Taiwan student visas are short-term visas that allow students to enter Taiwan. From there, students will get resident visas. These visas are valid for up to 3 months. However, you can renew them depending on the condition of your stay. You can find various types of Taiwan student visas that have different requirements.
I studied at a Mandarin training center in Taiwan for a few months. So I wanted to share my experience of getting a student visa. And combine other information I’ve gathered covering different Taiwanese student visa types.
Why Study in Taiwan?
Here are reasons you should consider studying in Taiwan (officially the Republic of China):
- Affordable healthcare
- Plenty of public transportation (in the cities)
- Living costs aren’t high
- Friendly folks
- Plenty of cafés to study at
- Lightning-fast internet
The exact reasons everyone else says.
To weigh the benefits and disadvantages of staying in Taiwan, read my list of pros and cons. There are a lot of factors you’ll need to consider when searching for somewhere to study.
Everyone’s differences will vary.
For instance, you won’t have the best time in Taiwan if you hate unsightly apartment buildings. But you’ll get used to it.
What Is Taiwan’s Student Visa?
A Taiwan student visa is a type of visa for foreigners who want to study in Taiwan. The initial duration of this visa is 3 months.
But you can stay in Taiwan longer by extending the duration of your student alien resident certificate (ARC).
The extended duration depends on how long you’re approved to stay in Taiwan.
For instance, if you got a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship for 9 months, you could get a student ARC for that duration.
You CAN get a work permit in Taiwan as a student. But with some caveats. You can only work a maximum of 20 hours per week. Except during the summer and winter breaks.
The government doesn’t specify the number of hours you can work during those periods. So maybe 40? Ask someone just in case .
If caught working without a work permit, the police will fine you NT$15,000–30,000.
Whether you have questions about the work permit or want to apply for one, go to wda.gov.tw.
Taiwan Student Visa Types
Taiwan has 4 types of student visas that include:
- Degree programs: you can get this visa if a Taiwanese university admits you into one of your programs
- Exchange programs: only students taking part in exchange programs can participate
- Studying at a Mandarin Chinese Learning Center: studying Mandarin Chinese at a government-approved institution
- Overseas Chinese students studying in Taiwan: visa residents from the People’s Republic of China who wish to study in Taiwan
Each visa type has varying requirements.
I’ll cover these in the next section. First, I want to detail each visa type.
The degree program allows high school graduates to pursue various degrees in Taiwan.
They require that you know Mandarin Chinese OR English.
Exchange programs speak for themselves. These differ by schools and programs so I can’t write a general summary in this area.
Studying Mandarin at a language learning center involves taking Mandarin Chinese classes at a university’s language center.
There are plenty of these throughout Taiwan.
I took my classes at the National Taiwan Normal University Language Learning Center (Shida).
It was a pretty good experience. They teach you how to write, read, and speak Mandarin Chinese through various quizzes, group “games,” and parroting.
Even if that’s not your preferred way of learning a language, it’s still a good starting point.
Overseas Chinese students, those who hail from the People’s Republic of China, Macau, and Hong Kong can obtain a visa to study in Taiwan .
People from these areas can study in colleges, vocational schools, high schools, and below.
Taiwan Student Visa Requirements
The following sections will cover the required documents for the following:
- Studying the Chinese language
- Exchange programs
- Degree programs
- Overseas Chinese students
- Extending your visa
Don’t skimp on these requirements. Otherwise, your application will take longer.
All visas require a 2 × 2” (51 × 51 mm) photo. You can take these photos in one of the millions of passport and visa photo booths in Taiwan. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a shop that takes these photos.
Other requirements that you’ll need to keep in mind include:
- White background
- Your face must fill 60–70% of the frame
- Clothes can’t match the background (even though mine did)
- No headwear: unless for religious reasons
- Neutral expressions: no smiling allowed
- Photo must be taken within 6 months of filling out your application
- Head centered with photo
- Colored photo
I recommend taking these specifications seriously. For the most part, Taiwan’s Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) and other employees are sticklers about these photo specifications.
1. Taiwan Student Visa Requirements for Studying Mandarin Chinese
If you’re learning Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan, you’ll need these documents:
|2 Passport-sized Photos||Must take photos with a white background & within 6 months.|
|Proof of Financial Ability||Bank statement or screenshot of bank account.|
|Plan for studying Mandarin Chinese *||Explain motivation & plan for learning the language.|
|Admission Letter from Language Center||Proof the language center accepted you into their program.|
|Passport||Original & a photocopy of the bio-page.|
|Printed Application **||Self-explanatory.|
* You must write this document in Chinese (Traditional or Simplified) or English.
** Visit visawebapp.boca.gov.tw/BOCA_EVISA to fill out your application.
When filling out the Mandarin Chinese learning visa application, you’ll need this information:
- Passport number
- Full name
While going through the application, they’ll ask you the number of days you’ll stay and the number of entries. This depends on what your
Under ‘Purpose of Travel,’ select ‘Studying Chinese.’
2. Taiwan Student Visa Requirements for Exchange Programs
If you’re pursuing an exchange program in Taiwan, you’ll need the following:
|2 Passport-sized Photos||Follow the above photo requirements.|
|Passport & Copy of Passport||Copy of your passport’s bio page.|
|Original & Copy of Overseas Certificate of Enrollment||Student ID or certificate provided by your Taiwanese school.|
|Health Check Certificate||Received within 3 months by a foreign or Taiwanese hospital.|
|Admission Permit (Original & Copy)||Provided by your school.|
|Other Documents||Required on a case-by-case basis.|
|Letter of Approval (Original & Copy)||Letters will vary by program; read below for more information.|
During the application process, you’ll need to fill out your travel purpose. Select ‘Foreign Student ‘exchange student.”
You can find the requirements for Taiwan’s health check by visiting cdc.gov.tw/En. If you do this health check in your home country, a Taiwan embassy/consulate must authenticate your health certificate.
The requirements for this check (and price) will vary based on where you’re from.
Regarding the letter of approval. These will depend on the program you’re participating in:
- High school students: letter from the Bureau of Education or Ministry of Education
- University students: from the university you’re attending
3. Taiwan Student Visa Requirements for Degree Programs
Whether you’re getting a Master’s, PhD, Bachelor’s, or are taking part in high school programs or below, you’ll need these requirements (aside from the fees):
|Passport Photos: Two 2” × 2” (51 × 51 mm)||Must have taken it within 6 months.|
|Visa Application||Fill out an application at visawebapp.boca.gov.tw, then print it.|
|Original Passport||Must be valid for at least 6 months & have a blank page.|
|1 Copy of Passport||Photocopy the passport bio data page.|
|Health Certificate (Original & Copy)||NA|
|Record of Enrollment (Original & Copy) †||Must prove you’re enrolled.|
|1 Photocopy of Highest Diploma ‡||Must have it in English or Chinese.|
|Proof of Financial Support §||Bank statement to prove you have enough money to last pay expenses for 6 months.|
|Other Supporting Documents||Required on a case-by-case basis.|
† Your school will provide these documents upon being accepted into their program.
‡ You have to have a Taiwanese de facto embassy authenticate this.
§ These documents include:
- Guarantee letter
- Police Criminal Record Certificate
- Language ability certificate
- Copy of Visitor Visa
- Consent from parent in Taiwan
- Letter stating reason for visiting Taiwan
While filling out the application, you’ll need to provide your purpose of travel. Select ‘Foreign Student (Full-time PhD, Master’s Bachelor’s program bla bla bla).’
4. Taiwan Student Visa Requirements for Overseas Chinese Students
If you’re from the People’s Republic of China, Macau, or Hong Kong, you’ll need these documents:
|Health Certificate||Issued within 3 months.|
|2 Passport-sized Photos||White background & taken within 6 months.|
|Financial Statement||Bank statements or whatever.|
|Transcript of Your Highest Education||From previous schools you attended.|
|Passport (Original & Copy of Bio Page)||Self-explanatory.|
|Certificate of Enrollment||Proof a university accepted your enrollment.|
|Student Visa Application Form||Visit visawebapp.boca.gov.tw.|
While filling out the application for this visa, you’ll need to choose why you’re coming to Taiwan. Select ‘Overseas Chinese Students.”
5. Taiwan ARC Requirements
When applying for an alien resident certificate (ARC) in Taiwan, you’ll need the following:
|Certificate of Enrollment||Certificate your school gave you upon admission.|
|ARC Application||Fill this out online, then print it.|
|Student ID (Original & Copy)||The student ID your school gave you.|
|Application Fee||Fees depend on single-entry vs. multiple entry.|
|4.5” × 3.5” Photo||You must have a white background & have taken it within 6 months.|
|Other Documents||Required on a case-by-case basis.|
|Housing Contract in Taiwan||Copy of contract for apartment you’re renting.|
It’ll take at least 2 weeks for your ARC application to process. After that time, you can pick up your ARC card.
6. Requirements for Extending Taiwan Student Visa
You’ll need the following to extend your student visa past its expiration date:
|Passport||Valid for 6 months & has at least 1 blank page.|
|Application Form||Print out your application.|
|Record of Attendance||Provided by your university or language center.|
|Certificate of Admission||Also issued by your school.|
When filling out the application, you’ll need to put a checkmark by ‘ARC EXTENSION.’ Here’s the application (PDF link). Or you can pick it up at the immigration agency.
You’ll need to fill out this application and provide your documents at max 30 days before your visa expires. Otherwise, you’ll have to leave Taiwan.
DON’T procrastinate with doing this. I’ve seen people forget to fill out their application and have to leave Taiwan.
How to get a Student Visa in Taiwan
You can apply for Taiwan’s student visa through the following methods:
- After arriving in Taiwan (in Taiwan)
- At a “cultural” center (de-facto embassy)
- Apply for your ARC
I’ll cover both methods of getting a visa throughout the following sections. Keep reading, and you’ll find yourself studying in Taiwan in no time.
1. Applying for the Student Visa in Taiwan
Follow these steps to apply for a Taiwan student visa inside the country:
- Visit visawebapp.boca.gov.tw/BOCA_EVISA, fill out the application, and print the final page
- Glue or tape your photo/s to the application
- Gather your documents and apply at the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA)
- Pick up your passport
- Apply for your ARC at the immigration agency within 15 days of receiving your visa
You’ll have to pick up your ARC card once your application processes. That’s usually around 2 weeks.
2. Applying for a Taiwan Student Visa Abroad
Go through these steps to apply for a Taiwanese student visa while you’re in your home country:
- Go to visawebapp.boca.gov.tw/BOCA_EVISA, fill everything out, then print your application
- Attach photos to your application
- Visit the nearest Taiwan diplomatic mission and submit your application and passport
- Wait for them to process your visa
- Pick up your passport
- Apply for an ARC once you enter Taiwan
You can technically apply at any Taiwanese de-facto embassy. So if you’re visiting Italy and want to apply for a Taiwan student visa, you can do so. Ensure you’ll stay in the country when you’re due to pick up your passport.
The time it’ll take to process your application will vary. So I can’t provide an estimate.
3. Applying for the Resident Certificate
Take the required documents and application to the nearest immigration agency, apply for your ARC, wait a couple of weeks, then pick up your certificate.
Most of the time, I never speak to the immigration agency staff. I hand them my documents, they file everything, then tell me when to pick up my ARC.
Taiwan Student Visa Fees
Here are fees you’ll pay for Taiwan student visas:
|Student Visa||1-year: NT$1,000|
|Overseas Chinese Students||NT$500|
|Single-Entry Resident Visa||Outside TW: NT$2,000|
|Inside TW: NT$2,200|
|Multiple-Entry Resident Visa||Outside TW: NT$4,000|
|Inside TW: NT$4,400|
You’ll need to pay for the student visa fee (“X”-year duration) and the Resident Visa (Taiwan ARC). For instance, if you have a Single-Entry ARC with a duration that’s good for 1 year, you’ll pay NT$3,000 ($99) total.
As someone who will have a limited time to work, you may need to manage your money. So you’ll also need to consider costs for:
- Taiwan apartment rentals
- Public transportation
- Visa/ARC photo
- Passport purchases or renewals
Then you’ll need to consider books for your classes. Everyone’s costs for these books will differ by course.
Books for the Mandarin learning center cost me NT$1,000 ($33). And that was for three books; the workbook, character book, and textbook.
Taiwan Scholarships for International Students
Taiwan has various scholarships that you can shoot for to lower your school-related expenses.
Since there are so many, I’ll briefly summarize many of the popular ones:
|Scholarship †||Stipend||Requirement||Max. Duration|
|MOFA Taiwan Scholarship||NT$30,000/mo.||Live in a country that diplomatically recognizes TW.||4 years|
|MOE Taiwan Scholarship||NT$15,000/mo.||Live in a country that doesn’t recognize TW.||4 years|
|Taiwan PIFS Scholarship||NA||Bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD.||NA|
|Huayu Enrichment Scholarship||NT$25,000/mo.||Language studies.||12 months|
|Taiwan Scholarship||NT$40,000/mo.||Degree programs.||5 years|
|Academia Sinica Taiwan International Graduate Program||NT$34,000/mo.||PhD program (math, earth sys. science, & life science fields).||3 years|
|International Higher Education Scholarship Programs of TaiwaniCDF||Undergraduate: NT$12,000/mo.||Pursue these fields: business admin., tech., agriculture, medicine engineering.||4 years|
|MOFA Taiwan Fellowship||Professors: NT$60,000/mo.||Pursue fields relating to cross-Taiwan Strait relations.||1 year|
|Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies||Professors: NT$60,000/mo.||Chinese & Taiwan studies.||1 year|
|Asst. professors or doctoral candidates: NT$40,000/mo.|
† You can only accept one grant from a government or education institution.
You can only get Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) scholarship if you’re in the handful of countries that diplomatically recognizes Taiwan as a country.
E.g., St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
However, in some circumstances, they’ll give exceptions. They don’t specify what situations, though.
And if you can’t qualify for the MOFA scholarship, you can go for the Taiwan Ministry of Education (MOE) one.
The MOE Huayu Enrichment Scholarship program.
It’s the scholarship I got. And it’s reserved for anyone wanting to study Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan.
If you’re pursuing studying a different language in Taiwan, try to get this scholarship.
It’ll save you a lot of money.
The Huayu Enrichment Scholarships duration will vary based on what you were awarded. So you could get 3, 6, or 9 months.
The Taiwan Scholarship is only available for you who want to pursue a bachelor’s, masters, or doctorate in Taiwan.
You should also check whether the school you’re attending has scholarships available.
Taiwan ARCs 101
Taiwan’s Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) is the country’s resident visa. It allows foreigners to stay in Taiwan for up to 3 years. And you can renew it depending on the circumstances of your stay.
If you’re from America, you can think of it as a green card.
But having this certificate doesn’t mean you’re a Taiwanese citizen. It does give you access to perks like:
- Access to e-gate: saves you an hour waiting with all the non-ARC(ers)
- Ability to open bank accounts
- Can sign up for rewards programs for stores (like Open Point)
- Rent scooters and cars
- Get a Taiwanese driver’s license
- Get health insurance
As mentioned, you’ll apply for a resident visa upon entering Taiwan or receiving your visa.
They also have a Taiwan Alien Digital Citizen Certificate. It makes accessing information like your credit history, health records, and other important things easier.
But it’s a pain in the ass to get.
I tried applying for this, and the immigration agency had no idea what I was talking about. Though, I showed her the link from the government’s website.
I don’t have much content surrounding this topic yet. Since most people seem not to use it. But here’s a link to the government’s website that provides more information (PDF link).
The codes for your resident permit will vary based on the type of studies you’re going for:
- CODE-FS: foreign students
- CODE-FR: studying Mandarin Chinese
- CODE-FC: overseas Chinese students
There wasn’t a specific code for foreign exchange students. So I’d imagine you fall under CODE-FS.
FAQ: Taiwan Student Visa
Keep reading to find answers to commonly asked questions about studying in Taiwan.
Find more frequently asked questions about Taiwan here.
Can You Work With a Taiwan Student Visa?
International students can legally work 20 hours per week while studying in Taiwan . But first, you must apply for a work permit. You can apply by visiting ezworktaiwan.wda.gov.tw.
Why was my Taiwan Student Visa Rejected?
The government likely rejected your visa because you didn’t meet Taiwan’s student visa requirements (e.g., you’re not healthy enough).