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  • Writer's pictureSean Wilson

All Hands On Deck: Visas in the Time of the Coronavirus

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

Update 3/21: The Taiwanese authorities are being very generous in granting a 30 day extension to visitors. Use the extra time to secure a job or a more stable visa situation.

More info on the announcement:

An automatic 30-day extension for foreigners entering Taiwan on or before March 21 with visa waiver, visitor visa, or landing visa (no application is required). The total period of stay cannot exceed 180 days. These conditions are subject to change and may be adjusted as circumstances require. For further information, please visit

If you are already overstaying your required departure date, unfortunately this doesn’t apply to you, but check out the latest updates regarding the Expanded Overstayers Voluntary Departure Program.

It’s All Hands on deck time.

Got a month left on your tourist or other visa and weighing your options? With foreign visitor travel into Taiwan suspended as of March 18, making a visa run is currently impossible. Only foreigners with ARCs can enter the country now. The good news is that healthcare here is probably better than what you’d receive in your home country. So if you want to ride out the coronavirus in Taiwan, here are some tips on what you can do in the current situation.

Who do I contact?

There are various departments you may need to deal with when getting a visa or ARC. If you live in Taipei, here are Taipei office locations for these departments. Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) National Immigration Agency (NIA) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)

If you want to talk to someone directly over the phone, you can call NIA’s foreigner immigration hotline, called the Life Advisory Service Hotline: 0800-024-111.

BOCA maintains a visa inquiry hotline with two numbers: 02-23432885 and 02-23432895.

If you’re getting on the phone, expect a long wait.

3/20 Update: See the overstay section below for more info on today’s leniency policy announcement by BOCA.

I have a tourist visa. Can I get an extension to stay longer?

According to BOCA:Visitor Visa holders who are permitted to stay in Taiwan for sixty or ninety days and whose visas bear no such remark as “no extension will be granted” may apply at local service centers of the National Immigration Agency for a maximum of 120 or 90 days of extensions.

For most people this will be better than leaving the country, so check with your local NIA office.

I’ve already extended my visa as many times as I can. Can I get special exemption due to the coronavirus?

According to English translations of March 18’s Public Statement regarding the coronavirus, “foreigners who are already in TW and wish to stay longer, have to provide details of serious medical issues with a relevant letter from a hospital to the authorities”, in order to extend their stay. So this is not looking good for those who want to stay longer.

I didn’t get a visa before I came to Taiwan. Can I stay longer?

03/19 Update: According to people on Facebook<