May's Guide to Living in Taiwan


Whether we came to Taiwan to study, work, pursue other opportunities or just falla-foot the babes, we are now in a foreign land, oceans away from family and friends - away from the comforts of home and all that it entails. We are probably the first of our family members to have decided Taiwan was a great bet on our future and we took that leap of faith. Some of us did thorough research about Taiwan’s culture, food, way of life, language and what to expect, while some of us just knew we wanted to get here, quick, fast and hurry! There are those of us who have stayed in Taiwan beyond the studying time frame and some who plan to return home as soon as they graduate.

No matter what path we set for ourselves, one thing is certain, the majority of us need some guidance to have a smoother sail in our host country.


The good Samaritans that came before us, i.e. the first Belizeans to set foot on Formosa, were gracious enough to share some truly precious tips on how to get around and how to get by.

I will try my best to provide you with a medium to resort to for knowledge. I have also enlisted the help of willing contributors who have first-hand experience and can provide advice.


Keep in mind this is an informative blog and that is why I will try to be as straightforward and to the point as possible. I’ll probably sprinkle some “Mays” here and there, not too much but just enough.

To keep abreast of the most recent addition to this article, all you have to do is SUBSCRIBE to Soul Expressionz ;)


What to bring from Belize

This article assumes you already know you will come to Taiwan or already in Taiwan.

The MUST List:

  • Marie Sharps - You can also buy on Shopee, but, why buy when you can bring?

  • Red and Black recado - last time I went, I became a recado smuggler. At least it felt that way.

  • Baking powder (Although I heard that Filipino stores have the good kind)

  • Deodorant - I NEEDED my Secret gel deodorant! You can try the ones sold here such as Arm & Hammer, Nivea, etc. I've tried them and they did not work for me at first. After some years, I can say, my body adjusted or the diet also has an effect, I don't know what it was but now they work.

  • Body Spray - I have found Bath and Body Works at ATT for Fun but that is in Taipei City.

  • Men's perfume - You can order your favorite online.

  • Legal documents - bring them all but also leave photocopies with your family in case of emergency.

  • Meds - If you require special medication, it would be a great idea to bring from home. I always ask for Pepto Bismol, Sal Andrews or Alka-Seltzer and Vicks Vaporub.


Student Life

How do I apply for a student ARC?

a. If I am an ICDF student


Those of us who came on an ICDF scholarship are the luckiest of the lot. The entire ARC application used to be done by our project managers in our respective universities. Is it still this way?

b. If I am a MOFA student


1. you go to https://coa.immigration.gov.tw/coa-frontend/student/entry?lang=en

2. Click where on "Foreign students and Overseas Chinese Student"

3. If you are unsure as to how to apply go ahead and watch the youtube videos

4. IF not then continue my instructions as follows:

  • Click I want to apply

  • Create an account, then happy filling in all your personal information.

  • You will have to request a form of enrolment from your school. The school itself might do this process for you, through their OIA office. If not the yeah online works.

  • Make sure that you have all documents in PDF forms as well as a 2'' clear picture. Upload and await for messages from the system to tell you if your form has been approved. Make any necessary changes if it is not approved.

  • If it is approved, they will notify you on the date it will be ready. Oh, on the address to pick up when filling in the info, make sure that is in the nearest area that you live.

  • Pay when they give you the link and once they receive payment then they will notify you of the time to pick-up, which is normally three days after the email is sent.

https://coa.immigration.gov.tw/coa-frontend/student/entry?lang=en

Contributor: Clydie Aldana


What do I need to prepare if I am an independent student?


”First, any department you want to apply to, the university will ask you to show proof of any bank statement not older than 3 months from the time of the submission. You need to have 200,000 NTDs. Since we are independent students, they need to see that we can pay for the whole program.” Contributor: Anonymous


Banking

Opening a Bank Account

When you come to Taiwan on a scholarship, the university or your program manager will either apply for you or guide you on how to open a bank account with their bank of choice.

If you have to open a bank account on your own, you have to provide valid reasons such as (but not limited to):

  • You are an enrolled student at a university

  • You are employed and your employer needs to deposit directly to your bank account.

The minimum requirements are:

  1. Valid ARC

  2. Valid Passport

  3. Opening account with at least NTD1,000

  4. A mailing address, phone number and email address.


Working in Taiwan


How do I apply for a work ARC?

What you need:

1. Work contract

1.1 Employment certificate if it’s an extension

2. 1 Photo - size 2"

3. Housing contract

4. Work permit

5. NTD 1,000

6. Application form

7. Copy of and original:

7.1. Passport, Old ARC, work permit, employment certificate

Processing Time: 10 days


Contributor: Alex Orellana


How do I apply for APRC?


Last week was my 3rd interview for an APRC application. As far as I have read, there is only one person per city assigned to be an APRC Officer. Before you go to your nearest Immigration Agency, please give them a call, have your call transferred to this officer and schedule your appointment for an interview.

Prepare the following documents:

  1. APRC Application Form - same form as ARC application form.

  2. 1 copy of 2 inch photo

  3. Employment Form - Contact HR in your Company and ask them to provide this form. Note: the form has only one month validity. If you encounter setbacks, you will have to request this form again.

  4. Chinese Work Permit - I took my English Work Permit. I was told I need to also bring the original Chinese version (because we live in Taiwan and the language in Mandarin, go figure.)

  5. Chinese Master Degree - If you have been under a work visa for 4 years and have a Master's degree, you are eligible to apply. Even if you bring along the English version of your degree, do yourself a favor, save your self another trip and an extra interview, just bring the Chinese version the first time.

  6. Police Criminal Record - if you have been in Taiwan for 183 days in any consecutive year, you only need to provide the Taiwanese Police Criminal Record. The application can be done online or you can fill a form at the assigned place in your respective city. It takes two working days to obtain the form and only costs NTD100.

  7. Tax Form - I asked my employer to provide the latest tax filing form for the 2021 year. They had stamp it with the company stamp. You do not need to provide the previous year's Tax filings. Ensure that your annual salary is above the current year's limit.

  8. Original Passport - ensure your passport is valid at least one year. You will also need a copy.

  9. Original ARC - ensure that it is valid for more than one month. This is due to the fact that normally an APRC is processed in 14 working days, but depending on the city you live in, add 2 more weeks to the processing time. Some have obtained it in 4 weeks, others in 2 weeks. Mine is scheduled for one whole month.

  10. NTD10,000 - if your interview is finally successful, the officer will fill out other information on your Application form and ask you to pay the fee. Then they will hand you a receipt similar to a regular ARC receipt.

Keep in mind that you may or may not be called for an interview or for more information within the processing time. Be on the alert and hope for the best.


Traveling in Taiwan

What kind of transportation can I take?


Those who live in Taipei City or Kaohsiung City have one more choice than the rest of us - MRTs.

We are all able to take public transportation to a location nearest our destination, whether it be by bus, taxi, Uber, or if there are short distances, by Ubikes.

Bus lines that come to mind are U-bus, Ho Sing, Guo Kuang.

If you need to make it to your destination or proceed with connections that are time-sensitive, you can take TRA - local trains are usually slower because they stop at every station, Puyuma Trains go at faster speeds and you may also try the High Speed Rail for less time, more money.

Those who have a valid driver’s license can apply for iRents. As per my experience, the cars are reliable and the money spent is less than what you would pay for a Taxi or Uber. Payments are automatically deducted from your registered Bank account.

Note: Traffic accidents are the main reason foreigners are injured. Drive with caution and never drink and drive. If you choose to drink, assign a designated driver among your travel companions - sorry guy/gal.

Tip: Download this Bus Taiwan APP.


How do I apply for a scooter driving license?

Depending on your tastes and driving comfort, you can get an electric bike, a scooter or a motorcycle to get you from point A to B to Z and avoid public transportation altogether.

I’m avoiding the conversation regarding “It’s a scooter, not a motorcycle” (we don’t want to go down that rabbit hole!) Let’s focus on the cc part:

  • less than 49 cc - light

  • 50 cc to 249 cc - normal

  • 250 cc and over - heavy

Regarding license for the above, this is what you need to prepare:

  • Must be over 18 years old (except for large and heavy - must be older than 20 y/o)

  • pass the physical and eye test at the designated health center/hospital

  • Pass the theoretical test with 85 points

  • Valid ARC - at least 6 months

  • Registration Fee: NT$250 (written and road test)

  • Driver’s License Fee: NT$200

  • Fuel Fee: extra fee unless you bring your own scooter/motorcycle

  • 1 inch passport style photos

Practice for theory test here!

For details, visit official page here.

Via the East Coasts of Taiwan - Courtesy: Heitor Langa

How do I apply for a motor vehicle driving license?

There are two ways:

  1. Drivers Ed - If you happen to have an expired Belizean Driver's License and see yourself not being able to travel to Belize in the near future, you can enlist in a Driving School nearest to you. You will attend lessons for one month with your assigned teacher. The fee is NTD15,000 and it includes the practical in-school test, the on-the-road test and the theoretical test. Once you pass all of the above, the school will apply for your license and you will receive it within a week.

  2. If you have a valid Belize Driver's License - send an email to the embassy with photos of the license - front and back - along with your mailing address. They will prepare the Authentication Letter which you will take to the DMV in your city. You won't have to take the practical test but you will need to take the theoretical test.

What you need:

  1. A valid ARC (over 6 months validity)

  2. A health report from an approved hospital/health center

  3. A completed Application form

  4. Authentication Letter from the Embassy of Belize in Taiwan.

  5. 1 inch passport style photos

  6. Original and photocopy of passport

  7. Application fee:NT$150


Food

Where do I go to buy ingredients for my Belizean dinner?


Check out this blog post for details.


Where can I order Belizean food?

In Taipei and surrounding cities, you can order from Belizean_flavaztw They also deliver via 7-11.

In Tainan and surrounding cities, order from Doll Bustillos.

For Tacos, contact Ginelky Gongora on her business's Instagram: Tacobox. If you want to learn more about her business, click here.


Authentication of documents

Where do I notarize and authenticate my Degree?

Please note that you will have to carry out these processes in person.

Step 1:

Find the nearest District Court or notary public office in your city.

What you need:

  1. Original and photocopy of ARC

  2. Valid passport or other form of photo identification.

  3. Original and photocopy of Diploma/Transcript

  4. Fee: 400 NTD for original and 200 NTD for extra notarized copy.

Step 2:

Take the notarized diploma to Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) or MOFA for seal to be affixed.

Address:3-5F, 2-2, Sec.1, Jinan Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100219, Taiwan R.O.C.)

TEL:(+886) 2-2343-2888


For more information, check these official FAQs


Consular Tips

Who do I contact at the Embassy of Belize in Taiwan?


Ivy is the Embassy's Secretary and def... def... definitely my go-to person. She has been with our "Team" for longer than I have been in Taiwan! If this blog does not suffice, try emailing her or calling. I would say, call between 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and never at lunch - may the odds be ever in your favor. ;)


Embassy of Belize in Chinese: 貝里斯大使館

Embassy Address : -

Chinese: 111台北市士林區天母西路62巷9號11樓

English: 11F, No.9, Lane 62, Tien Mou West Road, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China (Taiwan)

Phone Number: +886-2-2876-0894

E-mail: embassybzroc@gmail.com

Attention: Ivy

Official FB page: Click here.


How do I apply for a passport renewal from Taiwan?


What you need:

a) Completed passport application form;

b) Form 4 (recommender form)- to be signed by a born Belizean or Belizean by descent, please also attach a copy of recommender's passport;

c) One passport size recent photo- to be certified at the back by the same recommender who signed the Form 3 with the following quote" I certify that this is a true likeness of " (name of applicant)", also signed by the recommender;

d) Original Birth Certificate;

e) Copy of parent(s)' Belize Passport(s) - (for minors) f) Copy of Taiwan ARC Card; g) A fee of NT$6,000 for applicants above 16 years old; NT$5,400 for applicants below 16 years old

Next Step:

Schedule an appointment with the Embassy by email or phone for photograph and fingerprint taking.


You will be able to get same as early as 5 weeks and as late as 4 months.

TIP: You can only renew it when it's close to its 6-month validity.

Visit the Embassy of Belize webpage for forms and information verification.


How do I apply for Citizenship for my Taiwan-born child?


My second child was born in Taiwan. Because Taiwan still does not provide citizenship for Taiwan-born children of both parents being foreigners, you have to apply for your child's Citizenship by Descent through the Embassy.


What you need:

a) Application Form must be properly completed and certified by a notary public; b) English Birth certificate for applicant (child); c) Original Birth Certificate of Belizean parent(s); d) Copy of Parents' current Passport; e) 3 Photographs (must be 2 x 2, white background, no sleeveless, taken within the last six months, full face view directly facing the camera ); f) A fee of US$40 equivalent to NTD1,200


Next Step:

Schedule an appointment with the Embassy by email or phone to find a convenient time to drop off the documents. Alternatively, check with them if you can mail the documents and the Embassy will provide a bank account for deposit of payment..

Processing time: As per personal experience, 5 months.


How do I extend my new-born's ARC if I have not received the Nationality Certificate?


Simply email Ivy and ask them to issue a letter addressed to your city's Immigration Agency to explain the situation regarding the delay. The content will look something like this:


How do I apply for a Belize Temporary Passport?


a) Completed passport application form;

b) Form 4 (recommender form)- to be signed and stamped by a born Belizean or Belizean by descent;

c) Two 5 x 5cm size recent photos- ONE OF THEM to be certified at the back by the same recommender who signed/stamped the Form 4 with the following quote" I certify that this is a true likeness of " (name of applicant)", also signed by the recommender;

d) A fee of NT$1,500

e.) Original Nationality Certificate - if applicable


TIP: You can apply for a regular passport any time.


What else can the Embassy do to help Belizeans in Taiwan?

I can only share what others close to me or I have gone through:

  • Arrange help in a medical emergency.

  • Help coordinate a medical evacuation or repatriation.

  • Contact next of kin, with your authorization, if you have an accident or are detained by police.

Scheduling a flight


What websites do you use to buy cheap tickets?

Last time I traveled I used Cheapo Air.


The best thing you can do is buy your flight ticket months ahead of travel time. This can save you thousands of NTDs. Usually, the route back home is TPE - SFO - IAH - BZE or TPE - LA - BZE. I have taken the Canada route once before. that was cheaper but pretty tiring but I was a student then and had lots of time to spare. If your flights have transfers via Hong Kong, Tokyo, be sure to walk around those fancy airports and buy a tiny souvenir to take back home. If anyone asks, you can say you already went to those countries - it's the truth. ;)


 

Have questions or doubts? post them on the comment section and we will update the blog accordingly.

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