Taiwan ARC: How to get it
Information on how to get a work permit in Taiwan
Taiwan ARC: Important Note
The ARC is the name for the work permit in Taiwan. This is what you need to legally teach English in Taiwan. Many people still work as English teachers in Taiwan without having an ARC, but I don't recommend it. If you get caught working without an ARC in Taiwan, you could be deported on the spot and find it vary hard to make your way back here.
Getting an ARC in Taiwan
If you think about moving to Taiwan as if it were a real-life version of Super Mario Bros. 3, the Alien Resident Card (ARC) is like the raccoon tail that allows you to fly to secret parts of the levels that were previously inaccessible. Once you get it, the world of living in Taiwan opens up to you a lot, allowing you to register for cell phone plans and library cards, sign a lease on an apartment, think about buying a scooter and more.
Here's a guide on how to get your Taiwanese ARC!
Note to Resident Visa holders
If you are studying in Taiwan or have already been offered a teaching job, you may be landing in the country with a resident visa. If this is the case, you must apply for your Taiwanese ARC (by following the steps below) within 15 days of arriving in the country.
What is an ARC?
The Taiwanese ARC (ju liu zheng) is a small, glossy-blue ID card given to foreigners as a way of registering them in the Taiwanese government's database. The government will assign you an ARC ID number which will be what you use for a number of different applications and other bureaucratic niceties. Your Taiwanese tax forms, health insurance forms, cell phone application forms and more will require this ID number, so it becomes very important.
The ARC in Taiwan will contain information on your nationality, length and type of visa, passport number, local address, and also the controversial "purpose of residence section". This contains the address of your place of employment in Taiwan, and if you're working somewhere not written on the ARC (even if it's for the same company), you are technically working illegally and if caught can face serious consequences.
Taiwan's ARCs are given on a yearly basis, meaning that the one you get first will expire on that same day the following year, and you will have to re-apply at that time.
Finding a job in Taiwan (if you haven't already)
Without a job or proof of Chinese study, Taiwanese resident visas cannot be given to foreigners. Therefore, scoring a teaching job will be the most vital thing for you to do in order to get one.
This creates a bit of an uncomfortable dynamic when looking for ESL work, particularly for those who are used to life at home where resident status is not an issue involved in job hunting. As life without an ARC and without status as a resident of Taiwan is only sustainable for so long, employers hold a lot of extra power over their employees. In essence, they hold the ticket to your being allowed to stay in Taiwan, and also reserve the right to throw that ticket into white-hot flames if they so desire.
This situation makes working hard at the job searching process that much more important. You may be tempted to simply accept the first job that is willing to give you a Taiwanese ARC so that you can begin living the rest of your life. However, as stated before, employers hold a lot of weight over you, so it's important that you have a good sense of trust with one another.
Having an ARC in Taiwan is important, and that's exactly why you don't want to get involved with schools engaging in shady business practices. If a school wants you to work at several locations that are not listed on your ARC, or threatens to cancel your ARC under certain unreasonable conditions, you may be interested in looking elsewhere.
I have a job, so I'm done now, right?
Requirements to get the ARC in Taiwan
Unfortunately, once you find a job, it's not as if the Taiwanese bureaucratic machine will automatically take care of the rest for you and you will magically hold a shiny blue ARC in your hand. You will still have a decent amount of work to do. These are the documents you need to take to get your Taiwan ARC:
- Health Check: In order to qualify for a visa, you need to pass a health check administered by the Taiwanese government. The health check is very basic and straightforward, making sure you don't have HIV or grave health problems. The cost of health checks seems to increase every year, and is currently at NT$1160. It will more than likely be conducted at a major hospital. You will need two 2x2 passport photos for the check; many hospitals have instant photo booths inside to accommodate this need. If they don't, ask your school or the hospital staff as to the nearest place to get them done.
- Original passport and a single copy of it
- Two 2x2 passport photos: Ask your employer where the nearest photo booth is and they should be able to tell you.
- Letter of Employment: Your school will need to draft a letter to the government demonstrating that you are going to be hired as a full-time employee and that you have been approved as a college graduate.
- NT$1,000:The fee for the Taiwanese ARC application is currently NT$1,000
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
- Birth certificate(s) of children, if applicable
- Some things in Chinese: Have a friend or local write your residence address and Chinese name in Chinese if you're not comfortable explaining it or writing it yourself. This will save you some headache during the application process.
I have all of that stuff, now do I throw it in the trash?
If you've collected all of the documents above, you will need to go to one of the Taiwanese government's National Immigration Agency (NIA) Service Centers. The best way to find the one closest to you will most like be to ask your school.
The process at the NIA Service Centers is rather simple. You will need to fill out a basic application. For the sections where you need to write Chinese, you can leave it blank and have the NIA staff do it for you. If you brought your home address and name in Chinese, they can simply copy that over to the application for you. If you can write the Chinese yourself, more power to you.
Final steps to get the Taiwan ARC
Once you've completed the application process, paid the NT$1,000 fee and all of your documentation checks out, the NIA will give you a receipt for your troubles and tell you what day to return to the NIA office to retrieve your Taiwan ARC; this is usually after two weeks' time. Though immigration laws in Taiwan change year-to-year, currently it's not a problem if your visitor visa happens to expire during that two-week waiting period.
After waiting a couple weeks, you can head back to your local NIA Service Center and pick up your glossy Taiwan ARC, and fly to all of the secret parts of the level.
Find teaching jobs in Taiwan
If you want to find teaching jobs in Taiwan, you should take a look at 600+ English Schools in Taiwan, the biggest directory of English schools you'll ever find online or offline. In 600+ English Schools in Taiwan, you'll find more than 600 ESL schools in 117 cities across Taiwan.
I hope this page about the ARC in Taiwan was helpful. If you'd like to have more information about the Taiwan ARC, you should check Teach English in Taiwan: The Official Survival Guide.
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