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I've heard about US expats temporarily leaving Taiwan for a weekend so that they can stay an additional 90 days under visa exempt entry. I have two questions about this practice:

  1. Is there a minimum time visitors are required to leave before beginning another stay in Taiwan?

  2. Is staying in Taiwan in this manner frowned upon by anyone?

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Are they expats or just travellers ? According to the Taiwan government website US citizens cannot apply for an extended stay if they arrived as visitors. They do not however mention a minimum time – blackbird57 Mar 10 '14 at 14:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

As a US passport holder, you're "visa-exempt" and will generally be granted 90 days on arrival, no questions asked:

The nationals of the following countries are eligible for the visa exemption program, which permits a duration of stay up to 90 days: ... U.S.A. ...

Now, making a quick visit to another country for the sole purpose of renewing your visa is known as a "visa run". Most countries will get suspicious if you do this too often, but fortunately, anecdotal evidence for Taiwan seems to indicate that they don't care:

According to experiences on this forum, you can continue to do this as long as you like. Of course, like anything, Immigration has the final say, but as long as you keep your nose clean (ie. don't overstay your visa, don't commit any felonies, etc.) you should be fine.

(courtesy "Steve4nLanguage" on Forumosa, the definitive Taiwan forum)

So the answers to your questions appear to be:

  1. No
  2. No

All that said, I wouldn't rely on this for more than a few renewals. If you're planning on staying in Taiwan for a longer time, you'd definitely best be off working out some sort of "real" visa that actually allows you to work legally.

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I lived in Taiwan for two years holding a New Zealand passport (which also has a visa-exempt period), doing visa runs to the Philippines every month or so. The fact is, as long as you leave on time (ie do not overstay), you can re-enter visa free as many times as you like. Absolutely nobody frowned on me, and immigration officers just flicked through the many stamped pages with indifference.

Visa runs were actually recommended to me by TECO staff in Auckland (as an alternative to trying to sort something through non-paternal ancestry), so it's 100% on the books, and nobody minds.

My sister did made the mistake of overstaying in Taiwan a few days once though, and they definitely cared about that (monetary fine, not allowed to return for a certain period of time).

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