Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

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Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby wangxilei » 09 Jun 2012, 00:57

Hello,

I am a UK student applying for a resident visa to study Mandarin in Taiwan.
I am a little concerned about the medical form required for the application -- my doctor nearly refused to pass my medical.
This is because I have had bulimia for some time and was recently offered inpatient treatment, which I refused. (Inpatient treatment for bulimia is quite a "big" thing in the UK and is only used for severe cases.)

I eventually convinced her to carry out my medical, but she says that she will be writing a covering letter to go with it with details of my mental health problem, which I will have to submit along with the medical form to apply for my visa.

I am under the impression that Taiwan is more forward-thinking than mainland China regarding mental health; does anyone have any experience of Taiwan refusing entry for bulimia? I am concerned because I am listed in medical records as "severely" bulimic. (N.B.: I'm actually not anymore but doctors refuse to believe I have gotten better without treatment.)
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby CraigTPE » 09 Jun 2012, 06:08

I didn't think you needed the medical check for the visa, only for the ARC.

Also, I thought people studying here first came on an extendable visitor visa, and after some period of successful studies (6-months, maybe?), a resident visa could be obtained. Then, you get your medical check done locally, and take it with your paperwork from the school to the NIA for an ARC. Has that changed?

Anyway, I suspect if a medical check is being required, any red flags could be used to deny residence. When you do the check locally, the only two things they really care about are TB and HIV, either of which will get you not only rejected for residence but also likely get you deported. However, they might also be concerned about any condition that could cause you to seek treatment here, since as a resident you will be covered by the national health care plan.

Good luck.
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby dan2006 » 09 Jun 2012, 08:42

I wonder how that would work if you had a condition, and still passed the medical.

Then later you sought treatment for the problem with a specialist. When it comes time to renew your ARC, or switch companies, would all the hospitals and NHI have a record to then deny a new ARC?
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby CraigTPE » 09 Jun 2012, 08:47

Don't think so, unless it's TB or HIV. I knew of a foreigner who got cancer and got treatment with NHI.
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby wangxilei » 09 Jun 2012, 18:38

Thanks for your quick responses!

CraigTPE wrote:I didn't think you needed the medical check for the visa, only for the ARC.

Also, I thought people studying here first came on an extendable visitor visa, and after some period of successful studies (6-months, maybe?), a resident visa could be obtained. Then, you get your medical check done locally, and take it with your paperwork from the school to the NIA for an ARC. Has that changed?

I am following guidelines provided by my university. We have been told to apply for a single-entry resident visa, and once we are in Taiwan we must apply for an ARC within 15 days.

It does say on the Taiwan Representative Office website that prospective students of Chinese should apply for a visitor visa first, but both the Taiwanese university and my own university have advised the students to ignore this. In fact my own university has been in contact with the TRO, who reassured the university that we will have no problem getting a resident visa instead. A health certificate is part of the requirements for this visa.

If you are interested, you can see the list here, under "Requirements":
http://www.roc-taiwan.org/uk/ct.asp?xIt ... 945&mp=132

The medical form doesn't cover mental health for some reason. The doctor is writing a covering letter because I am travelling against her advice and I suppose I could potentially sue her if anything happened, because mental health related injuries are not covered by my travel insurance.

I am wondering -- if I could get a private therapist to write a letter stating that I am fit to travel, would it perhaps negate the doctor's letter? Or would it be better to keep my head down and hope I am granted a visa?
(Sorry -- I realise that I am really grasping at straws here, but my degree is at stake!)
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby dan2006 » 09 Jun 2012, 19:56

wangxilei, are you getting a letter from your doctor from your home country?

I would just go to another doctor (a walk in clinic for example) if you don't want this letter being attached to your file.

Sorry if I misunderstood you.
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby wangxilei » 09 Jun 2012, 22:18

dan2006 wrote:wangxilei, are you getting a letter from your doctor from your home country?

I would just go to another doctor (a walk in clinic for example) if you don't want this letter being attached to your file.

Sorry if I misunderstood you.


Unfortunately, wherever I would go, the doctors would look at my medical history to check for relevant vaccinations (another requirement of the form) and would see my on-going mental health treatment.

In addition, I have already paid the fee for the medical. I would rather not fork out another £200!

But thank you for your suggestion regardless.
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby spaint » 11 Jun 2012, 17:49

Why are you getting a medical in your home country? Every other foreigner I've ever met gets the cheap and completely superficial medical in Taiwan. It's only good for filtering out people with HIV and horrendous skin disorders that might be mistaken for leprosy, so why deal with the hassle in the UK (unless you are HIV+ or have horrendous skin disorders that might be mistaken for leprosy)?
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby sandman » 11 Jun 2012, 18:01

I'm not even sure bulimia is even considered a mental health issue here. I think they just call it "dieting." But if you're applying to the Taiwanese authorities in the UK rather than here, a covering letter like that might be a bit of a hurdle. Your GP must be pretty seriously concerned about your current state to take such a step, though.
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Re: Mental health problem grounds for visa rejection?

Postby wangxilei » 12 Jun 2012, 15:16

spaint wrote:Why are you getting a medical in your home country? Every other foreigner I've ever met gets the cheap and completely superficial medical in Taiwan. It's only good for filtering out people with HIV and horrendous skin disorders that might be mistaken for leprosy, so why deal with the hassle in the UK (unless you are HIV+ or have horrendous skin disorders that might be mistaken for leprosy)?

Because my university has had ONE student in the past who got rejected for his renewal of visitor visa (one!) who had to fly to Hong Kong to renew it, and now they tell every student apply for a resident visa. Apparently it's safer. They'll have to make an exception for me!

sandman wrote:I'm not even sure bulimia is even considered a mental health issue here. I think they just call it "dieting." But if you're applying to the Taiwanese authorities in the UK rather than here, a covering letter like that might be a bit of a hurdle. Your GP must be pretty seriously concerned about your current state to take such a step, though.

Haha! Oh dear... I had a similar reaction from my Chinese friend.
Maybe, but as I said, the bulimia issue is largely resolved -- but she has no evidence of this, and so the case file is still open in my medical history, which she won't close without some sort of treatment.

***
Thank you for your responses everyone :) I am now applying for a visitor visa instead.
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