Known for its beautiful scenery and bustling economy, Taiwan has rapidly grown into one of Asia’s most popular retirement and expatriate destinations. Thanks to the growth of English language schools in the country and its foreigner-friendly economic policies, Taiwan is a major expatriate capital in Asia.
A growing number of foreign retirees – both ethnic Chinese and other races – wish to retire to Taiwan, largely to enjoy the relaxed pace of life, huge variety of different settings, and affordable cost of living that it offers. From village life to an exciting, high-speed existence in a large city, Taiwan truly offers everything to expatriates.
Taiwan’s immigration system is open and relatively straightforward for visitors, with short-term visas often not required for entry into the country and long-term visas simple to apply for. Whether you’re planning a short-term mini-retirement or a long-term stay in Taiwan, read on to learn more about its visa requirements.
Are Retirement Visas Offered For Foreigners In Taiwan?
Unfortunately, Taiwan does not offer a retirement visa in the same form as those offered by Thailand and Malaysia. Foreigners visiting Taiwan for a long period are able to apply for a number of non-retirement visas for work and education, but a dedicated retirement visa is currently unavailable.
However, a variety of different long-term visas are available for Taiwan, all of which are easy to apply for and gain with a local job or business commitment. Read on to learn more about Taiwan’s short and long-term business visas for foreign workers and investors.
What Long-Term Visas Are Offered For Foreigners Wishing To Stay In Taiwan?
Taiwan offers visa-free entry for up to thirty days for citizens of some Asian and most Western countries. This allows for simple visa-free ‘mini retirements’ and for those planning a retirement to Taiwan to easily assess the country. Taiwan offers a ninety-day visa for most foreign visitors looking to stay in the country a little longer.
Tourism visas for a period longer than ninety days are unavailable, however it is possible to extend your stay in Taiwan by flying out of the country and re-entering at a later date. Many non-working foreigners looking to extend their stay in Taiwan beyond the standard ninety-day visa limit use this strategy.
Taiwan offers a business visa for foreign nationals that would like to work with or for a Taiwan-based company. The business visa system is fairly simple and easy to understand, with only a few special requirements for foreigners. This option is ideal for foreign investors looking to retire in Taiwan while operating a small business.
To qualify for a business visa in Taiwan, you must apply for the visa with a letter of invitation from a Taiwan-based company. While this is simple for employees, it can be a difficult process for would-be entrepreneurs. Thankfully, there are a variety of companies in Taiwan that assist with investors looking to qualify for a business visa.
Finally, foreigners married to a Taiwanese citizen are able to qualify for residency in Taiwan, as well as being able to eventually work in the country legally. If you have a wife or husband from Taiwan, you may qualify for a resident visa, provided you do not have any serious criminal convictions in your home country.
How And Where Can Retirees And Expatriates Apply For A Taiwan Visa?
Taiwanese visas are issued at all Taiwanese consulates and embassies around the world. Due to Taiwan’s tense political status with the People’s Republic of China, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to apply for Taiwanese visas in most Chinese cities. Hong Kong, however, is home to a small Taiwanese culture and visa center.
All visas for Taiwan have a few simple requirements. First, you will need to provide passport-sized photographs of yourself for the visa application. If you are applying for the visa through an approved visa agent, you will also need to provide a scanned copy of the agent’s passport or identity card to prevent fraudulent applications.
A passport with at least six month’s validity is required for all visa applications to Taiwan, although those with a passport expiring sooner may qualify for a short-term visitor visa for an additional fee. Visa fees range based on the type of visa you are applying for and the embassy from which you are lodging your application.
Business visas require a letter of invitation from the company you are interested in working with, as well as proof of your partnership with the company. If you plan to invest in Taiwan, you will need to provide documentation from any fellow investors in the country, or from any international firms you are working with in Taiwan.
Resident visas for Taiwan based on marriage to a Taiwanese national require a range of different official documents. Applicants will need to provide a verified copy of their marriage certificate, as well as identifying documents for both themselves and their Taiwanese spouse in order to qualify for the resident visa.
More information on visa requirements for Taiwan can be found at the KwangHwa Information and Cultural Officewebsite. As the requirements for Taiwan visas differ based on the applicant’s country of citizenship, it’s worth calling your local embassy to enquire about any special requirements or helpful documents.
While Taiwan’s lack of a formal retirement visa is an annoyance for those looking to retire to the country without a Taiwanese spouse, its simple visa system and fairly open economy make it an easy country for those with ties to Taiwan. Offering the best of both city and rural life, this East Asian island is a great place to retire to.