Steps for moving to Taiwan, renting apartment, getting bank account


Can someone please help me understand the order of things to do when moving to Taiwan for someone who needs to rent an apartment?

This is what I’m imagining:

  1. Pick up gold card
  2. Start looking for a place to live
  3. Sign lease
  4. Get address printed on gold card
  5. Open up a local bank account

The part I’m worried about is whether or not I can sign a lease without having a local bank account yet. Would this order be okay? To get a local bank account, I know I need to have an address on my ARC, so that’s why I’m trying to sign the lease first …

Also, how do I pay the deposit and start paying rent before getting a local bank account?

Just pay in cash, the landlords here don’t pay taxes anyways so less paper trail is better for them


I really prefer to have a paper trail. Is this not possible?

A screenshot or message from the landlord that payment was received can be used for paper trail

Then they will make you pay extra to cover their tax burden.


it depends how you define paper trail.
i pay my landlords via bank transfers, its enough to prove i paid. if they dont report the tax its their problem.
if you want the landlord to issue you a receipt, then you can expect to pay more for the included taxes.


If you report on tax then they can get fined, and they can keep your two month deposit and/or sue you if the contract was for no tax

If you have a Gold Card, but haven’t signed a lease (I don’t plan to do this until next year), are you not able to apply for a bank account or renew the health insurance card?

Technically, he may not need a locally issued ID, in this case a gold card, to open an account. The NIA can issue a temporary number. However, knowing the current paranoid situation with banks, unless an emergency, I’d leave opening bank acct last, after home and stuff.

To OP: check the threads about opening bank accounts. It is not easy nor pleasant. Sorry about that.

Same with renting a place. Most landlords prefer seeing a local ID, some proof of local employment, reliability and all that jazz. Stay in a temporary abode. Look carefully for a place.

Again: never rent from abroad, try to avoid English websites unless you are on a fat expat account and the company pays the bill along with driver and maid, bring a local with you when checking out places or an old hand foreigner who can speak Chinese. Take pictures of everything before moving in. If they ask for copies of your passport and stuff, ask for proof of ownership and landlord 's data.

And check with us about the prices so you won’t get taken to the cleaners .

And no, having a bank account is not necessary to rent a place.


Thank you for the very helpful response.

So if a bank account is not necessary to rent a place, I guess I can sign the lease, make my bank account, and then do all the necessary payments?

Or would they expect me to pay in cash at first as some others seem to be suggesting?

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You don’t have to sign a lease, but if I understand correctly, you do need an address written on your ARC to open a bank account. This address doesn’t necessarily have to a rented place; it can be a place that you own or a friend/family’s home if they’re letting you stay with them.

I don’t have any place in Taiwan to use an address for my ARC, which is why I’m trying to rent a place first.

Not sure about the health insurance card.

Do landlords for rental properties allow you to register with their household? If not, where are all you registered?

Gold card you need to wait 6 months to accepted on NI same as Entrepreneur ARC

@TaipeiGuy2000 According to my understanding, you’re supposed to register the address where you are actually living (or like primarily living). You can definitely register an address that you’re only renting but not owning. You just need to show NIA your lease.

@LondonSpice thank you, but I think @FatKaz was asking if you need a lease to renew a health insurance card. BTW, I think the answer is no; I’m not sure how having a lease would have anything to do with renewing your health insurance. There are plenty of people in Taiwan who don’t have a lease but still have health insurance.

Okay, so just to try to bring things back on topic…

@Icon already kindly answered my first question (whether or not I need a local bank account before signing a lease), and I now understand that I don’t need a local bank account. Thank you.

My second question still remains: what is the TYPICAL way (I know it may not be the same in every case) you would pay the deposit and rent after signing a lease if you don’t have a local bank account set up yet?

Is it okay to wait until I get my bank account set up to pay the deposit and rent?

Some others have suggested paying in cash due to some tax issues, but I want to know if this is the norm. Another also mentioned that he/she pays via bank transfer and that the tax issue is on the landlord.


When does the six-month waiting period start and end?

For those who don’t have a Taiwanese employer:

  • If you applied for the Gold Card from abroad then the period starts when you enter Taiwan.
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You don’t join your landlord’s family, so you won’t be on their household registration.

You simply register your rented apartment’s address with the NIA, that address will be on your ARC.

Actually, I’m not even sure if foreigners that are not married to a local even have a “household registration” per se… At least I never was aware if having one, and never was asked for it.

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We signed our lease without having a local bank account - in fact we still don’t cause we had to mail our passports to get the ARCs. Can’t even get a SIM card without a passport (not officially). I assume you have a local phone number already?

Yes, have to pay cash for deposit up front until you get a bank account. Our landlord just didn’t want us reporting our rent (I think you can get a small tax deduction.)


Thank you! This is the type of answer I was looking for; it helps a lot to hear from others’ experiences.

I’m not in Taiwan yet, so I don’t have a local phone number yet, but I’ll definitely get one when I move there.

Thanks again!


The phone was a pain, we got a 1 month SIM card at the airport (a local number is required cause they want to Covid track you), and it expired while our passports were gone, and the stores won’t give you a new SIM card without a passport. (you can buy them at the train station from Filipinos). I’ve heard you can order a SIM card shipped to you before arriving in Taiwan, you might try that.

Other things we found moving from the US. They don’t sell US drugs here, so stock up if you want US brands. The quarantine was 4 nights locked in the room, then 4 more nights where you could go out, the locals said you can eat in restaurants etc although officially you’re not supposed to. We did apartment shopping during the second 4 days.

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I think there are very very few landlords who would give you a signed lease without any upfront payment at all.

I think so…if you are paying the tax for them. We had that option on our lease.

Cash? That’s what we did.