Confusion about Mandarin study and visas

Short-term and long-term visas, application requirements, waiting times, advantages and disadvantages of stay vs. resident visas, who needs an ARC, and why do people opt for permanent residency
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Confusion about Mandarin study and visas

Postby beardybeardy » 29 Apr 2012, 22:39

Hello, I've been looking through the postings on this site but can't seem to find anything that quite answers my questions.

I am British and married to a Taiwanese national. We both live in the UK. I have been given a six month career break from work so that I can go to Taiwan to learn Mandarin ( I already have some Mandarin experience, having studied it with the open university for 6 months now)
I've been doing a lot of research but am thoroughly confused, there is so much conflicting information!

First of all, courses.
Unfortunately I've kind of gone about it the wrong way...booking my leave from work first and then trying to find a course that fits but I have no choice as the time I can have off from work is quite restricted. I am going to Taiwan in the middle of October and coming back middle of April. I have found that a lot of courses start in September or run until after April. Does anyone know of / can you recommend any colleges, universities, languages schools in Taipei that do taylor-made courses to run from when ever suits you and for as long as you require? ( I was hoping to find a course running from November until early April) Or, am I best piecing together a couple of separate courses?

This leads to my next question...do I need a visa to study Mandarin in Taiwan? And if not, how long can I stay as a European on visa free entry? I phoned the embassy in London, they said I can enter without a visa and stay for up to six months but I can't find anything in writing on their website that confirms this (the longest it mentions is 60 days). If I do need a visa but am planning on doing 2 or more Mandarin courses to make up the six months, will they only issue a visa for the length of the first course?

Thirdly, do I have to study at a government approved college, or does this depend on the answer to my visa question? If so, does anyone know of any that would do the type of course I'm after. I found a government list of universities but I also found on a lot of the private language schools websites that they mention giving you an acceptance letter for visas even though none of them are listed on the government website.

From the research I have done it appears that there are several ways to do what I want to do, so I'm just hoping for a bit of advice on the best way to go about it. My main concern is when we booked our 6 month return tickets the agent said the airline (Eva air) will check to make sure I have a visa because we are going for so long, but the embassy didn't seem to think it would be a problem!

My alternative appears to be applying for a spouse visa which gives me entry for 15 days, I can then apply for and ARC, how easy is the process and do they still allow you to do this even if you're not intending to stay in Taiwan permanently?

Sorry it's such a long post but I'm a bit confused!!
Thanks.
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Re: Confusion about Mandarin study and visas

Postby 2liu » 02 May 2012, 19:14

Hi - Very long post and I don't think I can answer all your questions but maybe some.

First thing - I would definitely recommend you apply for Visitor visa (180 days max) rather than rock up to Taiwan and get the freebie tourist visa. Despite what the UK office says, you can't extend the tourist visa (90 days max) - you would have to leave the country (eg go to HK) and then come back to get another stamp. You also can't change the visa status even if you go to immigration here. - I learnt this all the hard way last year.

You can extend the Visitor visa up to 180 days (I'm doing my 2nd extension in a couple of weeks). If you plan to stay longer then a Resident Visa is more appropriate. I can't really advise on your marriage status and if it would be different for you.

Either way, to apply for the Visitor / Resident visa you need to get proof from a certified language school that you will be attending in the future. This letter has to be received before you can apply. I go MTC in Taipei and they are quite knowledgable about visa issues so on that front, it was clear what I needed to do.

I'm not too sure about other schools so I shouldn't comment. Obviously if you extend your visa but Immigration don't like / haven't heard of the school, you may be out on your ear I'm afraid.

Course wise, in my experience, MTC is quite rigid in enrolment dates and what have you. You may try and get round it by having 1-2-1 lessons but again check before you sign up.

There is probably alot of stuff I've missed out or haven't been clear about. My 1st point though is very important. Your visa should have the initials FR (denoting you are a student). I think it only costs about £40 - 60 to get a visitor visa (mine is multi-entry) which initially only lasts 60 days on arrival to Taiwan but extension is easy - providing you have the right documents.
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Re: Confusion about Mandarin study and visas

Postby beardybeardy » 03 May 2012, 22:59

Hi,
Thanks very much for the info. Especially the fact that I can't extend the visa free entry. I think I have now found a school with flexible start dates and course lengths which is approved by the government. I will try the enrollment and visa process and update my progress in case it's of any interest to anyone in the future!
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Re: Confusion about Mandarin study and visas

Postby BernardT » 15 Jun 2012, 06:57

beardybeardy wrote:Hi,
Thanks very much for the info. Especially the fact that I can't extend the visa free entry. I think I have now found a school with flexible start dates and course lengths which is approved by the government. I will try the enrollment and visa process and update my progress in case it's of any interest to anyone in the future!


Can you let me know which school you're planning to attend as my friend from the US wants to come here in November to study Chinese.

Thanks.
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Re: Confusion about Mandarin study and visas

Postby beardybeardy » 15 Jun 2012, 17:51

BernardT wrote:
beardybeardy wrote:Hi,
Thanks very much for the info. Especially the fact that I can't extend the visa free entry. I think I have now found a school with flexible start dates and course lengths which is approved by the government. I will try the enrollment and visa process and update my progress in case it's of any interest to anyone in the future!


Can you let me know which school you're planning to attend as my friend from the US wants to come here in November to study Chinese.

Thanks.


Hi, yep It's the Mandarin Learning Centre at the Chinese Culture University, they're on the list of government approved colleges.
http://mlc.sce.pccu.edu.tw/default.asp?lang=en
They have monthly course start dates and seem pretty flexible on course lengths too.
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