Visa/Border Run 101

I’m planning on staying in Taiwan for a long time - 1 year, maybe longer. As a EU citizen I have a visa-exempt status for 3 months at a time.

I understand it’s possible to live here this way doing the visa runs. My current 3 month period will expire in a month and I would like to learn the ins and outs of this procedure. I’ve heard that unlike other countries Taiwanese border control is pretty lenient and it mostly works. However, I’d like to minimize the possibility of failure to absolute minimum. Hence any advice would be most appreciated.

At the moment I have a return ticket to London but do not want to use it. I wonder:
-what are the best/cheapest destinations?
-how long to stay for (the shorter the better for me)
-how to behave & what to say: any special advice?
-any other tips and tricks that may increase the chance of completing this procedure successfully.


Hong Kong, fly in, transit in-airport, fly out (i.e. do not clear immigration). There is virtually no risk of failure. One year is a short time. Give yourself a hobby in the unlikely event anyone asks you what you’re doing. Martial arts, hiking, cycling, learning Chinese privately etc. etc.

Bear in mind Taiwan is now actively encouraging foreigners to stay and thus immigration will not refuse you entry.

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1 year is not a long time.
A decade or two is a long time.

What @the_bear said is spot on.

You can pick any destination near Tiawan that fits your budget. Then fly there and back.

Hong Kong

Just pick one and go and come back. Easy and fun.

The only trouble might be an onward ticket. But you don’t actually need the ticket. Just have a printout of a receipt for an e-ticket that you bought and then refunded.
See here:


Not sure why you bought the return ticket in the first place. There is rarely any advantage buying a return over two singles. Is the return portion refundable? If not, you might want to just use it and take the opportunity to catch up with family etc., then buy a one-way back to Taipei (plus a refundable outbound flight, as SuiGeneris said).

Point is, a visa run to more-or-less anywhere will cost about 100-150 pounds and there are one-way flights LHR-TPE in Jan/Feb for less than 300.

If you can refund your return ticket, I’d suggest Air Asia, Peach, or Cebu Pacific to whatever destination takes your fancy. Those are the cheapest.


Thanks for the advice.

“Do not clear immigration”: Sorry, I’m rather inexperienced regarding aspects of international travel. Do you mean I’m staying in the airport and should have a ticket for a flight from HK to TP preferably asap? I like the idea and if it’s okay to do it inside one day I definitely would.

The “have a hobby” tip is great, I was originally thinking of “I’m writing a book” (sort of true, plus maybe considered a job) and prefer “martial arts!” (actually true, not a job)

Taiwan encouraging foreigners to stay? Hey, glad to hear. Plz relax the teaching/starting company requirements while you’re at it :smiley:

@SuiGeneris: one year is not a long time, agree, however my real target is ad infinitum. Sadly, that depends on many, ahem, outside factors and circumstances, so to speak. So I just say “one year” for now, to be cautiously optimistic/not hexing things up.

@finley: Bought the return to London because I wasn’t 100% sure I’m staying here then, needed an outbound flight proof and it was cheap enough (400 quid). I don’t want to use it because: it’s far (jet lag), no family or reasons to go there, it’s expensive to stay even one night and so on.

I will look at maybe refunding it or changing destination (it was China Southern) but don’t hold my breath and already have written it off as a cost.

I’m very glad to hear it should be “easy” on the border so I will just dress like a normie, act in a polite-but-bored manner and hopefully it will go well. From a cursory glance around various websites flights to Manila or HK come cheapest, around 4000NTD. The Plan: to buy a single to HK (not sure why I prefer it to Phils) and then, for the same day/overnight a return from HK to TP with return date 2.95 months ahead so I can use it for another run.
Does this make sense?

I enjoyed just a one day trip at HK airport. I get Popeyes chicken every time I’m there.


You can get both your boarding passes issued at Taoyuan airport then when you disembark in HK head to the transfer desk for the airline (China Airlines or Eva) and they’ll clear you for onward travel (they’ll also ask to see an onward ticket). Doing this means you can do a run in half a day.

I thought you had to get the stamp in your passport for it to count?

HK no longer gives stamps, neither does any country using e-gates.

nevertheless, the exit is recorded somewhere. It doesn’t seem a good plan to just turn around at the airport. It might work, but since there’s no problem for UK citizens to just exit into HK, he might as well. Costs ten quid to get the subway into the city and at least he can get a meal and, um, see the sights. Or at least smell them.

If you’re not bothered about taking an actual holiday, HK is definitely a better choice than the Philippines. There is literally no point in walking out of Manila airport. You’ll just want to walk right back in again.

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Yeah but, I’ve tried and tested this method. More to the point I directly queried with transfer desk personnel if this was a kosher visa run method. They said yes, they were right.

Bear in mind the casino ship option (which is an option) obviously gets you no stamp in your passport since you only sail to international waters.

I’m at a loss as to why Bear’s Dodgy Solves ™ never seem to pass muster here. :sunglasses:

I have done the HK run many times in the past (American here). It can be done in half a day, but I’ve also done it over night (when I was younger). Very easy to sleep safely in HK airport, and the seats are not half bad when you stretch out over three of them (which you can do). Never left the airport.

Just to be clear, Taiwan doesn’t need to see an entry or exit stamp from another country like Hong Kong. They’re concerned with the exit and entry stamps regarding Taiwan.


You’re a bear. It’s different for bears. People always give them the benefit of the doubt because they’re, like, cute and stuff.

Pure discrimination, that’s what I call it.

Anyway, I was really just saying if you’re going to fly to a different country it seems churlish not to wander around for a bit and eat some tourist-flavoured noodles.

So that’s where those tourists who get abducted end up.

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@finley: for the record, I’m not a UK citizen - Polish. I wouldn’t mind exploring HK a bit at all, but at the moment I just want to get it done once or twice with minimum level of complication to get hang of things - and also keep the costs down to minimum. So if it’s okay just to loiter in the airport for a few hours, that suits me fine. I make good sandwiches :slight_smile:

Speaking of costs, boy, it seems we’re spoiled in Europe when it comes to cheap airlines - they’re really cheap. You can fly this HK-distance equivalent for 1000-1500NTD to all sorts of countries.

They do issue those little receipt thingies (or have they stopped?), so in the event that someone somewhere wants to see proof of entry/exit, it can be done.

I seem to remember there’s actually a HK film about that.

@youxia: ah, OK, understand!

You’re right, air fares in Europe are stupid cheap. There are a few bargain-basement airlines here, but HK just isn’t one of the places they fly to. So if you do want to explore Asia while you’re here, it’s not outrageously expensive to do so.

personally i always stay a couple of days and try to go to new places. its fun to have a short trip and doss about in a new place or a place you like for a couple of days. it ain’t exactly expensive. and its nice to get a little break from taiwan and taiwanese people. been doing it for a couple years now and i’m slowly getting around asia, its pretty great.

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