have enough money to live in a nice place and send your boy to a decent school - I think you could have a good time here.

How long are you planning on staying here?

We would like to stay for a year, possibly more. I think it would be so worth it. With the money that we have saved and are continuing to save as well as the Canadian and Taiwanese friends we have that have offered to help us when we get there, and the very great possibility of us getting good jobs… with all of those things we should be ok, you think?

We would be looking to rent a house in Taipei hopefully close to our friends. Do they at least have parks there where children can play? Traffic here is awful also, as well as the pollution. We are very careful when we are outside of the house with our son, he is also very good with staying close to us, drivers here in Canada are not very good, as I imagine they are like that all over the world. I understand Taipei is very congested so we might feel that a little more over there but maybe not. I want to be very positive minded. I know it will be scary for him and probably for us too at first but children are so resilient. I know he will deal with this well and probably better than we will as people.

As far as school goes, I am thinking after checking into some of the English Schools that I might send him to one of the Christian schools, not 100% sure yet, but if we don’t like any of it, I would definitely be into home schooling. I think that I can get away with even enrolling him here in the province that I live in for correspondence for Grade 2 before we go and taking it with us. I better than anyone know what he is capable of and what is reasonable to expect from him. He is a very hard little worker and I can only see that an experience like this would be so enriching.

I understand that there are probably not alot of people here or maybe anywhere that would dare to do something like this. But, in the end most adults over here are too scared to go anywhere or travel overseas or live ‘outside the box’. Or maybe I should say the adults that are in ‘our world’ here as a couple. No one we know here would dare to ever do something like this. That has inspired us to move within our hearts to a place without fear so we can show our son that, we don’t have to live like that. We are, as a family, so young, both in our mid 20’s. There are much older people around us who tell us, show us, all the time how miserable they are, how they wished they had done something, traveled some where, met someone different than themselves. I hear their regret. And it pains me to think we’ll end up like them if we don’t do something now, while we’re still young and we can enjoy it to the fullest.
What a greater gift could we give our little guy? I can’t think of too many.

There are negatives wherever you live. Canada is not all it is cracked up to be. It is not living up to its’ potential. There is corruption and murder and rape, and underhanded sceming where ever you go. And as much as I love it here, it is time for a little while or a long while to let it go.

I hope I made sense and explained the personal part of it a little more.

Thank you for all the time that you have taken thus far to answer my questions. Take Care.


I can’t imagine that the air pollution in any place in Canada could get worse than the pollution in Taipei city…but, you can choose to live outside the city in Hsin Tien, Nei Hu, or MuCha, where the air quality is better.

Violent crime in Taiwan is certainly lower than in any Western country.

I’m not sure about the 3 years of massage therapy plus a TEFL certificate translating into an ARC as a teacher. Somewhere on these boards, I’m sure there’s an answer.

If you’ve got money saved, best to come over, interview at a bunch of places, and find the job you like best. It is a sellers market if you’re able to teach English (basically, a native English speaker with a degree).

How can we tell you what to do about your shop when we have no background information on it?

As for the other questions, I’ll leave those to other posters, as I have no idea.

Good luck.

[quote=“Tomas”]I’m not sure about the 3 years of massage therapy plus a TEFL certificate translating into an ARC as a teacher. Somewhere on these boards, I’m sure there’s an answer.

If you’ve got money saved, best to come over, interview at a bunch of places, and find the job you like best. It is a sellers market if you’re able to teach English (basically, a native English speaker with a degree).[/quote]
If your husband has a university degree, he is eligible for an ARC, and you can also get an ARC as his spouse. Note, however, that his ARC allows him to work legally, while yours would just allow you to live here legally. (Know also that under-the-table work here is very common).

Hello, all ! Tomas you made me laugh :wink: Close up shop is an expression, I should of made myself clearer. Sorry about that. To close up shop means to pack up, sell most of our stuff and move; to leave shop open means to leave our options open here in Canada by still having a home to come back to.

But, all in all, We have made up our minds. We’re going to mosey on down there, do what we can and must regarding proper paperwork, travel around, apply to jobs wherever we can, stay with our friends and see what that brings. Starting over is not so bad, if that is what we have to do either way we’ll do it. I think there was a point there where I was worrying way too much. And our friends in Taipei are telling me that too. I thank you all for your help.

If you still have further info, comments or even updates I look forward to hearing (reading !) them.

Take Care


Violent crime is not less than in the West. It is different than in the West. Lots of violence here goes unreported and unknown.

Anyway, Lady K, I have an extensive website on Taiwan that might answer your questions

including a page on kids:

Let me bluntly say that bringing kids here is really a bad idea. You’re better off in Canada for their sake.

Yes. But he’ll be restricted to very crappy work. Send him to college!

Buy an onward leg to Hong Kong from Taipei with an exit date within the visa time frame. You can delete that when you get to Taipei and collect a refund minus penalties.

You can email me if you have an questions


Lady K, does your husband have a B.A.? If so, as Maoman says, he will be able to work here legally. Unfortunately, your diploma is of the non-academic sort and therefore it will not qualify you to receive a work permit and ARC in Taiwan.

I’m concerned that you are coming over here with the hope that one or the other of you will qualify. I’d be very concerned about uprooting that six year old of yours without your 100%'s.

Does your husband have a B.A.? I seriously caution you to not make any plans beyond that unless he does. If so, he will be able to find legal work. If not, you will be uprooting your son which could be to his detriment. For one, it’s possible that he may lose a year at school. It will also cost you a lot of money. You can’t come here on a wish and a hope when you have a school age son to consider. Please be practical and don’t do this unless your husband has a B.A.