In recent years, the Taiwan government has introduced a new visa for foreign entrepreneurs in an effort to bring more investment in the country. The Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa is an attractive option for foreign investors for several reasons, such as:
- It allows them one year to set up a business after arriving in Taiwan, meaning you don’t have to set up the business beforehand.
- You will receive an initial 1-year residency with multiple entries.
- If your business is successful, you may extend your Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa.
- Up to three team members can apply together.
However, in order to receive an Entrepreneur Visa for Taiwan (officially known as the Republic of China (ROC)), you and your team members, if any, must fulfill certain eligibility criteria.
Who is eligible for a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa?
You may only apply for a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa if you comply with one of the following requirements:
- You have received venture capital investment or international fundraising that amounts to over NT$2 million.
- You have gotten patent rights or a professional skills certificate.
- You have been approved to reside in an incubator or recognized innovation park in Taiwan.
- You have been awarded in a leading startup or design competition or you took part in a foreigner entrepreneurship project.
- You are (or previously were) located in a startup accelerator recognized by Taiwan.
- Your company or the person who is the head of your company has been awarded or nominated in a film festival.
- You have received a government innovation subsidy of at least NT$3 million from the central government or NT$1 million from the local government.
- You have set up an enterprise with innovation capability in Taiwan and are acting as its legal representative, manager or director with an investment of at least NT$1 million.
- You possess the innovation capability as specified by the Taiwanese government.
Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa requirements
When you submit a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa application, you must have several supporting documents, such as:
- Completed Entrepreneur Visa Application Form, printed and signed.
- Two passport-size pictures, taken within the past six months. They must have a white background without any patterns. Dimensions must be 35mm by 45mm without a border.
- Your passport, valid for at least another six months and with at least three blank pages where the visa can be affixed.
- If you have received venture capital investment or international fundraising:
- Investment commitment letter, or any other proof of investment, signed by you and the relevant venture capital firm
- Registration documents of the venture capital firm, or any other documents proving the legality of such enterprise
- Documents proving you have received the investment
- If you have patent rights or a professional skills certificate:
- The patent certificate issued by the relevant Taiwan agency or an overseas agency
- If you are approved to reside in an incubator or recognized innovation park in Taiwan:
- Proof of the collaboration agreement, signed by both involved parties
- If you were awarded in a leading startup or design competition or you took part in a foreigner entrepreneurship project:
- Proof of the award certificate you received from the relevant agency
- If you set up an enterprise with an investment of at least NT$1 million:
- The company’s registration documents and relevant permit
- An investment authorization letter along with proof of the amount of investment.
- If you have been awarded or nominated in a film festival:
- Proof of the Award of Excellence certificate
- Any other documents that are requested of you, related to your business or otherwise.
Keep in mind:
This is not an exhaustive list of requirements as the specific documents are to be decided on a case-to-case basis, depending on the nature of your startup. The Taiwan government has the right to request any other additional documents as they see fit.
How to Apply for a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa?
There are two possible application methods for a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa, depending on where you are:
- Abroad, at a Taiwanese diplomatic mission
- In Taiwan, at the Bureau of Consular Affairs or any of its offices
Applying from abroad
If you are currently abroad, you may submit the Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa application at a Taiwanese diplomatic mission, such as an embassy or consulate. The application process is as follows:
- Complete the online Taiwan Visa Application Form (here). Print it and sign it.
- Collect the required documents.
- Submit the documents and application form at the Taiwanese diplomatic mission.
- The mission’s staff will forward the application to the Taiwan Investment Commission to be reviewed.
- The Investment Commission informs the diplomatic mission staff of the decision.
- If positive, the Taiwanese diplomatic mission will issue your Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa.
- Upon arrival in Taiwan, you have 15 days to apply for a residence permit at the National Immigration Agency.
Applying in Taiwan
If you have already entered Taiwan on a Visitor Visa may apply to turn it into a Resident Visa (Entrepreneur) from the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) or any of its offices 45 days before your current visa expires. The application process is as follows:
- Complete the online Taiwan Visa Application Form (here). Print it and sign it.
- Collect the required documents
- Submit the documents and application form at the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) or any of its offices.
- The BOCA will forward your application to the Investment Commission.
- The Investment Commission notifies the BOCA of their decision.
- If the decision is positive, the BOCA gives you your Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa.
- Within 15 days of receiving your visa, you have to apply for a residence permit at the National Immigration Agency.
Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa applications from Hong Kong and Macao residents
If you are a national of Hong Kong or Macao, you may apply for a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa in one of the two following ways:
- Inside Taiwan, through the National Immigration Agency
- From abroad, through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong or Macao
Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa processing time
If you are applying from inside Taiwan, the Entrepreneur Visa is typically processed within 2-3 weeks from the time you submit all the relevant documents. However, because applications that are submitted abroad still have to be forwarded to Taiwan for approval, the processing time for Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa applications submitted through a diplomatic mission will be longer.
Residence Permit for Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa
Although you need a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa to be allowed to start your business in Taiwan, if you want to be allowed to live in the country for longer than three months, you have to get a residence permit.
The Taiwanese residence permit is called the Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and you have to apply for it at a local service center of the Taiwan National Immigration Agency.
What is the duration of a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa?
The first time you receive an Entrepreneur Visa for Taiwan, you will receive an Alien Resident Certificate with 1 years’ duration. After that first year is up, in which you have to set up your business, you may apply to extend your ARC, provided that you meet the extension criteria.
Extending a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa
After the initial first year is up, you can renew your Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa (technically, your Alien Resident Certificate) for another two times, each for a maximum of two years’ validity.
You may apply for an extension of your Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa if you fulfill one of the following conditions:
- In the previous year, your business amassed revenue of at least NT$3 million.
- Or, if you are renewing for the second or third time, the average annual revenue from the last three years is at least NT$3 million.
- The operating expenses of your business for the last year (or the average annual expenses of the last three years) are at least NT$1 million.
- You have at least three full-time Taiwanese employees in your company.
- You are able to demonstrate that your company is positively contributing to Taiwan’s economic development in some other way.
If you fulfill any of those conditions, you may apply to renew your ARC at least 40 days before your current one expires at the National Immigration Agency.
Once you obtain five years of temporary residence in Taiwan, you are eligible for permanent residency: the Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC). You can apply for the APRC if you’ve spent at least 183 days per year in Taiwan out of the last 5 years and if you can give proof of self-sufficiency.
Can I bring my family members with a Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa?
Yes, you can. The Entrepreneur Visa for Taiwan allows you to include your immediate family members (spouse and dependent children under 20 years of age) on your application, who will count as your dependents.