Validity of ME Visitor Visa

Hoping someone might be able to shed some light about the validity of ‘Multiple Entry Visitor Visa’ as my MULTIPLE phone calls to EVERY relevant FOreign Relations office has not confirmed a thing.

I entered Taiwan on a Multiple-Entry Visitor Vistor (60 Days duration) received from TECO in Sydney (Australia) on advice of all ‘esl’ sites. The TECO in Sydney assured me that every time I enter Taiwan, I would be issued with ANOTHER 60 day visa.

I arrived in Jan and have made 3 trips off the island. The first two times I was issued with ‘60 day’ stay but I returned from Korea last month and was only issued ‘30 day’. If I had of looked at my passport as I left the airport, I might have realised and questioned the Immigation Office at KCS Airport (and wouldn’t have to go to HK tomorrow).

A friend suggested that there might be a 6-mth limit on the Visa (although there is no validity date on the original visa issued in Sydney). This makes sense, since I’ve just hit six months and by all accounts and purposes, seemed to have been slapped iwth a visa-exempt permit of 30 days.

I can’t find anything DEFINITE from my web searches, only mentions that ME Visitor Visas are valid for 1 or 5 years. Any idea how I can confirm how long mine is valid for? Any idea why I only got 30 day Visa-exempt permit on my last trip?

I will take it up with Immigration tomorrow before I fly out but know I’ll get more sense out of your guys.

Now that I am not sure if my ME Visitor Visa is valid, I wonder do I have to apply for visa in HK? I have never had to do this before because one of the benefits of MEVV is that you don’t have to apply for visa on re-entry.

I arrive in HK tomorrow and only have two-day stay so need to know if I should go to consultate to apply for visa tomorrow.

ANY advice GREATLY appreciated.

Multiple entry visas are issued for up to 5 years validity and are good for either 60 or 90 days per entry. Each stay can be extended up to 180 days by applying for an extension at the foreign affairs police station (max one extension on 90 day visas, max two extensions for 60 day visas). You can use a multiple entry permit as many times as you want until it expires or is cancelled. You don’t get a new visa each time, you just keep using the old one.

What I’m guessing happened the last time is that the immigration officer didn’t notice that you have a multiple entry visa and gave you a landing visa instead. If you didn’t write the visa number in the space provided on the immigration form, it’s quite possible he didn’t notice. They usually flip through the passport quickly to check but if you have a lot of stamps and visas in your passport, or the page with the visa is sticky then the officer might not see it.

I would suggest you look at the copy of the immigration paper in your passport to see if there is a visa number entered on it. If you wrote it in but they gave you a landing visa instead then you can argue that it was their mistake (not saying it’ll work though). If you didn’t enter the visa number on the form, it’ll be harder to argue.

If you are flying out before your 30 days expires, then I’d say just don’t worry about it, but make sure that you get the right arrival stamp next time. If you’re past the 30 days then try to get it sorted out before leaving so you don’t get the dreaded overstay penalty.

For next time, check your multiple entry visa for an expiration date again. I’ve never heard of one without an expiration on it, though I know some countries issue visas valid as long as the passport is valid, so that may be the case here. If there is no expiration date at all, I’d suggest going to the BOCA office to find out why not.

When you enter Taiwan on an existing visa make sure you always write the visa number on the immigration form and make sure you have the correct arrival stamp before you leave the immigration counter. (For ARC holders, put your Re-Entry permit number as the visa number.)

Just what I was going to say, except that what we are talking about here is not a landing visa but visa exemption (or you could call it visa-free entry). A landing visa and visa-free entry are not the same thing.

Apart from that, jlick’s advice is very good.


I didn’t write visa no. on arrival form. You guys are amazing !!

You wouldn’t believe the variety of explanations that I received from the Taiwanese authorities…
but then again, if you’ve been here a while, then you would…

thanks soooo much. Can enjoy my day in HK instead of spending time in the Lippo Building.

Not sure about the “failed to write the number on the form” thing.

I stopped working in Taiwan and my employer notified the authorities. They got a letter from the labour office (I think) in acknowledgement saying I should leave Taiwan (within 7 days? - can’t remember now.)

Anyway I had already left Taiwan. About 3 weeks after leaving Taiwan (and about 10 days after the letter) I arrived back at CKS for an 8 day stopover on the way to London. I was expecting to get a landing visa. I didn’t enter any visa/arc/re-entry permit number on the landing form.

Nevertheless the officer just stamped my passport with the usual stamp as if I was still resident. I told him that I had ceased working in Taiwan, had been asked to leave and had left already. I was now re-entering on a stopover back to London with no intention to work or continue residency and wanted a landing visa.

More officers appeared. All were very friendly but ineffectual. They explain that when people present their first step is to scan the passport. If the system recognises it - in my case it showed I was resident - they can do nothing except stamp accordingly. One of them seemed rather proud to tell me that if it recognised me as a criminal it would ring a special bell in the back office so they would know to come over. Anyway the point they were making is the system decides what kind of stamp they give you. They insisted that in my case they could not cancel the re-entry permit and/or issue a landing visa.

The problem for me was that with a landing visa I would get 30 days. If I entered on my re-entry permit I could find myself overstaying if it was about to be cancelled. The immigration officers just said “don’t worry - if they cancel it you can pay the fine as you leave”. I found it strange that I was trying to comply with the law in obtaining the right visa on entry - I wasn’t doing anything strange - and they seemed happy to let me enter on something that was obviously wrong. I even had a copy of the letter from the Labour office asking me to leave Taiwan (it was faxed to me whilst away).

In the end, they could do nothing. The next day I went to the police station and “my case” was still in an inbox. They hadn’t got around to cancelling my permit. They seemed very sorry for the trouble and gave me another month to leave. I got the impression that few foreigners bother to go to the police station to get their ARCs/re-entry permit cancelled when finishing working in Taiwan - unless they want to extend their stay.

From the various explanations:

  1. Stuff is “on the system”. If you have a visa I think it likely they will get this on the screen when they scan your passport - regardless of what you write on the form.

  2. If when finishing residency in Taiwan, if you don’t go and cancel your ARC/re-entry permit, it might hang around on the system for some time. It depends on the police getting around to cancel it.