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Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

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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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby tracker466 » 13 Sep 2011, 23:38

Abacus wrote:First - Do you have a multiple entry visa or single entry visa? If it's multiple entry then you can reuse the visa but you'll still have to exit the country.

Second - Hong Kong, Macau, Bangkok, Philippines, Okinawa, Seoul, etc... It really doesn't matter where you go unless you need to use the Taiwan embassy (TECO or whatever it's called). If you need to use the embassy (for a visa) then DO NOT GO to Manila. Otherwise the cheapest flights are on Cebu Pacific to Manila but it's a red eye both ways.

Third - Several regular posters here have arrived on visa free entry and were able to process all of the paperwork in country. I can't think of a reason why you shouldn't enter using visa free if your original visa is expired. In your case there is no reason to buy another visa since almost everyone has had to pay for a resident visa anyway. Just enter visa free.

Fourth - If your health check is ready on Tuesday it might be possible to skip the visa run. Your school will really have to be on the ball and get the work permit fast. Once you have the work permit you can apply for the resident visa. And once you have applied for the resident visa you no longer need to do a visa run.


Hi Abacus, thank you for the help and information so far.

I am not sure if my visa is a single or multiple entry visa, though I would assume that it is just a single entry visa. I am not 100% positive on this though.

The health check was not available today, though it might be available tomorrow. Tomorrow the school asked me to bring the required documents so that they can make copies and apply for the work permit – I guess we will see if they can manage to get it in time so that I can apply for the resident visa. It will be close, I know.

I guess my only other question is do you know how easy it is to extend the 60 day visitor visa? My one colleague was at the immigration office this morning, and they had told him that it is possible to extend the visitor visa – twice, for 60 extra days each time. He did not seem sure of the details, however, and I am not sure if this is a feasible/realistic option or not.

Thanks again for your help.
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby Abacus » 13 Sep 2011, 23:42

Look at your visa in your passport. Under 'entries' it will say single or multiple. It's probably multiple if you got it overseas.

I don't think extensions are possible unless you are studying at a university or possibly visiting a family member. But the only way to find out is going to the immigration building and asking.
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby bumclouds » 14 Sep 2011, 00:06

tracker466 wrote:I guess my only other question is do you know how easy it is to extend the 60 day visitor visa? My one colleague was at the immigration office this morning, and they had told him that it is possible to extend the visitor visa – twice, for 60 extra days each time. He did not seem sure of the details, however, and I am not sure if this is a feasible/realistic option or not.


I have extended by visitor visa before. You can only extend up to a maximum of 180 days. But if you're getting a work permit you don't need to worry about that, because you can have a Resident Visa.
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby tracker466 » 14 Sep 2011, 00:35

@Abacus: My visa is a single entry.

bumclouds wrote:I have extended by visitor visa before. You can only extend up to a maximum of 180 days. But if you're getting a work permit you don't need to worry about that, because you can have a Resident Visa.


What did you do to extend your visitor visa?
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby bumclouds » 14 Sep 2011, 02:54

^ I went to the National Immigration Agency for Taipei City (if you're in Taipei County I think you have to go to a different one).

Unfortunately my visitor visa extention was for being a student, which would be different to your situation. I gave them my certificate of enrollment, attendance and grades.

I recommend going into the NIA in person as early as possible and having a chat to them about your situation. You can tell them that you have a work permit in the works and you're trying to avoid leaving the country to re-enter visa-exempt. They will be able to give you the best advice.
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby California » 15 Sep 2011, 19:07

I went to HK last week and I used this thread as my primary resource on how to do and find everything. Fucking worked like a charm. +100 to OP :bow:
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby Deez23 » 22 Sep 2011, 16:48

Hello,

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. There's a lot of useful information. :bravo:

I'm hoping someone could help me dig a little deeper.

I'm an American on a 5-year 90 day extendable visitor visa. I apply for my ARC tomorrow. Everything a green light there, as far as I know.

I'm married to a French woman who is here on a 90 day visa-exempt-stamp in her passport. Our plan is for her to get a spousal ARC after I get my work ARC. We're gathering the paperwork for that now. After reading of Maceck's success changing his status in-country, I went today to the Office of Foreign Affairs here in Taichung. I explained the situation, pretty much asking how does my wife apply for a visitor's visa. She was uncertain and went to speak with a (I'm assuming) superior who told her it's not possible to extend. But it seems to me, if this white-collar rule applies to teacher's and their families as per a link in this thread, and I've gotten a proper job, then my wife 'should' be able to change her status.

Is this a possible bureaucratic mis-communication? To be fair, there were lots of different answers about the changed law granting EU citizens 90 days visa-exempt upon arrival as we researched our trip so it's not out of the question. Do you think I'd get a different answer if we went to Taipei to give it a go? Does anyone know where I could go to get a final answer or have I already received it?

Also, if she does a visa run, she'll apply for a visitor's visa, if for some chance my ARC paperwork or marriage paperwork isn't ready by her last legal day in-country, Oct. 20th. The marriage certificate has to be authorized by a Taipei thingy-ma-bob outside of Taiwan so that could be a potential headache. So maybe she'll go for a visitor's visa either bringing the proper un-authorized paperwork, essentially saying that we're in process for this right now. Or, perhaps, just applying for a visitor's visa saying she's interested in visiting some friends, studying Chinese, but not in a University, and enjoying the delights of Taiwanese culture. Such a story got me my visa! So if she goes for a visitor's visa...why not go to Manila? Does that make HK the cheapest alternative?

Thanks a lot.

May the Force be with you, always!

Deez
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby nicktaiwan » 22 Sep 2011, 22:40

Hi everyone,

First, like Deez23, I want to thank all the useful information I've read in that thread, that's great.

I am more or less in the same situation as Deez23 and I am sorry if I troll on the thread here.

Alright, get ready, grab some beer, popcorns, because my situation is really screwed up ....

I have been in Taiwan for 7 years now, I'm divorced and lost my ARC 6 months ago. I have a kid here with both citizenship, her mom's and mine ( this is just a detail, but worth mentioning as after you divorce you're not considered anything else than tourist for the taiwanese law even with a kid in the country ...).
So I am basically in Taiwan on the Visa free stay (I am a EU citizen, so I get a 90 day Landing Visa each time I do a visa run).

I recently got married to a Taiwanese girl and pretty sure of myself I called the MOFA asking them on how to do to get the ARC. I knew I have to go to HK, apply for a "Family/dependent" Visa to go back to Taiwan to get the ARC ( you can't change from no VISA to ARC on the base of a marriage). But what they forgot to mention, is that the marriage also has to be registered in my home country in order to get this Family Visa, and it's where things are screwed. It takes approximately one year back home to register my marriage (yes, ONE fxxxxg year because it's been done abroad ... ).
So a friend of mine, which is a lawyer in Taiwan, told me to go to HK, get a Visitor Visa which has to be extendable, then go back to Taiwan and apply for the ARC.

That's currently what I am looking at. But I've been warned that if it's not extendable, I won't be able to change this visa to an ARC, and nobody (at the TW government nor the TW office in HK) has been able to tell me on which criteria they base their decisions for putting the remark "non-extendable". So if I end up with a 60~90 day stay NON-extendable visa valid for 5 years, I am basically screwed during these 5 years for the ARC ...

So now that I've exposed my situation, I guess my questions are:
- Is anybody in the same situation, which I doubt ?
- Has anyone been rejected on trying to get a visitor visa already ?
- Is there some sort of interview during the visa process at HK where they try to see why you want to go to Taiwan ? (If I say, oh yeah well I am married there so I want an ARC, they're kindly going to tell me to apply for this Family visa for which I'd have to wait one year to have the marriage registered back home)
- Has anyone had the NON extendable remark on the visa ? If so, did they figure out why they had this remark ? ( reason for entering the country, punched an official ... )
- Is there some sort of Immigration Lawyers in Taiwan I could go ask all these questions and could advise me ? I am getting totally different answers from the government every time I call them, hence me not knowing about registering my marriage back in my home country before applying for the ARC.

So I guess I am kind of lost/frustrated here and any help would be really appreciated.

Thanks a lot if you've read this email until the end :)

Cheers,

Nick
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby Deez23 » 22 Sep 2011, 22:57

Hey Nick,

If the visa doesn't say NOT-EXTENDABLE, does that mean it IS extendable? Mine says nothing, just 5 years, 90 days, multiple entry.

Where did you get married? My understanding (they spoke to us a bit today about this whole marriage thing) is that they want to make sure it's official so if, by chance, you were married in Taiwan, then they'd already have the necessary info? I don't know just trying to help.

Good luck!

Deez23
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Re: Doing a Visa Run to Hong Kong... Things You Need to Know

Postby Abacus » 22 Sep 2011, 23:14

You don't go to Manila because they won't give you a visitor visa unless you are going to Taiwan for work or school and have all of the proper documentation for it. Pretty much no visas for tourism unless you have someone in the gov't pulling strings for you. I guess it's because there is a problem with Filipinos staying in Taiwan illegally on visitor visas so they don't allow any visitor visas for tourism reasons. I was extremely angry when I was there.

I'm pretty sure you can't extend a visa free entry so if your paperwork isn't ready then she'll have to do a visa run. But there really isn't a reason to apply for a 60 day visitor visa if she has 90 days visa free. the other reason that you shouldn't apply for a visitor visa is that you'll have to spend extra days in HK (expensive) or pay a speed up fee. The only thing to verify at immigration is that she'll be able to apply for the resident visa/ARC from within Taiwan when she returns. but this sounds like it's been done several times for forumosans.
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