Spouse needs visa, but this damn virus

I’m looking for help to figure out a tricky situation for my wife and I. I came to work and we entered a few weeks before the border locked down, and while I’m bonafide and certified up to my ARC, the wonderful Mrs. noWhiner entered visa free. At that time, this seemed OK - in our blissful ignorance of The Wuhan. Now the 180 day max is coming up for her and here’s our mess.

We called TECO last Friday because we were led to believe she needed to return to her home country and see TECO. The TECO lady said that beginning on the 29th of June, they (TECO) would no longer issue the special entry permit. She said go to immigration, and that she believed we could probably get the visa here in Taiwan. There is no more visa free, I believe, and now you need a visa to enter Taiwan.

We went to Immigration today, and 2 Immigration officers are probably still arguing about which way is right: 1 says just go to BOCA and get a visa. The other says she has to return to her native country and present all the official documents justifying her need for a visa to the TECO there. They both said just get a visa for at least 60 days and they’d make the ARC.

So, after the immigration visit today, we called TECO again and told her what Immigration said to us - both versions as stated above. She said she believed the first guy was right; that she was gaining confidence that we could get the visa here. Leaving the country, going to the hospital on arrival, self quarantining, go far to TECO, wait for the visa, take another covid test then fly back and …yadayadayada. An expensive trip -and- arguably risky exposure during the trip is Not option a.

I called BOCA today. about elevnty seven times. Never made it to a person who would talk about visa’s. We’ll go to BOCA soon, but if there’s any info we’re missing or I’ve confused, please share!

I’m in the same boat. I have an APRC and my husband entered Taiwan visa free before this virus crap. He’s scheduled to fly to the US mid July, apply for the visa to enter.

How about just hanging to the extension offered to visa free holders?

Really, it is no time to be flying anywhere.

Yes, we were told by go home Immigration guy that they will extend her visa for 30 days - if her scheduled flight gets cancelled. I don’t see a way to use that - I think that rule is to handle the exceptional (?) case where your flight is cancelled.

Well they are cancelling flights back and forth. Hopefully you can find one likely to be cancelled. That will buy you time.


Op where is your home country?

Her TECO is in Japan. They are encouraging, and seem to believe, that her visa can be gotten here (Taiwan). It’s a moving target, but between last Thursday and yesterday they are leaning more into this opinion.

I am in the same situation. I have an ARC and my husband is eligible for a spouse ARC but as he is here on visa-exempt entry BOCA insist he must leave Taiwan to apply for a visa and then return to get his ARC. We’ve been to BOCA twice to attempt to convince them to allow him to apply here but they have not budged.

It is interesting that TECO are saying they are not issuing special entry permits after June 29, as that is the day this policy about who can enter Taiwan came into affect https://www.boca.gov.tw/cp-220-5691-aa1c3-2.html

This new policy requires all foreigners to provide a negative COVID test taken within 3 days prior to arrival in Taiwan, which is going to be potentially rather difficult to obtain if my husband has to fly to South Korea or elsewhere to apply for the resident visa.

Please keep us updated, I am hopeful that TECO are correct and our spouses will soon be allowed to apply for a visa without leaving Taiwan!

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Yes, I’m happy to report that we got the visa without leaving the country. We did exactly what we were instructed to do, and in the end they made it work. We did what we were told by the different agencies. Apparently these 3 different agencies, one of which was in another country, worked together to figure out how these constantly changing rules, especially the radical new ones of 6/29 changed their roles and goals and started with us. That being written, maybe some other rules have come into play since then making us a one-off thing. I like to think that our input on the risk and expense, and whole logistical headache, I mean Super Hassle of making the trip, at this time, helped them see their way to a more practical solution, but I also like to think they got that on their own. Or, simply, somehow it just worked out. My older brother says I’ve got the kind of luck that’s usually reserved for children and the simple. Simple is good. ;^)


Good news!

Thanks for the update and congrats on getting the visa without leaving the country! May I ask what changed BOCA’s mind about letting your wife apply here? Did they say why they made an exception? We didn’t have any luck convincing BOCA to let my husband apply for his spouse resident visa here. If you have any more info or suggestions that might help us it would be greatly appreciated!

You accomplished what my husband and I couldn’t. I’ve never understood why they wouldn’t work with us but if he magically turned into an English teacher he could stay. :frowning:

I don’t know, but I don’t believe there was any mind-changing involved. I/we were part of few of their discussions - if any - because we pretty much just answered questions and took notes on who said what when. I think they all had new rules to deal with and once they got together they figured it out.

I think the TECO interpretation of how your visa is to be obtained is the biggest deal. If they say that the visa is to be acquired here, then you might start over with BOCA. Good luck -

A question about this: what is counted as 3 days? The date of the result or the date the test was done? Because for some labs it takes a day or 2 to provide the results.

The official wording on CDC website is unclear about this:

“ Travelers should provide a certificate of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result issued by a medical institution within three days prior to boarding the flight, and the three-day period of such certificate means three working days. ”

Just received a (joining Family) Resident Visa from European TECRO office (applied remotely from Taiwan and completed all the paperwork/processing via internet/online - a bit of a pita but doable - including police certificates - though our marriage was already registered) - once I receive the passport I’ll start conversations with BOCA to change my current landing visa to a resident visa…it will be an interesting conversation if they request I leave the country and re-enter Taiwan…

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could you post back after you go to BOCA with your visa? Before coming to Taiwan I traveled to many countries and the rule basically everywhere is that for the visa to be valid, it has to be stamped when you cross the border. Your visa would cross the border without you, and will lack the stamp with the date of entry. Most visas are, for example, valid for 60 days after they are issued: you have 60 day to use it since the moment they stick the visa on your passport, and then, once you enter the country, they might allow you to stay, for example, 30 days. Without crossing the border, your visa wouldn’t be “activated”, so to say. So I’m curious if BOCA will allow this.

I’m in Taiwan since January on visa exempts (married to a Taiwanese citizen), and I have here with me all the documents to apply for a visa to join family, but last time I asked at both NIA and BOCA, they both told me I’ll have to apply outside of Taiwan.

I’m a citizen of two countries - entered with passport from one country (landing visa) and applied for resident visa with other passport - I’ll update after I speak with BOCA…

For us, it was 3 business days from the time we were swabbed to the time we boarded the plane on the first leg of our travel to Taiwan. We were tested Thursday, got our results on Sunday, and departed on Monday (we had until Tuesday with the 3-working day timeframe).

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