Taiwan Immigration, Visa & Customs Requirements
Entry formalities into Taiwan are relatively relaxed. Border control staff are generally friendly and courteous and bona fide visitors should not encounter any problems.
All visitors to Taiwan are required to hold valid entry visas. Visitor visas are normally valid for 60 days and can be extended twice without leaving the country. A visitor visa to Taiwan can be obtained from any diplomatic, consular or representative trade office which, despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties, Taiwan maintains in most countries.
For Taiwan Immigration, Visa & Customs Requirements, please also check our: Visa requirements for foreign nationals; where to apply for a visa for Taiwan, Taiwan Visas, Visa offices, Information Centers and Information you need for arrival and departure from Taiwan at our First Base - Taiwan Travel Pack section.
Visa Free Entry
British nationals along with the citizens of a number of other countries are afforded 14-day visa free entry to Taiwan. Visitors who enter visa free cannot extend their stay beyond 14 days.
14-Day visa free services are available to nationals of 17 countries: USA, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Italy Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. In addition landing visas are applicable also to nationals of Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Upon arrival in Taiwan, passengers who are British passport holders (and those other countries listed above) are eligible to apply for landing visas if they need to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days. Passengers will need to go to the visa office in the airport arrival area where a visa will be issued (if approved) as soon as an applicant has completed the visa application form and paid the landing visa fee of NT$1,500. An on-arrival visa is valid for a stay in Taiwan of 30 days, for single entry only, and is non-extendable.
The requirements that must be met to apply for visa-free and on-arrival visa are:
- Passengers must travel on valid passport (validity of passport must be at least 6 months later than the intended date of departure)
- No criminal or overstaying record in Taiwan
- Passengers must be in possession of an airline ticket to the next destination after Taiwan and a definite departure date and flight number must be shown on the airline ticket.
Visitor visas to Taiwan can be obtained in Britain from any of the Taiwan representative offices. A listing is provided in the appendix to this book. Visa can also be obtained in Hong Kong from the Chunghua Travel Service located at 89 Queensway in Admiralty. Chunghua Travel offers a same-day visa service for travellers to Taiwan. Generally, passports lodged in the morning can be collected in the afternoon of the same day.
Normal visitor visas are for single entry. Multiple re-entry visas can be obtained for up to 1 year for business purposes by presenting a letter from an employer on company letterhead stating the purpose for which a multiple entry facility is sought. Multiple re-entry visitor visas still allow a 60-day stay on each visit.
If you are required to extend your stay beyond 60 days an application must be made to the authorities before expiry of the 60-day visa validity period. Applications in Taipei are made at the Foreigners Service Centre, Taipei Municipal Police Headquarters at 96 Yen Ping South Road.
Visitors can apply, at the Taipei Municipal Police Department’s Service Centre, for a maximum of 2 visa extensions, each for a maximum stay of 60 days if the original duration of their stay is good for 60 days and their visa bears no such restrictive stamp such as “No Extension Will be Granted”.
The following procedures must be complied with if you want to apply for a visa extension without leaving Taiwan:
- Fill out 2 application forms.
- Submit passport, visitor visa.
- Submit the relevant document:
- Visiting relatives: a household registration, ID card or ARC of relatives
- Chinese language or other skill training: enrolment certificate and class schedule from an approved public or private language centre or university
- Temporary business: a statement of business from the local company or factory and a copy of the certificate issued by Taiwan government to prove that the above-mentioned company or factory has registered
- Employment: employment certificate from the relevant government agency
- Medical treatment: hospital certificate
- Missionary: a letter of invitation from the religious institution
- Other relevant approvals or certificates
For further information about visa extension, please call the Service Centre of the Taipei Municipal Police Department on (02) 2331 3561.
Bona fide students attending Mandarin Language classes in Taiwan generally apply initially for a 60-day visitor visa before arrival. Students may extend their visas in Taiwan provided they obtain a certificate from a government-approved school stating that they have attended classes for at least 10 hours per week.
After 180 days, a student must either leave the country before returning to study (many choose to make a simple one-day trip to Hong Kong just to comply with the law) or apply for a resident visa. Overseas students attending a course at a recognised ROC college of university can apply directly for residence visas.
In order to obtain an Alien Residence Certificate as a student you must have already studied for at least 4 months at a government approved school and to have proof of pre-paid tuition for at least 3 months.
Long Term Residence
If you intend to work in Taiwan and/or stay beyond 6 months you will be required to hold a work visa. In such circumstances you will also need to apply for an Alien Resident Certificate. The law requires that all foreigners holding resident visas apply for such a certificate within 20 days of arrival. Failure to comply will result in a fine and could delay your subsequent departure from Taiwan.
On Arrival: A Taiwan resident visa holder is required to apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), which is a proof of residence status and of identity (the resident visa only entitles the bearer to enter Taiwan) from the Taipei Municipal Police Department’s Service Centre within 15 days of arrival.
On Departure: Taiwan resident visa holders should apply for a re-entry permit from the Taipei Municipal Police Department’s Service Centre if they need to re-enter Taiwan. It is preferable that the application for a re-entry permit be submitted at the same time as the lodgement of the application for an ARC. If this is not done, Taiwan resident visa holder should apply for a re-entry permit from the Taipei Municipal Police Department’s Service Centre one week prior to departure.
The exit permit was abolished on 9 September 1996.
For Taiwan resident visa holders who have their occupation shown on their ARC, it is recommended that they file an individual income tax return with the tax authority one week prior to departure, otherwise the National Tax Administration (NTA) might ask the Taiwan Immigration to restrict their departure from Taiwan. In the case of foreigners working for companies in Taiwan. The company will normally guarantee that it bear responsibility for the individual’s tax.
For further information about re-entry permit, please call the Service Centre of the Taipei Municipal Police Department on (02) 2331 3561
For further information about tax clearance, please call the National Tax Administration Foreign Affairs Office on (02) 2311 3711 ext. 1116, 1118.
Customs formalities in Taiwan are relatively relaxed and straightforward provided you know the rules and obey them. Customs Declaration Forms are completed by every inbound passenger into Taiwan. The Head of Household may make a declaration on behalf of a family group. Items that must be declared for customs purposes include the following:
- Dutiable articles, new articles, samples, machine parts and accessories, industrial and other raw materials etc;
- Gold, silver, foreign currencies and New Taiwan dollars above the specified amount;
- Arms and ammunition including fishing and air guns;
- Computer software and videotapes (beyond one copy for personal use);
- Drugs and medicines.
- Declarations include both accompanied and unaccompanied baggage.
Exemptions are allowed by the ROC Customs Authority in relation to most items intended for personal use including the following:
- Each person aged 20 years or over may bring in 1 bottle (1litre or less) of alcoholic beverages plus 25 cigars, 200 cigarettes or 1lb of tobacco.
- Personal/household belongings that are pre-owned and have been used by the passenger overseas and are of a quantity considered reasonable and appropriate for personal use.
While many items are in principle dutiable, duty payments are often not enforced.
In addition a number of items are listed as prohibited imports into Taiwan. These include all restricted substances and non-prescriptive non-medicinal drugs, soils, plants and animal products from infected areas and endangered species of wildlife.
The scope of the customs regulations and their enforcement is constantly changing and tending towards more liberal attitudes except in matters affecting trademarks and copyright protection. All international moving and freight forwarding services will be able to advice in relation to the importation of specific items.
No pets can be brought into Taiwan without a valid import permit issued by the Bureau of Commodity Inspection & Quarantine (BCIQ). An application for an animal import permit can only by made by persons with a valid work permit. In order to import an animal into Taiwan the following details must be supplied together with the application covering letter:
- A photocopy of the information and visa pages of the owner's passport;
- A copy of the owner's work permit issued by the ROC government as well as the work certificate issued by the owner's employer;
- An official certificate of animal health issued by the appropriate authority in the home country;
- An official declaration of rabies immunity;
- Four 4" x 4" full-body colour photographs of the animal.
All animals permitted entry to Taiwan are subject to quarantine for a 63-day period. The quarantine period starts from the day of arrival at the quarantine station and not the day of arrival of the animal into Taiwan. Pets are normally quarantined at the National University Veterinary Hospital, 142 Chow Shan Road, Taipei and can be visited daily.