Question regarding visas and plane tickets

Ok…hopefully I don’t sound like too much of an idiot. I am rather new to this after all.

Anyways, I currently live in the US and I will be leaving in August to teach in Taiwan. I am already hired and they will help me through the work permit/ARC situation. This will supposedly be done by using my current 60 day tourist visa and turning it into a work visa.

Now, the thing about my current visa is that I didn’t just recently get it. I got it a few years ago when I travelled to Taiwan with a friend. At that time, I had a return ticket because I only stayed there for about a month. Fortunately, the visa is still good.

My question is, would it be suspicious of me to only get a one way ticket to Taiwan this time since I plan on staying there for at least a year? I wouldn’t get questioned at customs or anything because I don’t have a return ticket, right? They wouldn’t suspect me of trying to find a job in Taiwan, would they? I’d hate to not be able to enter Taiwan after all that trouble. I mean, it’s not like I plan on working there illegally.

I hope that my explanation isn’t too convoluted and I hope my question isn’t too silly.


Buy a return ticket or have onwards out of taiwan say to Hong Kong…

You certainly may be refused even getting ona flight with a one way ticket as you’re not yet a resident.

There is no such thing as a “tourist visa” or a “work visa.” There are visitor visas and resident visas. When holding a visitor visa and filling in your landing card, you can truthfully put the reason for your visit as “employment.” You should have a formal-looking letter from your prospective employer stating his or her intention to employ you. Even better, the employer could start the process of applying for your work permit before you leave for Taiwan, and send you some proof that the application is under way. Both the airline and immigration (not customs - they are the ones who search your bags!) are likely to accept these documents in lieu of an onward or return ticket. I went through precisely this process in Singapore when Cathay Pacific asked for an onward ticket but let me on the plane when I showed them these kinds of documents. To be on the safe side you could get an onward (or return ticket) and get it refunded (minus a small handling charge) when you no longer need it.

Note: Cathay Pacific would not let my wife on the plane without a return ticket even though I was employed in Taiwan and my wife had been living there for nearly two years on visitor visas including two 180 day ones (you have to have a bloody good reason to get one of those) and that we had our multiply-certified marriage certificate and she had an ROC visitor visa from HK marked “SF” (foreign spouse of a foreign resident).

The attitude of the Cathay staff in Hong Kong was the worst display of bad-tempered jobsworthism I have even seen, before or since. And I have lived in China.

So there you go.

Airlines have to take responsibility if they let someone get on a flight and immigrations refuses entry. So they won’t likely let you get on without an onward ticket or other supporting documents. A bank statement showing a few thousand in the bank in connection with a letter from a friend or a business may also work.

Unfortunately not many people know that despite having convinced the immigration authorities to let you into the country, the hardest thing can often be persuading the airline to fly you there.

Taiwan can of course refuse anyone entry at the point of entry for any reason, and on that basis Cathay should just stop flying to Taiwan. They haven’t, which means they are taking a calculated risk. Unfortunately when they get it wrong, it causes a lot of problems for legitimate passengers with valid visas and only a theoretical risk of being refused entry.

Yes, yes. This is what I meant. The gist was conveyed, however.

Anyways, I’m just gonna play it safe by getting a return ticket. I’d rather have to refund a useless ticket than have my entry denied.

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

It may (or may not) be more economical for you to get an onward ticket (one-way or return ticket from Taibei to a nearby overseas destination e.g. Hong Kong) than a return ticket from the USA to Taibei and back. I don’t know which option would entail the smaller loss - you will have to do the math for yourself.

Yes, yes. This is what I meant. The gist was conveyed, however.[/quote]
No, it wasn’t, actually, because you seemed to be unaware that a visitor visa can be used for other purposes than tourism, e.g. taking up employment, business or visiting friends or relatives. Therefore you do not have to conceal the true purpose of your visit.

Sounds funny to me. I didn’t know visitor visas were good for multiple entry. Are you sure about this one? I would check with immigration. About thep lane ticket, I think once a legal visa, and you are not on the feared Taiwanese NPA “blacklist” then you are alright. This last time when my wife and I moved to Taiwan, we bought one-way tickets. I had a 90 day visitor’s visa wit hthe intention of getting a JFRV when I got here. I told KC TECO this and they didn’t care about the return ticket thing. I’ve never had any problem with Taiwanese airlines worrying about my ticket or immigration status, just the passport/visa check at the gate.

I would have to agree that with a valid visitor’s visa and some kind of proof of employment, you hsould be ok with the one-way ticket. Of course you can always get an open return ticket, I did that once too.

An important thing to consider is often it’s cheaper to buy a round-trip than to buy a one-way. If you’re good at using Priceline, for instance, there’s no reason why you should pay published fare for a one-way ticket as that’s usually more expensive than a discounted round-trip. (To and from the US, at least.) There are exceptions to this, I’m sure.

Two things:

  1. My Taiwan visitor visa is multiple-entry – says it right on there. I got it from the Chicago office.
  2. I, too, have flown to Taiwan with no continuing journey booked. The airport immigration inspectors never even blinked, much less ask for any explanation.