What do I need to bring to HK for visa run?

OK, here’s my situation. (Yes, I searched the archives, and found lots of helpful info, but I’m still looking for some more answers.)

I’m an American who came here on a 60-day non-extendable visa on August 20th. I’ve been working with this school in Yilan county that opened literally just a month ago. Hence they don’t have the official permits to give me a work permit/ARC yet. I’ve signed a contract with them and things have been all hunky dory so far, but I’m still techincally here only on a visitor’s visa.

Since my visa is set to expire in about a week and a half, it looks like I’ll be heading for HK to get another 60 day visitor’s visa. (Is there any way around that? I haven’t even done the first step of the ARC application process yet.)

Do I need to bring the same stuff that I used to apply for that visa at the TECO in the States i.e. passport, return ticket, proof of $x thousand in my bank account, statement of my intent for going to Taiwan? Will it cost me (as an American) $US100 like it did at the TECO?

  1. Should I tell them now that I have a signed contract with this school? Or do I have to bullshit again about going to study Chinese?

  2. Do I still need a return ticket when it’s obvious that I’m going to apply for a year-long work permit? I still have a return ticket to the States that’s dated Oct 12th. I guess in theory I could change the date, though there’d be a fee for that. Or I could just buy another ticket to HK (in addition to my ticket to and from HK).


Just bring your toothbrush, a return-trip ticket and a carry-on packed with the biggest bullshit excuses you can come up with to tell the visa office. But don’t tell them you are working.

This is from AIT’s Web site:
Your employer is responsible for obtaining your work permit. The government agency responsible for issuing it depends on the nature of your work; for example, the Department of Education handles work permit requests for English teachers. Requirements will vary but the following documents are required for all types of work permit applications:

An original diploma showing the highest degree received, authenticated by the TECRO office in the U.S. nearest the school which issued the diploma;
A resume;
A health certificate issued by a pre-approved hospital in Taiwan or a hospital approved by TECRO if issued in the US.
Processing time for a work permit application takes approximately two months. YOU MAY NOT WORK DURING THIS PERIOD. An employer who asks you to work before you receive your permit is breaking the law and is asking you to break the law too. You should question whether or not you want to work for an employer who is willing to put you at risk of arrest and deportation. Many Americans teaching English illegally in Taiwan have complained to us that their employers never did apply for work permits for them. After a few months of working illegally and being treated badly by their employers, they usually give up and leave Taiwan.

After receiving the work permit, you must apply for a resident visa. If you arrived in Taiwan with a Visitor

The AIT information is all correct (so read it carefully) except for two things.

You will not need a resume as part fo the application for an English teacher.
It does not usually take 2 months. A month is about right if you have got the health check and everything sorted out already.

Bad news is, HK won’t give you a 60 day visa unless you have paid up for tuition with a language school.

I think Flicka is a little bit wrong, in that in my experience nearly all teachers start working while their school is in the process of applying for a work permit, even though this is clearly illegal. on the other hand your school doesn’t even have a licence yet, which puts them clearly in the league of illegal schools. How old is the school? It will take at least 6 months for them to get a licence. They might also be bullshitting you and never get one. That happens (intentionally or unintentionally).

You’ve got two options. 1) Change jobs if you want to work legally. 2) Resign yourself to teaching illegally (at least for a while) and sign up for Chinese classes. Unless you are going to change jibs, you’d better sign up for the classes so you can stay for 6 months. Otherwise you’re only going to get 30 days in HK and if you’re school hasn’t even started getting your work permit you’re looking at at least 2 trips to HK, which is expensive.


You need to sign up for Chinese courses to get a 60 day visa from HK. This will entail you having to go back to HK for another visa if your boss can’t get you all nice and legal before you have to extend your visa. Visa extensions=no chance for a work permit on that visa.

You will need $780HK($100US/$3500NT) to pay for your visa because AIT charges Taiwanese that much. If you tell them you are signing up to work for a school they will be really nice(not really) and give you a 30 day nonextendable visa which need to promptly be changed into a work permit-resident visa-ARC. The resident visa will cost you $4400NT, because you’re an American.

Always bring more stuff than you need and hand it all to them with enthusiasm and ask a lot of questions politely. Make sure everything is in order because they can be quite ignorant in HK.

Decent copy of a copy worked for me in Taipei city.

Really, wonder why I got mine in 7 working days? This was also in Taipei city.

Most employers expect/want you to work before your work permit is processed. It’s normal. It’s also breaking the law, but depends on how much somebody has motivation to enforce it. Some employers will string you along. If the school is new; you have a good rapport with the boss and they are treating you well. This shouldn’t be a problem.

Good luck and let me knwo if you can pick up some things for me in HK,

Okami’s right about everything except this:

which is wrong unless it’s a recent change. If you are on a visitor’s visa (not a landing visa) you should be able to change to a resident’s visa. If you have signed up as a student to get extensions, you need proof from your school that you are no longer a student. I did this myself some years ago and a friend did it last year.


My diploma was never authenticated by anyone in NZ. Is this an American thing?

[quote]A resume;
A health certificate issued by a pre-approved hospital in Taiwan or a hospital approved by TECRO if issued in the US. [/quote]

Resume??? The health certificate is needed though.

2 months - for an English teacher this is not always true. I can get one done and the passport at the police station for the ARC in less than 30 days.

Any boss who takes two months to do it is really slacking off. :wink:

Once you have your resident visa you will have 15 days to get an ARC. Yes, it can be obtained in 2 (working) days, but generally they (in Taichung) will tell you 1 week, just to be on the safe side.

You should, at the time you apply for your ARC, also apply for a re-entry permit. You must have this if you travel outside of Taiwan and wish to return and not need to re-apply for a new visa. This permit must be used with your ARC and is only valid as long as your ARC is.

I hope this helps a little more.

P.s. I would also be more than a little concerned about a school that opens without all the correct permits. I would think that it isn’t going to happen.
There are other ways, some of them “semi” legal, to get an ARC and work permit. Why on earth they would allow their teacher to waste 2 months and a visa trip when the teacher has a 2 month visa.
I really do get it done in less than a month - NO PROBLEM.

Let me clarify the one month statement. That is from beginning to end. Arrive, med check, check of qualifications, work permit, till getting that ARC.


Most employers expect/want you to work before your work permit is processed. It’s normal. It’s also breaking the law, but depends on how much somebody has motivation to enforce it. Some employers will string you along. If the school is new; you have a good rapport with the boss and they are treating you well. This shouldn’t be a problem.[/quote]

You and Bu Lai En are very right on this. I, I mean a friend of mine, had a bad experience with beginning a job before the work permit was processed. It wasn’t a fun experience being threatened and I don’t like to see it happen to foreigners here, unless of course they are real dicks. You never know when somebody will have the motivation to enforce it, and that’s the problem. Being strung along is also a waste of time, so I hope that otherwise he is being treated well.

Thanks for all of the advice. I guess I’ll be talking to my boss about this tomorrow. Though my school just recently opened (it’s a long sordid story involving small town politics), my boss is a fairly experienced guy and someone I trust fairly well. There are two other foreigners in town who swear by him, and so far he’s been helpful in getting me set up in town.

He’s been telling me that I just need another 60 days and my work permit and ARC would definitely be taken care of by then. Only being able to get a 30 day visa (is that an extendable visa? If it isn’t, then why even bother applying with a visa, because wouldn’t the airport give me a 30 day landing visa?) might change things.

Yeah, I know all about paying $100 for a visa. I did it the first time around. It is pretty bullshit that I have to do this again, but basically back in September, they thought the paperwork would be in on time, but apparently the permits are slow in coming.

Another question: would it be easier to get a 60 day visa from another place, like Thailand, Singapore, or Okinawa?

Email me if anyone wants me to pick up anything in HK for them.

I was told that I couldn’t get it on a visa extension from the authorities. Maybe I should of just tried it anyway, that usually works most of the time.

I would choose Singapore or Okinawa for a better chance of a 60 day visa. I would use HK if you want to get school papers to get the 60 day extendable. This allows you to have a greater choice of what and how you choose to proceed. Do take Flicka’s advice to heart, just don’t get paranoid. Sometimes learning moderation is the hardest part of being here.

I PMed you with what I want from HK.


If you get a landing visa it will not be able to be changed into a Resident visa.

See that’s a problem. I believe that either in order to get a licence you have ot have been running for 6 months, or in order to apply for a work permit for a foreigner you have to have been licenced for 6 months. I forget which one, but there’s a definite six months in there. Bear in mind that the rules and regulations for this sort of thing are often hard to come by, and Taiwanese seem to have a huge reluctance to call up the relevant authorities and ask (perhaps because they’ve learnt that it’s hard to get a reliable authoritive answer). Upshot is, your employer may no less about the situation than you do.