When the Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa was implemented in 2015 it was welcomed as a important step towards enabling international entrepreneurs to come to Taiwan.
Under this program, qualified companies can get Visas for up to 3 people. Initially they can get one (1) year of Taiwan residence. The resident permit can then be extended another 2 years for entrepreneurs who can provide evidence they are really running a bona fide business.
However, many entrepreneurs reported that it was hard to get straight answers for how to apply. Now when it is time for people to extend their entrepreneur visas some of them report to us that once again it seems to be a lot of confusion regarding of how to qualify for renewal.
We are lucky to have a guest blogger who has successfully gone through the whole process.
“I am Julien, a French entrepreneur who has lived in Taiwan for 7 years and the co-founder of Pineapple Web digital agency.
When my business partner and I took the decision to open a digital agency two years ago, our first concern was the legislation on company creation for foreigners in Taiwan. We figured out that opening the company is fairly easy. Obtaining an ARC and a work permit through the company you started is much more complicated as it requires investment and turnover from the 1st year of activity.
Considering our limited investment capacity and the fact that the first years of activity wouldn’t bring enough turnover to keep the ARC, we quickly realized that our only option was to apply for an entrepreneur visa.
This type of visa was created by the government in 2015 and is intended to attract foreign entrepreneurs to Taiwan. To apply for the visa, you have to comply with at least one of the nine conditions listed by the government here.
Once you find the condition that works in your case, you can go to the MOEA (Ministry of economic affairs) to start the application process. It mainly consists in filling several forms, gathering documents and paying the 3000 NTD the MOEA asks for. You’ll then need to give them your passport and wait for 3-4 weeks to get the result of your application.
If you are granted an entrepreneur visa, you’ll get your passport back together with a visa that you will need to bring to the immigration office to get your personal ARC card.
Then you will be done with the application process and you will have 1 year to open your company and find clients before you have to renew your visa.
Renewing your entrepreneur visa is tougher challenge. To do so, you need to comply with one of the 4 following conditions:
|1.||The revenue of the applicant’s enterprise (group) for the most recent year, or the average annual revenue for the most recent three years, is at least NT$3 million per year.|
|2.||The operating costs of the applicant’s enterprise(group) for the most recent year, or the average annual operating costs for the most recent three years, is at least NT$1 million per year.|
|3.||The applicant’s enterprise (group) employs at least three ROC nationals full-time.|
|4.||The applicant’s enterprise (group) can demonstrate some other category of operational performance that leads the competent authority to assess that the enterprise is making a positive contribution to Taiwan’s economic development.|
In reality, you will only have about 9 months to find enough business to comply with one of the conditions: indeed, opening a company takes about two months with the help of a CPA and you must start the renewal process at least 40 days before the expiry date.
Complying with one of the conditions within 9 months and with a business that you just started is a challenge and that’s one of the reasons why many entrepreneurs fail to renew their visas.
When we went to the immigration office to renew our visas the agent confessed that, to her knowledge, only 1 or 2 foreigners had previously succeeded in renewing theirs. We since obtained a 2 years extension to our original visa.
To close this article, I’d like to give some bits of advice to entrepreneurs who would be interested in applying for an entrepreneur visa:
- Start reaching out to potential customers before you officially open the company.
- Open your company immediately after obtaining your visa.
- Hire a CPA to handle the business registration process and the monthly book keeping.
- Prepare a folder with your invoices, your quotations, and your expenses when you submit your visa renewal application.”
BIG THANKS to Julien and Pineapple Web for sharing! If anyone else have experience with the entrepreneur visa we would love to hear from you.