Unless they are from a visa-exempt country, foreigners will need a visa to visit Taiwan. Those from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Ireland and several EU countries, as well as some Asian countries, can stay for 90 days without a visa. South Africans need to acquire a visitor's visa before travelling to Taiwan.

To stay longer, expats will need to acquire a residence visa, while those wanting to work in Taiwan will need both a work permit and a residence visa or an Employment Gold Card.

Visitor's visas for Taiwan

Expats looking to visit Taiwan for a short time, up to 90 days, without working, will need to apply for a visitor's visa at their local embassy unless they are from a visa-exempt country. Required documents include application forms, travel documents, passport photos, proof of airline tickets, proof of funds and a hotel reservation.

eVisas for Taiwan

Taiwan has launched an electronic visa (eVisa) system that provides a convenient alternative to the traditional paper-based visa process. The eVisa is valid for three months from the date of issue and is a single-entry visa. The maximum stay in Taiwan on an eVisa is 30 days, which cannot be extended.

Eligibility for an eVisa depends on the nationality of the applicant and the purpose of their visit. For instance, nationals of countries like Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia and others are eligible for an eVisa when they meet relevant criteria.

Nationals from all foreign countries who are invited to attend international conferences, sporting events, trade fairs or other activities in Taiwan organised by central government agencies are also eligible for an eVisa.

For a detailed list of eligible nationalities and conditions, please check the official Taiwanese eVisa portal.

Useful links

Residence visas for Taiwan

Expats wishing to stay in Taiwan for more than 90 days for purposes such as working or studying must apply for a Taiwan Resident Visa, also known as the Long Stay visa. There are several types of Taiwan Resident Visas, including:

  • Taiwan Work Visa: Issued to foreigners working in Taiwanese businesses. An additional work permit is also required.
  • Taiwan Student Visa: Intended for foreigners enrolling in Taiwanese educational institutions.
  • Taiwan Family Reunification Visa: For foreign nationals joining a family member who is a Taiwanese resident.
  • Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa: Granted to foreign nationals establishing a business in Taiwan.
  • Taiwan Working Holidays Visa: Issued to young people from countries with a Taiwan Working Holiday Programme. It allows them to work for up to one year in Taiwan.

Expats will usually only be able to get their residence visa after finding a job and getting their work permit approved. To be granted a work permit, applicants send copies of their documents (including a health check and police clearance) to their employer, who can apply for a work permit on their behalf.

Once the company receives the applicant's original work permit, prospective expats can apply for a residence visa at their local embassy before departure.

Some foreigners looking to work in Taiwan arrive on a visa waiver, find a job, apply for a work permit, and then use the work permit to apply for a residence visa in Taiwan. This process has been streamlined in recent years and is, for the most part, relatively straightforward. For those not eligible for a visa waiver, it's best to obtain a work permit before arriving in Taiwan. 

New arrivals should remember that they cannot begin working in Taiwan without a work permit, even if they have started the permit process, which can take several weeks. Once an expat has their work permit, they can legally work while they apply for a residence visa and wait for it to be processed. The advantage of organising a work and residence permit before arriving in Taiwan is that an expat can legally live and work in Taiwan from their first day of arrival.

Note that after an expat receives their residence visa and is living in Taiwan, they need to apply for an Alien Registration Certificate (ARC) within 15 days of arriving in Taiwan.

Useful links

Alien Resident Certificates in Taiwan

Once granted a work permit, the process for obtaining a residence visa and an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) can begin. Having an ARC entitles an expat to temporary residence in the country and allows expats to access Taiwan's public healthcare system, which operates under National Health Insurance. An ARC is valid for the same amount of time as the holder's work permit.

Foreigners must carry their ARC identification to prove they legally live in the country. Read more on Work Permits for Taiwan.

Useful links

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

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