Visitors Visa - So Confused (can you get a work permit on a visa-free entry?)

From the experiences I’ve read in these forums, if you are teaching English in a buxiban you are considered a “white-collar professional” referenced in the BOCA website above. That means, if you have your work permit, you’re eligible to convert from visa-exempt entry to ARC without having to leave the country.


You mentioned you only have a few days left. If you’re planning on getting this done before your current visa-exempt entry expires, make sure you give yourself enough time to get all the required paperwork/photocopies/photos ready, and that you know where to go to get this processed.

I’ve read horror stories of people who have waited until the last day, only to find that the government office was unexpectedly closed, or they miscalculated their visa-exempt deadline, only to end up overstaying and complicating matters.

1 Like

I really appreciate it Steve. :slight_smile:

May I please ask, does anyone know a link for this law?

The laws of the land are all hiding in plain view at, though some of them are only in Chinese.

I’m not sure which article of which law or regulation is the basis for conversion of a visa exempt entry to a resident visa, but if you just need to convince your prospective employer, the Chinese version of BOCA’s website should suffice.


1.停留期限30天或90天,自入境翌日起算,最遲須於期滿當日離境(有關逾期罰則請按此處)。期滿不得延期及改換其他停留期限之停留簽證或居留簽證。但因罹患急性重病、遭遇天災等重大不可抗力事故,致無法如期搭機離境,或 於入境後於停留期限內取得工作許可之白領專業人士及與其同時入境並同時改辦之配偶、未滿20歲子女,經外交部領事事務局或外交部中部、南部、東部及雲嘉南辦事處專案同意改換停留簽證者不在此限(以上述白領應聘事由提出停留簽證申請者,申請人須於停留期限屆滿前7個工作天提出簽證申請)。




Duration of stay:

  1. The duration of stay starts from the day after arrival and is not extendable. Foreign visitors must depart by the end of the said duration. Please click here for information on penalties for overstay.
  1. Visa-exempt entry cannot be converted to visa-based stay, unless any of the following applies:

A. Foreign nationals entering the ROC through visa exemption may only apply for conversion to a visitor visa within the permitted duration of stay at the Bureau of Consular Affairs or MOFA branch offices in the event of situations that prevent them from leaving the ROC, such as severe acute illness, natural disaster, or other force majeure reason. In addition, white-collar professionals who have obtained a work permit within their permitted duration of stay may apply for a work visa together with their spouse and minors (under age 20) who entered the ROC at the same time.

B. For Canadian and UK passport holders, please refer to the Notice for British & Canadian Passport Holders Who Enter Taiwan Visa-Free and Apply for an Extension of Stay.(pdf file)

And surprise, suprirse, the two versions do not quite match. :tumble:

Unofficial translation of the bold text:

When the duration of stay is completed, it shall not be extended or changed to another visitor visa or resident visa with a duration of stay. But [a person with a medical emergency etc., or] a white collar professional [such as a teacher] who has obtained a work permit before the end of the duration of stay [plus spouse etc.] is not subject to this limitation, if the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [the BOCA of the MOFA] or the Central Region, Southern Region, Eastern Region or Yunlin-Chiayi-Nantou Office agrees (if the aforementioned white collar job applicant is the subject of a visitor visa application, the applicant must submit the visa application 7 working days before the end of the duration of stay).

1 Like

Thank you very much YYY. This was very helpful :slightly_smiling_face:

Do you need a work permit to transfer a landing to a ARC? I don’t have one quite yet

May I please ask you guys one last question? If I don’t have time to do what YYY said, what documents will I need for a visitor Visa?

Why do you need a Visitor’s visa or a Landing Visa? In the link that I posted and which Steve explained clearly, all you have to do is leave and come back on a 90 day visa exempt (which is free of cost as compared to a Visitor’s or Landing Visa)…and then apply for a work permit… With the work permit, you can get a resident visa and with that Resident visa, you can get an ARC. No matter if it’s a visitors visa or a landing visa or a visa exempt… They must all be converted first to a resident visa (which you can only get with a work permit)… Then you can get the ARC… The arc is just an extension of a resident visa or for lack of a better term, you can call it a “mutated” form of a resident visa… It’s a small rectangular card which you can put in your wallet… It replaces the resident visa. So the important thing for you here is to get this Resident visa!!.. Not a visitor visa or a landing visa… But first, get that 90 days free visa exempt and come back into Taiwan… Good luck!!!

1 Like

Hi greenocelot,

I don’t clearly remember exactly how I applied for my visitor visa. That was in 2002, and I applied from Korea, and if I remember rightly, I followed some instructions on a strange-looking website (not Forumosa).

Anyway, in 2010 ImaniOU described the process by which she got a visitor visa in Hong Kong. That post is here:

I don’t know if those instructions will still work, and I don’t know if the essential steps will work in any place or country in which a person applies for a visitor visa for Taiwan. Also, you should be advised that the required money amounts may be different now.

Hopefully, if more or better information is needed, someone will come along and provide it.

One additional note: I think I do recall that when I applied back in 2002, the strange-looking website’s instructions advised not to say that one intends to work.

But ImaniOU advises to bring a work contract if applicable. Also, on this thread, CTaitung’s advice is similar to ImaniOU’s:

I’m not saying that ImaniOU and CTaitung’s information is wrong–I’m not saying that at all. Their advice sounds solid to me. I’m just mentioning that one difference between their advice and the advice I remember getting years ago from a website.

Well, yet one more thing:

If you decide to read the other posts in ImaniOU’s thread, it’s advised that you read all of them, because there seem to be differences of opinion, but the differences seem to get more or less resolved. Also, the thread goes all the way to 2015, so there may be something else in it that can help you. But as for me, I got somewhat confused by reading the other posts in that thread. That’s probably because I’ve lost whatever familiarity I might once have had with these kinds of processes.


That whole quoted text is about what you can do with a visa-free entry (which, again, is not a landing visa – that’s a type of visa you’ll probably never have), and as it says, you need the work permit before you can proceed (to get a resident visa and ARC).

If you apply for a visitor visa abroad, you just need whatever the “embassy” at which you apply wants from you, which should be stated on its website. But assuming BOCA has nothing against you personally, as an American you have no specific need for a visitor visa, like springonion said. (Visa-exempt Brits & Canadians are subject to different rules.)

(It’s been pointed out before that not everyone at BOCA has the same, shall we say, way of looking at things. If you find yourself up against a wall, just be patient and try to find someone else to talk to.)

1 Like

Hi everyone,

First, let me say thank you to the veterans of this site, who’ve been sharing their experience (and patience). I’ve been reading the site off and on for the past six months: trying to search for questions already answered before posting any myself.

This particular thread has been helpful and reassuring. I’ve moved up my timeline for moving to Taiwan. It’s mostly so I can be in-country for the hiring season (since online negotiations haven’t amounted to much).

But one question I haven’t been able to answer for myself yet: are teachers considered white-collar by Taiwanese authorities?

I may have to go the route of:
visa-exempt entry --> visitor visa --> employer-sponsored work permit

I do see teachers shown above in brackets, in the translation. Just looking for reassurance that this is an accepted understanding among the immigration officials!

Thanks for reading and for helping me keep my head on straight!

Yes, and foreign teachers are also “foreign professionals” under the new law.

1 Like

Thank you, @yyy. Just to clarify, by “new law,” you mean the one referenced by @padraig above (msg. 24):

“There is a new law - as of 2008 - which allows you to go from [visa-exempt entry] to an ARC without leaving Taiwan.”

Correct? I’ve reread this thread this afternoon - it seems clearer now. I don’t really want to belabor the point. I very much appreciate your help. (Thank you @Charlie_Jack, as well!)

CAVEAT: I haven’t been keeping up with things lately, so I’m not sure what @yyy is referring to. But maybe he means this:

The text above seems to refer to this:

Again, I’m not sure. Maybe you should wait for @yyy to say what he’s referring to.


If the above is what @yyy was referring to by the phrase “‘foreign professionals’ under the new law”–that is, if @yyy was referring to this (English version) and this (Chinese version)–then please ignore my post (the one immediately above this one), and please accept my apologies for any confusion I may have caused.


Every law was new, when it was just enacted.


Indeed it was. Of that, there can be no doubt. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Update: today I called my nearest TECO (Taiwan Economic & Cultural Office) and they said the above strategy would not work. Specifically, they said that either a visitor visa or resident visa would be necessary to obtain a work permit.

I asked specifically about visa-exempt entry, with obtaining a work permit later, leading to a visa (as described in the 2A exemption earlier in this thread). She said that was not possible.

The only solution was to apply for visitor/resident visa through her office before I leave ($160 application fee). Is she correct?

Sigh! Thank you for reading.

I was referring to this one, which came into effect last year.

1 Like

What’s your nationality? (And is it different from the country where you are now?)

1 Like