Visa extensions and plane tickets

Someone help me please!

I’m enrolled at Shida for a two-month summer session of mandarin. Before leaving the US, I got a 60-day multiple-entry extendible (?) visa. I also had a round-trip plane ticket, departing for Taiwan on June 6th and leaving Taiwan on August 26th. Needless to say, this approx. 85-day stay is longer than my 60-day visa, but I thought I could just renew my visa once I got here (I was told that it could be renewed twice, for up to 180 days).

Before departing for Taipei, the United Airlines ticket counter would not let me board because of this discrepancy. So they changed my ticket, and now I’m returning on August 6th (I’m in Taipei now). This is right in the middle of my classes. What should I do first? Anyone had their ticket changed before? Anyone around here I can talk to about renewing visas?

I know this topic has been beaten to death on this forum, I just have very limited internet access and no time to search. Thanks for any help

Welcome to Taipei Lumberjack,
No problem with your ticket; you can just change your ticket back to your original date at a travel agent or the United office in Taipei. Then get your visa extension a couple of weeks before your current one is due to expire.

Sadly, airlines get their visa information from a database run by a company that predictably does not know very much about Taiwanese immigration regulations. It’s the same database Cathay Pacific use, and they also insist on return or onward tickets. I argued with them and eventually they showed my the law. It stipulates passengers must have a return or onward ticket, but it does NOT say that the passenger must show a confirmed reservation on a flight or ship within the validity of their visa. An Open ticket will do. Therefore AA are out of order. Point this out to AA and get them to guarantee you a reservation on the date you originally had reserved. There is some chance that when you get here there will be no seats at your price for your date. Get AA to put in writing that they will give you a seat even if your bokoing class is unavailable as I assure you that they will try and get another few hundred US out of you when you come to change it.

Alternatively, buy a one way FULL FARE fully-refundable Cathay Pacific TPE-HKG ticket either Open-dated, or with a reservation for some date acceptable to AA. When you get to Taiwan, refund the ticket. I recommend you buy it from Cathay Pacific in Taipei (who will be doing the refund). If you use a credit card (as you will have to) any refund will take a month or so as it will be done in HK probably, but whatever way it is done it will be in full, minus NT$700. If Cathay Taipei won’t sell you a ticket over the phone, try Cathay New York (or wherever) but be aware they might have to send your ticket back to where it was issued. They might issue the ticket in TPE for you, and send you a confirmed itinerary which should be enough for AA to tick the boxes on their paperwork. A pain in the arse, but as long as you get a full-published-fare ticket you will get the refund eventually wherever the ticket is issued. The last full-fare o/w TPE-HKG I bought was NT$7,800 btw.

What a hassle. Almost easier to come on a landing visa and doing a visa reun to HKG when you have a bullet-proof reason for being in Taiwan like you do.

Don’t worry about that. Your school office in Taiwan can tell you all you need to know.

It’s great that when a foreigner enrolls in a summer language programme at a national university’s language training centre set up specifically to train foreigners in Chinese that he gets no visa assistance from the Taiwanese “government”.

Contrast with studying Chinese in China, where a 6-month multiple entry visa takes 3 hours in Hong Kong. I reckon that the Taiwanese government works on the basis that anyone coming to study Chinese in Taiwan must be mad, and must therefore be planning to work illegally. I know from my own experience that full-time language students at Zheng Da and Shi Da had no problems with visas in 1992-95.