Onward flight requirement for Visitor Visa

Hi chaps,

I spent half an hour looking around this forum with no success. Here is my situation:

  • I plan to study in Taiwan for 12 months starting in June, I already have my flight in + acceptance letter from Shida

  • I understand that I need a visitor visa, which i can then extend and swap for a student visa

  • However the visitor visa requires a flight onward. I cannot find any airline that will book more than 12 months from now. Will I get a black mark on my passport for buying a throw-away flight to Hong Kong just for the initial visa?

Many thanks

Your return flight must fall within the time your visitor visa is valid for, if the booking date is later you may not be allowed to enter Taiwan.
If you can swap it later then the rules for whatever new visa you get apply, then you go to the airline’s office and change the date.

It might be better just to book your return ticket a year from now, and then change the date with the airline once you are there.

Be careful if you do this, though…some airlines are real bastards. I just changed the date of a flight I am on in June back to the States (British Airways), and they told me it would cost $100 to change it. Fine. But once they had changed it, they informed me that there was a change in fare, more taxes, and indeed a service fee that all amounted to $375. By that time, it was too late and I had lost my original seat on the original flight I had booked. No going back, so I had to pay it. :frowning:

I’ve been in and out of the country 12 times on a multiple entry visitor’s visa, and never once been bothered about an onward flight. I don’t even fill out the onward flight info on the little form you fill out on the plane. Not sure if it’s pertinent but I always check the “pleasure” box.

I just came in on the 30 day visa waiver without an onward ticket. No one batted an eyelid though Eva made me sign a release form before they would let me on the plane.

Might have just been lucky of course.

I was asked once, in 2001 when I was moving back to Taiwan. I was in the UK at the time and they wanted to see an onward ticket. I didn’t have one (was unaware at that time of the rule) and they almost didn’t let me check in for my flight. After about 30 minutes of discussion and the check-in person asking and calling around, they let me check in without one. Phew!

The first time I went to Taiwan (in 2000) I flew from Jordan and I was not checked for an onward ticket.

Other times, I had a visa / ARC so I naturally wasn’t asked.

I guess it’s always better to be prepared. Of course, you can always buy a fully refundable ticket and then get it refunded if you don’t plan on using it. Fully refundable tickets are more expensive, but you do get all of your money back.

Yeah, this seems like the thing to do. I already went to the Visa office and they said I had to have a flight out, even after I gave a lengthy explanation.

Well, thanks guys.

I’ve been in three times on visitor visas that I then changed to residential visas (two work, one study), and have never had an onward flight booked, or been asked for it. I do take things like my employer’s letter or school admittance letter to the airport with me in case the airline make a big deal about it, though.

The rule for almost any country, including Taiwan, is that visitors need onward or return tickets. We know how Taiwan is about rules, though… I’ve never once been asked by immigration in Taiwan about a return/onward ticket, but the airline has asked every time I boarded. When I worked for AA, it was policy to deny boarding anyone without it who didn’t have residence status where they were going because should the immigration office ask for it, the penalties to the passenger and the airline were severe.

This happened to me in January. Just spend the night in Tokyo and was at the airport to fly back to Taiwan. United’s kiosk wouldn’t print the boarding tickets and the ladies at the ticket counters made me call United’s telephone reservations using their (free) phones. Ends up my onward ticket (back to Tokyo) wasn’t for until two months from then. I had bought the return ticket with mileage points, so the flight was changed for free and I later changed it again (going to Tokyo this weekend on that ticket, actually).

I guess it depends on your carrier. United won’t let you board unless everything’s in order.

On a side note, I’ve gotten asked by immigration about return tickets, and was even made to show proof of said return ticket. The customs person was a woman who just started her shift/came back from break, so she was fresh and interested in not handing out the landing visas like candy.

Last week I went to HK, applied for a 60 day visitor visa at the Zhonghua Travel Service, and came back into the country without anyone mentioning anything about an onward ticket. Again.

I just came in on a 30-day landing visa and no one asked for an onward ticket.

Let’s see if I have all this correct. We’re moving back to Taiwan this summer and have a job lined up beforehand. I understand we should come in on a 60 day visa and extend if necessary until we get our ARC and resident visa/JSRV. I also have to have onward or return flight tickets in hand for me and my family just in case? That almost doubles our airline ticket costs up-front! Can I bypass this if I have an employment contract or letter from my school?

5-29-08 bump.
Seriously, does this sound about right?
Looking at the TECO Counular Services website it says one can apply for a residence visa while still in the US, but most everyone here says don’t do that.

I don’t think you can get a 60-day extended. If your visa expires before you get your ARC, you will have to leave the country on a ‘visa run’ (normally to Hong Kong).

For various reasons, I think most people don’t start the process until they arrive. I think one reason may have to do with the required medical check, that there are only certain approved places where this can be done in and out of Taiwan, and I heard it is very expensive to get this check-up in the US (presumably because it is at a private clinic not covered by insurance). But I am unsure about the onward ticket thing if you start the process at home.

Why not just buy onward tickets to Hong Kong that are fully refundable? Then, once you arrive, you can have them refunded?

That obvious solution never crossed my mind :wink:
Still a chunk of change up front, although refundable.