I recently visited HK and returned through Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong) and applied for a landing visa. Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong) is different from Taipei, in that you must visit the foreign affairs office in Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong) to be issued with a 30 day landing visa. This is quite inconvenient, especially if you are intending to travel away from Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong), as in my case.
When you receive your passport back with the 30 day visa, you also receive a slip of paper, stating that your stay in Taiwan commences from the day after your arrival (possibly as a small allowance made in lieu of the inconvenience). This can only mean that, if you have a 30 day visa, then you have thirty days from the day after you arrive. This must be one day different from your stay commencing on the day of your arrival, which would mean that you have thirty days commencing from the day of your arrival (as in Taipei rules). Perhaps Kaoshuing (Gaoxiong) actually mean that the day after your arrival will be called day 1.
-If that is what they mean, then your stay commences from the day of your arrival, not the day after.
There is an additional confusing issue, which can be best appreciated when you actually see a landing visa from Kaoshuing (Gaoxiong). Suffice to say that it further gives you a false sense of security, when calculating the day one needs to leave.
Using this information to calculate my eligible stay, I exited the country (from Taipei), and I was given a fine and had my passport stamped, that I cannot return without a visa.
To make matters even more confusing, the visa issued in Koashuing, is stamped issued on the day you apply,
Believe me, if I had the slightest idea that my actions could be seen as overstaying, I would have left earlier.
I was going to Okinawa on a Saturday, intending to return within a few hours. I had no Japanese money. There are no banks that will exchange Taiwanese money in Okinawa.
If it was not for some people who helped me, until Monday, I would have had to beg on the streets.
I had to apply for a visa on Monday, which they only gave me back on Tuesday (of course keeping my passport).
On Monday night I didn't know whether to apply for help from the police for either food or shelter. I am a reasonably resilient human, but for some this could have been quite emotionally devastating.
Then the Okinawa-Taiwan office gave me only a two week student visa, because I had overstayed, despite my detailed explanation.
When I returned to Taipei, I politely asked the foreign affairs office to reconsider the situation, but they would not even acknowledge that my story was even possibly credible. They just tried (abruptly) to teach me how to count to thirty , -something I accomplished before I went to University.
Because I complied with Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong) rules, but not Taipei's I will now travel to HK and apply for a student visa. This has cost me ten's of thousands of NT, and its not my fault.
I would be very interested to see if this incident may be suitable for an administrative review. I have since become aware of another person who fell into the same trap.
In any case, beware, the consequences of an overstay are considerable.
Okinawa told me, if you overstay three times, you will not be allowed back in the country.
Is this place still under martial law?
Does this policy fit with the open, fair and democratic ideals that Taiwan has fought so hard for?
Name will be supplied to specific enquirers.