What visa do I apply for, if any, before I move there and teach?


Hi all, I am once again looking for some advice. I posted here almost a year ago – original topic: forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 5&t=150694 – to ask if I would be okay to teach with a misdemeanor & an associate degree + TESL/TEFL cert. The responses I received said I would be fine.

Here is where I am at:

–I’m about to graduate (with a 4.0 from community college, heh) on May 12th. I will have an associate degree in Business Management.
–The CELTA course I signed up for with Teaching House begins May 31st and I will complete it on June 24th.
–I am a white, American male, aged 26.
–I still have a misdemeanor for institutional vandalism from 4+ years ago. See the original thread.
–The girlfriend and I are still dating, and plan on living together in / near Miaoli or Taichung.

I plan on making tracks for Taiwan in late June / early July. I assume it will be beneficial to search for jobs beforehand, obviously. However, as I understand it, the application for a work permit CANNOT begin until I have BOTH the 2 yr degree AND the CELTA certification in order to comply with the Taiwanese government requirements. Is this assumption correct?

Thus, what I am planning on doing is reaching out to employers during the week at the end of June to make some contacts, then showing up in Taiwan with my degree + CELTA cert in hand and looking for a job. I clean up pretty nice, have taught / worked with kids before, and am comfortable interviewing.

My main concern is: What should I do in regards to a visa? As I see it, I have a few options:

1.) Travel there visa exempt for 90 days.
-I read that it is TECHNICALLY impossible to get your first Visa issued in Taiwan. However, also I read the story of a university professor who traveled to Taiwan from Thailand to teach and was able to secure what he thought was a resident visa, although in actuality it was only a visitor visa. Will I, traveling visa exempt, be apply to secure a work permit and THEN use it apply for a visa, either resident or otherwise?

2.) Apply for a visitor visa before leaving.
-I found the BOCA website online visa application here: visawebapp.boca.gov.tw/BOCA_MRV … laimer.jsp My concern is, as I have traveled to Taiwan 3 times before using the 90 day VISA exempt waiver program, would this raise red flags at customs? i.e. why would I need a VISA now after I have gone there three times prior?

3.) Sign up for Chinese language classes in Taichung, and apply for a student visa.
-This is another option as well. I plan to take classes soon after securing employment so that I can at least understand what is going on around me. My concern here is the money to pay for all this. The CELTA course ain’t cheap and I still need to book + pay for my flight.

4.) Apply for a multiple entry resident visa on the BOCA website while I am still in the U.S.
-I don’t know why I couldn’t do this, as it is what I need. For some reason, I heard that resident visas are often denied. Am I wrong?

I am leaning towards either looking around online for about 5-7 days after the CELTA course to see what jobs are open, applying, and reaching out to employers telling them that I am ready to start immediately. Then, regardless of whether or not I get job interviews, hopping on a plane, entering Taiwan visa exempt, and looking for work. Is this really dumb, and should I apply for a resident visa beforehand? Of course, I would like to apply for a resident visa as soon as possible. It seems like the chicken and the egg problem – I need to be in Taiwan to find work, but need a resident visa to live and work in Taiwan.

In short, what visa do I apply for, if any, and is there anything else I need to do before I leave? I am basically very green, a little worried, and I want to make sure that there is nothing I am overlooking. I’m sure than any problems I run into can be overcome by throwing enough time, effort, and money at them, although I would like to have some understanding before I dive in headfirst.

If you made it through this rambling wall of text, thank you. Any comments or guidance would be greatly appreciated.


Hi max901,

I’m sorry for replying so late, but it’s been a long time since I was in the job market, so I’m afraid to say very much about it.

I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of the visa-exempt-conversion issue, but here are several threads on it (I hope the situation hasn’t changed since these threads were created):

This thread was started by a prospective teacher:

This thread has to do with someone seeking work:

This thread has to do with a prospective university student:

[Can I convert Visa-Exempted permit to visitor/resident visa to get student ARC? Please Help!

This one was started by a prospective Mandarin student:


Use the 90 visa exempt entry. You won’t be able to get your resident visa until you get a job. You will be able to convert to a resident visa and ARC w/o leaving the country.

Don’t worry about your misdemeanor. Taiwan doesn’t require a criminal background check. You could be a murderer and teach English here.


Hi, I have a similar query posted here: